Saturday, September 16, 2017

E. L. Moore gets the cover of Aug '63 RMC

Title tells all. That's E. L. Moore's Octagonal Water Tower that appeared in the issue along with the 3rd part of Gil Melle's Oak Hill Pithead project and Whit Tower's Single Stall Engine House, so it was a gold mine for structure builders. As well as being an E. L. Moore cover, it's also in that style of splashing the image over the entire page, something that Model Railroader was also doing during that period, but often with a little more daring in that they sometimes left off just about all text and let the image do the talking. Although, I wouldn't be surprised to find an RMC cover in that league.

Gil Mellé: Jazz Legend, Model Railroader Extraordinaire

I’m reading though a stack of early ‘60s Railroad Model Craftsmans, and I’m here to say they strike me as having just the right balance of irreverent fun, quality projects, excellent photography, news flashes, skilled drawings and interesting prototype information. But as my magazine mould induced hallucinatory reading trip through 1960, ’61, ’62, and ’63 continued, one name seemed to appear in each and every table of contents with some sort of fascinating construction project: Gil Mellé. Those years seemed to be a Gil Mellé catered smorgasbord of model structure building goodness. For the most part, he had an article in every issue, and sometimes two. His name doesn’t appear on RMC’s masthead, so I don’t think he was a staffer, but he clearly had some solid business arrangement with them. I really need to create a Gil Mellé master index.

RMC author Gil Mellé dropped into these hallowed walls recently with his latest creation. Gil is a one time model railroad manufacturer, artist, jazz musician, composer and has even written singing commercials. His latest creation will be shown in the March issue: an old brick foundry complete with sound. Gil describes the construction of both the foundry and the sound unit, which can be installed into any industrial structure.
From Hal Carsten's Notes on an Old Timetable in the February '62 issue of RMC

The Feb '62 and Jan '64 issues spilled the beans on Mr. Mellé. It turns out he’s Gil Mellé the famous jazz saxophonist, painter, sculptor and composer. Marc Myers has two excellent posts on him at JazzWax: Gil Mellé: Blue Note and Prestige  and Denny Mellé on Husband Gil. There's also a biography at the Blue Note records site. Gil Mellé was no slouch of a model builder either, although you’d never know that from his skimpy entry on wikipedia’s celebrity model railroaders page.

MEET GIL MELLE' - Jazz musician, band leader, composer, Gil has had original works played at the United Nations and has had his group featured on lp recordings. Some years ago Gil also had a fling at kit manufacturing under the name "Industrial Model Works" but gave it up to return to music and oil painting, at which he has also received a number of awards and one man shows in New York and other cities. Gil enjoys turning out super construction features for RMC and thinks model railroading is more fun than ever for the creative model railroader. Gil is married to another musician, known under her stage name of Jackie Parker. The couple have a little girl, Lisa.
Biographical note accompanying Gil Mellé's Mountain Flotation Plant that appeared in the January '64 issue of RMC. The lead photo to this post - a slightly larger version actually - accompanied the bio.

Now, you may be asking yourself: JD, I hate to ask a heretical question such as this, but do you think Gil Mellé was better than E. L. Moore? Well, thanks for asking – and it’s not the least bit heretical  :-) - but I don’t think such a ranking is applicable. They both offered their own unique perspectives and a broad range of building projects for beginners and advanced modellers alike. GM had great drawings beyond plan views; ELM had great stories; GM was doing excellent kitbashes as well as scratch builds; ELM was showing how to do the most with the least; no doubt there’s more once I dive deeper into the Gil Mellé legacy. They were both equally part of the fun early ‘60s vibe that comes across in those musty RMCs.

Friday, September 15, 2017

E. L. Moore's Autobiography

It’s one thing to get familiar with E. L. Moore’s work through scans of his articles, and it’s completely another to see them in the wild, in their natural environment, nestled within the pages of the magazines and jostling with all the other cool stuff. So, I’m casually strolling through the June 1962 issue of Railroad Model Craftsman, the one with E. L. Moore’s Vermont Covered Bridge article, and what do I see on page 9: that up there! Yeah, his ‘autobiography’ and selfie that I wrote about back in January 2016. I’m glad to see it got published.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

