Last week I went to check out the new store and Model Railroad display at Old Town Model Railroad Depot. I had read about it on another blog and wanted to see it for myself. There is something about miniature buildings, towns, landscapes and people, that I love. One of my favorite displays was at Knots Berry Farm, and it was all miniature stores with names that reflected the nature of the store. For example: C. H. Ildrens Store was filled with toys. It’s like my love of the Lilliputins in the book “Gullivers Travels”. Also, my Dad was a Standard Oil distributor and his bulk plant was right next to the tracks, as merchandise was unloaded right off the trains into his warehouse. I used to love to be in there when the trains were going by.
I have been to the model train displays at the Train Museum in Balboa park, and they are great with various viewing stations and steps for kids to use, but to my taste, this little store’s display is much more magical and extensive.
It is located in Old Town, San Diego, CA. on San Diego Ave., a little south of Conde Street, and Cafe Coyote, and a little north of the Old Town Cemetery. Here is a photo of their map. (They are working on their website but you can find them on FB).
I’m just using my Samsung phone camera but hopefully you can see the map ok. You can click on the photos to enlarge them and get more detail. I did that just to see all the wonderful buildings, cars, and figures in the photos below.
The entire collection belongs to Gary Hickok. It took seven men to construct everything and a electrician to set up all the wiring. Computers and high tech electronics are responsible for the magical displays such as a welder making a spark when he bends in to weld, fireworks over the ball field, an electrical storm coming from the clouds above the night display, the marques on the stores, street lights, etc. There are both steam trains and diesel engine O-scale model trains. I loved all the people seated in the passenger trains. I tried to get a picture of that but they were moving too fast for my camera 🙂
The display is an re-enactment of 1950’s America and includes 2500 sq. ft. of buildings, scenes and activities; 10,000 ft. of wire; 25,000 people; over 400 vehicles; 165 buildings; 637 ft. of track; more than 1000 trees; 2 lakes and a dam. There are notable celebrities such as Marilyn Monroe, Elvis, Superman, the Griswolds on vacation (although they came after the 50’s), and even Shotgun Tom Kelly, a noted San Diego Disc Jockey.
The store has model trains and supplies for sale, art work, T-shirts and other memorabilia.
There is a day section and a night section. Here are 4 photos of the day section.
Below are 10 photos of the night display. If you look closely you’ll see the welder’s spark, the fire department carrying out a rescue, a solemn group looking on as a casket is being put into the hearse, a drive in theater, a walk in movie theater, the donut shop with police cars in front, an oil bulk plant, and many more scenes of 1950’s city life.
Hope you’ve enjoyed this post. Come check it out. They are open 11:00 am to 6:00 pm, Wed. through Mon., closed on Tues. Their FB page is listed under Old Town Model Railroad Depot. Be sure and click on the photo to enlarge it.
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