Monday, July 21, 2014

Sturgeon Falls, MI - My Fictional Town - Another Update

I added a couple more buildings to my layout.  I also bought an engine a couple of cars while I was at the train show this weekend.  I figured this would be as good of time as any to do an update.
 I really liked the way the light was hitting my railroad this morning.  I was planning on taking pictures at some point anyway, but this seemed a good time to do so.  I finally built the town's grain elevator.  Much like many Midwestern towns, it is the largest structure in the town.  I think I'm going to add a freight house for the other side of the track.  I might also add some sort of silo to this one but I'm not sure what kind I want to add just yet.
 Sturgeon Falls built its first grain elevator in 1907 to support the growing farmland in the surrounding area.  Like many of the grain elevators at the time it was constructed out of wood.  Sadly, like many of the other grain elevators at the time, there was an explosion and that structure burnt to the ground in 1933.  The current elevator was built two years after that and was constructed of metal.    The years have not been too kind to it though but at least the sign gets a fresh coat of paint every couple of years.
 The block is flipped around so that I could do a picture of it.  This section needs a little more work but it will do for now.  The northern block of the town was constructed in the early 1900's.  The tan building on the left was originally a Woolworth's Department store and fell into disuse after the collapse of that chain.  In early 2003, a group of local antique dealers decided to turn it into an antique mall of some sort.  It still has the feel of a flea market trying to work it's way into being a proper antique shop.  The middle building was constructed after the department store.  It has served many functions within the town.  Currently, it serves as Tony's Italian Restaurant.  the building on the right was the last one constructed on this block.  For the first 20 years of its existence, it served as a Pharmacy, but that was closed after an unfortunate accident by its owner.  After that, it was bought by Sal and converted to a bakery.  It has the distinction of baking the bread for Tony's Almost Famous Steak Sandwiches.  It also makes some of the best donuts in the state.  Currently, it is run by Sal's great grandson but keeps the name for continuity.
 Just a shot of the rail yard.  The presence of the grain elevator insures that the trains will be busy here for a while.
 A front shot of the newest addition to my rail fleet.  It is an engine from BNSF and is wearing the regalia of the Santa Fe Railroad which is one of the components of BNSF.  The other is the Burlington-Northern which itself was a group of railroads.
 I really like this paint scheme.
 Another addition is a boxcar from the Great Northern Railway.  It was founded 1857 as the Minnesota and Pacific Railroad.  They were going to build a line from one corner of Minnesota to the other.  They never quite made it.  In 1878, it was taken over by James Hill.  It is the only railroad to have not been built with the assistance of the US Government (either through land grants or direct subsidies).  It also had the distinction of the being the northernmost railroad of the United States.  Eventually it would stretch from Minnesota to Seattle, Washington with a spur going into Portland, Oregon.  In 1927, it would merge with the Northern Pacific and in 1970, it would merge with the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy to form the Burlington-Northern Railroad.  That in turn merged with the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad in 1996 to form BNSF.
 The Detroit and Mackinac was founded in 1894 as the Detroit, Bay City and Alpena Railroad.  It operated from Bay City to Alpena, MI.  Eventually, it expanded to cover territory from Detroit to Mackinaw City.  It was one of the first railroads to convert over to diesel engines.  It had a passenger service that lasted from the 1930's to 1955.  This was probably a precursor to other railroads eliminating passenger service.  In 1992, it was sold to the Lake State Railway.
 My Amtrak engine.
Not sure if I posted a picture of my theater in the last update or not.  But here it is.  The theater itself was converted from another building in 1924.  It still has the original organ and you can hear it being played before each movie.  Sadly, like many one screen theaters in the country, it struggles to keep up with the demands of Hollywood.  So much so, that the owners are thinking of just showing old movies and independent films, especially since they are looking at upgrading their projector to show newer movies.

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