The Coincidence houses

[The Moore house, drawn by Julian Cavalier, Railroad Model Craftsman, July 1996; The Lowe house, drawn by Julian Cavalier, Railroad Model Craftsman, December 1994]

As I read through Railroad Model Craftsman, one month after another, one year after another, I sometimes see unusual coincidences. I don't think there is any connection to the Moore and Lowe that show up here, but who knows what other coincidences are ahead :-)

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Box of Telegrams

I asked Vince if he knew of a 3D printing company that made HO scale newspaper boxes like the ones that were common on the streets of Toronto in the '60s and '70s. He didn't know of any, but it got us talking about how to make some. It seemed that folding one up from card or thin brass might be the way to go. I tried making one from 3x5 card. Mine's a simplification: it doesn't have the characteristic splayed base or feet of the real ones, and it's a bit on the blocky side. Also, I think it needs to be a little smaller and its proportions tweaked a bit, but overall it's heading in the right direction. 
[The original Telegram building that was once located, I believe, at Bay & Melinda (image sourced from the City of Toronto Archive). Given my chronic E. L. Moore fixation, it instantly reminded me of his RMC Paper Co., and like the Paper Co, it would need considerable selective compression to produce a useable model. And yes, there appears to streetcar tracks running by :-)]

My newspaper box is based on one of the many styles used by the old Toronto Telegram. For a convincing street scene I'll also need boxes from the other papers. This is all part of trying to figure out what the elements are that encapsulate a Toronto feeling that the new streetcar layout needs to incorporate.

Saturday, September 2, 2017

End of Summer Edition

Astronomically speaking, the fall doesn't begin until 22 September, but for me it has always ended on the Labour Day weekend. This summer's been much colder and wetter than usual - today, it was +6C when I woke up! But, given what's going on in my old stomping grounds down in Houston, I've got nothing to complain about. If you can spare some cash for the Red Cross' Harvey relief, I'm sure it would be most appreciated. 
Earlier in the month I cut up the old layout - the Lost Ocean Line that I started work on in 2011 - that's been stashed out behind the garden shed since February and put it out for garbage pickup. It's surprising how little material actually makes up the layout once all the buildings and scenery and such are removed. Hopefully there'll be much new and exciting layout building taking place throughout the fall. I want to have something running by Christmas, so at my usual glacial pace, I need to get going :-)

Thursday, August 31, 2017

An inadvertent homage to E. L. Moore?


Well, maybe.

Ok, no.

The photographer, with his camera and tripod (wire, balsa and a jewel for lens) has a bit of Kleenex for a focusing cloth, and his head is stuck to the back of the camera with liquid solder.
E. L. Moore explaining how he built his photographer - his alter ego - from a Weston Flexible Freddie in Put Your Figures to Work that appeared in the July 1957 issue of Model Railroader.

I saw that scene in the photo, with the Moorian photographer in the lower right corner, in the lead photo to The Saga of the Elk River Line that appeared in the May 1970 issue of Railroad Model Craftsman. If you recall the post The Adventures of E. L. Moore, Train Photographer, you'll notice the similarities of the photographer to E. L. Moore's are, as Yogi Berra might say, very similar. My guess is it's all a coincidence, but illustrates that a man with an E. L. Moore fixation thinks everything relates in some way to E. L. Moore :-)

P.S., Dave Frary and Bob Hayden's Elk River Line series that appeared in RMC during 1970 is another classic series and is well worth looking up.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Emma's = 2 x Ma's

[Centre pages from The Holiday Inn It's Not by Jeff Scott from the October 1972 issue of Railroad Modeler]

In early November '72 E. L. Moore received this letter from Al McDuffie of Associated Hobby Manufacturers in Philadelphia.  AHM was the company that produced plastic kit versions of a number of E. L. Moore's RMC projects. Ma's Place was one.

November 6, 1972

Mr. E. L. Moore
525 Oakland Avenue
Charlotte, N. C., 28204

Dear Mr. Moore:

1. Under separate cover (don't think they'd fit in this envelope actually) I have sent off to you our two latest plastic structural kits - a wooden styled Coaling Station and our new "Speedy Andrews" Repair Shop.

2. I think you'll get a kick out of what the German manufacturer did to create the Repair Shop, since it is based on the main parts from Ma's Place?

3. I have done some experimenting recently with the original Ma's Place kit, and it certainly lands itself to kit-bashing, doesn't it? Even saw a article in Railroad Modeler (I believe it was) where several were used to create a Boarding House - cleverly done.

4. I hope everything is going fine with you and your still busily thinking up more of your great building ideas?


signed Al McDuffie

Al McDuffie
Product Development

The boarding house was Emma's Boarding House by Jeff Scott that Railroad Modeler ran in its October 1972 issue under the title The Holiday Inn It's Not. It's a rambling structure that used 2 AHM Ma's Place kits and a bunch of odds and ends. Ma's Place has had a life somewhat similar to Dilly Mfg. Co. / 8-Ball Loco Works: it has persisted in many forms and in many places from the time it was first created right into our era.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Somebody snatched the sign!

I'm reading through my boxes of RMCs and when I got to page 37 of the Nov. '67 issue of Railroad Model Craftsman, I noticed the previous owner had carefully sliced out the sign from E. L. Moore's W. E. Snatchem - Undertaker article. If you're out there and reading this post, send me a photo of your model if you did build it and you've still got it. It's good to see evidence of interest in an E. L. Moore project :-)

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

E. L. Moore did not inspire The Farmers Market

I grew tired of subsidizing my HO farmers, so I cast about for a suitable market place for the apples and other produce grown in such abundance in this area. The grain elevator, stock yard, etc., didn't begin to provide adequate outlets for the enterprising residents of my 1:87 domain. I got so desperate that I even went down to Charlotte last spring and visited E. L. Moore, hoping to filch an idea, but no luck.
The opening paragraph to Chuck Brigman's The Farmers Market that appeared in the March 1970 issue of Railroad Model Craftsman. E. L. Moore 'did not' inspire this model :-)

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

One last like

That CASS: GEARED LOCO HAVEN  in the last issue, was really something! Enjoyed it hugely!
Passage from a letter E. L. Moore wrote to Tony Koester, Manager Editor of Railroad Model Craftsman, dated August 8, 1972.

Turns out there was one more of E. L. Moore's likes buried away in his correspondence. The article Cass: Geared Loco Haven appeared in the August '72 issue of Railroad Model Craftsman and it's chock full of geared locomotive goodness. Eight pages stuffed with great photos and text. Is this the last note on Mr. Moore's likes, I think so, but that's what I said a few days ago :-)

Monday, August 21, 2017

Was this the first occurrence of the 8-Ball Loco Works?

In the course of the ongoing 8-Ball Loco Works / Dilly Mfg Co. discussion I came across this photo - sliced from a larger one - in the June 1950 issue of Railroad Model Craftsman. The location is Bill Livingston's layout, the Venango Northern R. R. I think this is the earliest photo of the model - appearing around 8 months before the article describing it did in the Feb '51 issue. It also appeared in the Oct '50 and May '51 issues; maybe others too, but that's all I've been able to spot so far. With Mr. Livingston noting he first built it 1949, the publication dates for other occurrences likely won't get much earlier than these.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

It was right in front of my eyes!

[Bob Hayden's 8-Ball Locomotive Works dead in the middle of the Thatcher's Inlet layout. Image sliced from the layout overview picture in the Feb. '72 issue of RMC.]

While reading through the Thatcher's Inlet series a bit more closely I realized another bit of E. L. Moore lore was positioned dead centre in the layout: Bob Hayden's 8-Ball Locomotive Works, aka, E. L. Moore's Dilly Manufacturing. Longtime readers may remember I wrote a lengthy analysis of the 8-Ball Loco Work's lineage. That building has a long and storied history that dates back to the Feb '51 issue of RMC to an article called Eight Ball Locomotive Works by Eric Brunger with plans by Bill Livingston. This building is never specifically called out in the Thatcher series, and highlights how the search for Moorian stuff doesn't always rely on just the written word.
[This image was sliced from a larger one in part 3 of the series that appeared in the Apr. '72 issue of RMC.]

E. L. Moore dug Thatcher's Inlet

[The April '72 issue of Railroad Model Craftsman contained part 3 of Dave Frary and Bob Hayden's groundbreaking Thatcher's Inlet series.]

You're doing a good job continually upgrading RMC . . . particularly liked Thatcher's Inlet in recent issues.
From a letter dated May 2, 1972 E. L. Moore wrote to RMC Managing Editor, Tony Koester.

Dave Frary and Bob Hayden's series on how they built their Thatcher's Inlet layout appeared in the February, March, April and May 1972 issues of Railroad Model Craftsman. It's one of the greatest series published in the model railroading press and is well worth anyone's time to read. And yes, E. L. Moore makes a very oblique appearance :-) In part 4 it's mentioned that AHM's Ramsey Journal Building was used as the basis of the kitbashed Ship's Chandlery. The Ramsey Journal Building was AHM's kit version of E. L. Moore's project of the same name that appeared in the December 1967 issue of Railroad Model Craftsman.
[Full page spread of Thatcher's Inlet Railroad that was included in the first instalment in the February '72 issue of Railroad Model Craftsman]

This is the third post in what is turning out to be a short series on articles E. L. Moore liked: the first was Train Wreck & Golden Quill Mining and the second was E. L. Moore's January 1970. I don't think there are any more mentions of likes or dislikes in his writings, but if there are, you'll be sure to see them here :-)

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Question: Was this the inspiration for E. L. Moore's Rocky Ridge Depot?

[A small station on the HO Kansas City South Park Railroad as shown in the February 1958 issue of Railroad Model Craftsman.]

Answer: no.

I had some fun building an N-scale version of E. L. Moore's Rocky Ridge depot a few years back. Mr. Moore published it in the April '64 issue of Railroad Model Craftsman, and in the introduction mentions having built my first one some ten years ago. I'll assume his recollection of dates is correct, so that places it in 1954, well before the 1958 publication date of that photo. This is something I often wrestle with on the E. L. Moore trail: trying to make sure dates make some sense in linking potential inspirations to E. L. Moore, and trying to make sure I don't jump the gun on attributing things that may have been fairly commonplace in an earlier era with some insight unique to E. L. Moore. 

In this situation, so far it's just an interesting coincidence. Maybe the two projects have a common ancestor, but only time and continued reading might tell.

Friday, August 11, 2017

E. L. Moore's January 1970

Nice snowplow article by Delaney, and although I'm not a traction fan I enjoyed TRACTION WEEKEND thoroughly. Keep up the good work.
E. L. Moore in a letter to Hal Carstens dated 28 December 1969. Mr. Moore seemed to have a thing for snowplows and built ones for both the Eagleroost & Koontree and Elizabeth Valley RRs.

The January 1970 issue of Railroad Model Craftsman must have been a bit special to E. L. Moore, because as well as those two articles he found interesting, the issue also contained his Chittenden County Mill project and this photo of the Yank Mfg. Co., built by Mr. Ronald Kuykendall of Tucson, Arizona, that appeared in the Boomer Trail section. It was based on E. L. Moore's HOJ POJ Mfg. Co. that appeared in the April '69 issue of Railroad Model Craftsman.
[Longtime readers of this blog might recall the restoration I did on Mr. Moore's HOJ POJ Mfg. Co. Seeing this rendition of the project was fascinating. As well as being an all round fine model, Mr. Kuykendall did an excellent job on that piping and dust collectors - those items stumped me and I resorted to plastic!]

Thursday, August 10, 2017


I did some soldering. Ok, not much soldering. Just enough to do a test loop around the track. And enough to realize I need to get rid of my battery powered Weller iron and replace it with a plug-in fine point if I ever want to do some quality soldering on the EVRR.
[Some streetcar track near the Art Gallery of Ontario. I took this photo late last October.]

Nothing on the layout is reminding me of Toronto, but it's early days. I think I need to do a little work on the road and fiddle with some building placement.
Getting the road colour right is going to be a bit of a challenge. On the LOL some roads came out ok, others weren't so good. 

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Grizzly Flats depot's back wall

[The digital camera is a harsh mistress :-) This is the back wall on the N-scale Grizzly Flats depot model.]

If you're a longtime reader here you may recall the N-scale Grizzly Flats depot build based on E. L. Moore's HO scale version that appeared in the March '62 issue of Model Trains. I noted there were no photos or plans showing the back wall and speculated that maybe he didn't note it in order to speed up the project. I stumbled across a short article on the Grizzly Flats depot in the July '73 issue of Railroad Modeler and it had this to say about that wall,

The fact of the depot being a prop led to the condition of the rear wall being without any windows or doors. We have, therefore, taken a little artistic license and proposed a slightly different rear wall from the plain on the actual structure.

They presented a full-page, HO-scale plan of the depot and inset this speculation on the back wall.
[The Grizzly Flats depot plan was drawn by Ralph Dockham.]

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Train Wreck & Golden Quill Mining

[Golden Quill Mining Co. by Herb Ballinger, Railroad Modeler, January 1972. I'm partial to large, text-free images that speak for themselves and was impressed by how RM chose to present this diorama. What a great scene. Excellent modelling, not over done and a fascinating asymmetrical organization.]

That Golden Quill Mining Company in the January issue was a dilly . . . Train Wreck was good, too. Keep up the good work.
E. L. Moore in a letter dated 18 January 1972 to Denis Dunning, editor of Railroad Modeler magazine.

Golden Quill Mining Co. by Herb Ballinger is an article in the January '72 issue of Railroad Modeler. One thing I've admired about that magazine was it broke from the visual style and layout form long established in MR and RMC. RM often used creative 2-page spreads with high visual impact. Golden Quill Mining Co. and Train Wreck! are excellent examples.
It's interesting that Mr. Moore singled out the two articles in the issue that dealt with dioramas - ones that focused on visual storytelling.
[An overall view of the Train Wreck! diorama. I couldn't find a name associated with the article or the diorama, but if I come across who built this, I'll update the post.]

The Train Wreck! diorama is an 18" x 36" selectively compressed diorama of this scene on the left. I like how the article's bold title spans across two pages to dramatically tie the prototype image to the text.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

I dip my cup of soup back from a gurglin' cracklin' cauldron in some train yard

I have to admit I'm not a big country music fan, but when I posted that Glen Campbell, Willie Nelson video in the last post, I dove into YouTube's Glen Campbell videos and played all I could find. Wow! Great music. Memories came flooding back. I highly recommend a long detour into Glen Campbell's songbook.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Did you bring the boxes?

Over the weekend Vince and I acquired a collection of Railroad Model Craftsman issues that date from the 1940s to 2010. That's them in the 6 cartons, and - as a special bonus - on top, in the bags, is a large collection of Railroad Modeler. All Debra and I had to do was go on a 1,300 km round-trip across the province to pick them up :-) Well, road trips are what we do, and there were thrills, spills, and chills, but in the end: Mission Accomplished! I have my suspicions that E. L. Moore sourced the track plan for his Elizabeth Valley Railroad from a '40s or '50s issue of RMC. No doubt there are lots of interesting discoveries ahead, but while I'm getting a car wash, I'll leave you with Glen and Willie.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

A spin on the Neville Park Loop

It's just a little 7" radius loop, but boy it was tough to install.
It's made of 3 pieces of Atlas flex-track. The 3/4 loop - and it is a perfect circular arc not the semi-ellipse of that slightly distorted photo - is cut from one piece, the long exit straight is the second, and that entry transition is the third. 
The transition piece had a little special preparation before installation. First, Atlas flex has more-or-less all the ties interconnected on one side, and every other tie connected on the other. To make the piece more flexible I removed every other interconnection from the first side, so that it was as flexible as the other. Then the track was carefully wrapped edge-wise around the perimeter of that old tobacco can (I use it for stashing old screws and nuts, so it's heavy). This gives the track a slight built-in curvature. After curving, the track was trimmed a bit so that the rail ends that join the loop have been curved by the can - this helps get a little better joint between the transition and the loop. 
That's all the track installed on the new streetcar layout. I hear a soldering iron - and summer vacation - calling my name :-)

Friday, July 14, 2017

What would E. L. Moore do?

Now a railroad terminal building with tracks underneath and offices above, if I can latch onto a starting idea, I might develop something along that line.
E. L. Moore in a letter to Hal Carstens, dated April 2, 1969.

E. L. Moore didn't publish a project about such a railroad terminal and so I'm left to wonder what he might have done if he had pursued this line of thinking. There are certainly many large terminals with such an arrangement, but that one in the picture is my candidate. Ok, it isn't a terminal, but it was built between 1896 and 1898 - well within E. L. Moore's favourite era - and does have tracks underneath and offices above. And, given its straightforward shape, it would selectively compress without wrecking its character. A smaller version could use a variety of possible surfaces - brick, stone, concrete - so there's room to inject your own style. Not to mention, that when lit up, there would be some great night scenes with all those windows. This would be an interesting Neo-Moorian project. Two 1969 dollars and two weeks of work? :-)

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

West end loop

The streetcar loops around quite well in what will be the west end suburbs. But, this is the second attempt at track installation - my first attempt had to be torn-up because streetcars derailed like crazy on every bend.
I didn't pay close enough attention to making sure the track made perfect circular arcs and that caused derailments. On the second try I used cardboard templates to help lay the track (that one up there has a 6 7/16 " radius to give pretty much a 7" radius arc on centre). I should mention that the track is held in place with transfer tape and pins inserted in the factory drilled tie holes.
I rotated the layout 180 degrees so the Neville Loop is on the free end for easy track installation. It shouldn't take too long to get its track installed, and then it will be on to soldering :-)

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Flashback at the magazine rack

I dropped by the hobby store yesterday to buy some track to finish the new street car layout. Over at the magazine rack I experienced some deja vu. That's the July issue of RMC on the left, and Carsten's old Traction Handbook on the right. It's rare to see anything, anywhere about street car modelling, so I bought it. The trolley barn article covered how to build it of course and also had some discussion on trolley track. Hopefully we'll see more street car oriented articles in the future.

By boxcar to the Painted Land

Later last night I watched Painted Land: In Search of the Group of Seven on TVO. As well as the beauty of northern Ontario, and the fascinating story of tracking down the painting sites of the Group of Seven, two other things caught my attention: the railway, the Algoma Central, was key to providing them access to the Ontario north country, and the landscapes and adventure reminded me of E. L. Moore's EVRR (look closely at the lakes, cabins, life in a boxcar with a group of friends - shades of Spumoni Club Coach - and access only by train). The movie is available at TVO's website.
A recreation of the boxcar - used in the Painted Land - the Group of Seven lived in during an extended painting expedition in Northern Ontario. Image sourced from the Painted Land website.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Solder-itis and street track installation

I'm starting to think avoidance of soldering is a recognized medical condition. Instead of soldering some leads on the EVRR blocks, I decided to install some track on the new street car layout. I started with the easiest part, the two strips along the main drag, and then went on to the loop around the housing block on the west end. I think once all the track is installed on this thing - and there isn't much - I'll pick up the soldering iron and hold a solder-palooza on both layouts. Hopefully Debra won't have to call an ambulance :-)

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Was The Novelty Factory based on St. Luke's Church?

Paul Zimmerman contacted me to tell me about a wedding at St. Luke's Church, in Smithfield, Virginia, where he was the organist. He noted that the church bears a striking resemblance to E. L. Moore's Novelty Factory that appeared in the July 1970 issue of Railroad Model Craftsman. That model on the left is a plaster replica of St. Luke's sold in the church's gift store. It measures a little under N-scale.
The similarities are striking. Mr. Moore did have some family connections in Virginia, and he was well read, so maybe the basic shape of the church influenced his model. I can't say for sure, but it's interesting to ponder.

I read through E. L. Moore manuscript for the project and found this introductory passage that was deleted from the published story (if you're following along at home, it was meant to appear after the second paragraph in the article).

Have you ever been eaten with envy at the sight of some far out gimmick some other fellow flashes at a party, and which gets the center of attention? It's probably a drip from the fertile brain of Uncle Wilbur. Like, maybe: See-thru Keyholes with adjustable eye rests and a broad field of vision. Flea collars for cats are commonplace enough, but not until you've seen Uncle Wilbur's cat collar for fleas have you see the latest. Just slip one on your favorite flea and a cat will shun it as it would Saturday night's sin.

Then there's a finely detailed Crematory with a smoke stack, a perfect mantel ornament. Say you decide to stop smoking so you insert your last lighted cigaret, then present the thing to your loved one. In a space on one side is inscribed some of Uncle Wilbur's posey:

Here lies my final ashes, darling,
But I pray thee not to weep,
Tomorrow there'll be, I'm sure
Your ashes for you to sweep.

It's a bit of a repetition of the theme in the second paragraph, and a bit on the weird side for a mainstream publication, so I can see why it was edited out. But, there it is for completeness :-)

From the Hanger

Vince and I took his time machine out for a spin. He just got an alternative universe module installed and was keen to show it off. It worked great! When we got back I found this page stuffed between the seat cushions.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Some draft wikipedia text on E. L. Moore

I'm procrastinating on soldering the power leads to the EVRR track. My soldering leaves a lot to be desired, and I'm not looking forward to the melted ties I'm likely to leave in my wake. Writing some of the wikipedia text for the E. L. Moore article seemed a good excuse not to solder.

So, here's some of the beginning. It's far from done and not all of it will appear at Wikipedia because not all of it meets their archival standard. I figured I'd write down what I've got in their style and strip out extraneous stuff later. 

Earl Lloyd Moore

Earl Lloyd Moore (March 14, 1898 - August 12, 1979) was an American model railroader who published 122 articles in the American model railroading press from 1955 to 1979 under the name E. L. Moore. His articles dealt primarily with scratch-building HO scale structures from low-cost, simple materials, primarily balsa wood. Moore prided himself on being able to construct complex models in little time for not much money. He often noted that his projects could be built for a couple of dollars worth of materials in a couple of weeks of evenings. All his work was produced from an easy chair and folding table in a couple of small apartments in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Moore concentrated on depicting the buildings and life of rural America in the 1890s and early 1900s - the period around his boyhood - as he experienced and understood it. Moore’s articles are notable both for their style as well as their subject matter. For each article, along with building the model under discussion, Moore would write the text, shoot the photographs, and draft the plans. The accompanying photographs would often include one or more detailed staged scenes depicting life with the building, and his text was famous for often weaving in a fictional story about the building and its inhabitants. His stories were reminiscent of the form established in serials such as Gasoline Alley, Li'l Abner and Our Boarding House.

Moore did not concentrate on modelling particular railroads [2] as is the norm for model railroad hobbyists, but focused on modelling buildings of both railroad and non-railroad subjects in almost equal numbers, as well as modelling scenery. Although he found an outlet for his creative energies, and some cash, in the model railroading press, his activities and approach were more in line with traditional folk artists who specialized in American Folk Art Buildings [6]

Early Life

Moore was born and raised on a farm in rural southern Michigan [2]. The farm was within a 9 mile radius of Bangor, Michigan, and about 2 miles from a two-room school he attended as a boy [5]. There was a windmill and water tank about 2 1/2 miles from the farm where one could board a Chicago bound ‘flyer’ while its locomotive stopped to take on water. [JDL: A note to all you future time-travelers: that’s all I know about the location of the ancestral farm, but with it you might be able to triangulate its location if your time machine touches down somewhere nearby :-) ]

His father was the school treasurer, and on the first of each month one of Moore’s chores was to deliver the teacher’s paycheck. Treasurers were known to handle money, and one night Moore’s father was held up at gunpoint and forced to open the safe in his parent’s bedroom. The robbers made their escape by breaking open a nearby railroad section house and stealing the handcar. The next day the handcar was found abandoned down the line about a dozen miles away.

Moore served in the U.S. Navy on the U.S.S. Georgia in 1917 and 1918 during World War I. He was a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars and was an honorary chaplain.

Not a lot is known about Moore from the time he left the navy until he arrived in Charlotte, North Carolina and setup a photography studio specializing in baby and child portraits.

Moore worked for a time in a paper mill in the northeast.

Moore also found work as a furniture salesman.

During the 1930s, Moore was a self-described "vagabond".

Well, that's the start. I hear a soldering iron calling my name, so until next time....

Recently updated

I've been re-reading all the E. L. Moore material as preparation for writing a Wikipedia article on him. You may remember in the September '75 issue of Model Railroader, there was an interview with E. L. Moore by Gordon Odegard in the Bull session column. Looking back on it, I'd say there are some inaccuracies given what we know today, and some intriguing things Mr. Odegard mentioned that I've overlooked. 

In the overlooked category: E. L. Moore sold furniture for awhile; he was a member of the VFW and once held the position of honorary chaplain; his preferred type of non-fiction, and the only non-fiction he read now and then, was detective fiction; the Clarabelle Hotel was his favourite model; his very first layout - predating the Elizabeth Valley RR - was a 4x6 Lionel O27 setup that was suspended from the kitchen ceiling of one of his earlier apartments (!).

In the inaccuracies category: I don't think the Eagleroost & Koontree RR was part of the Elizabeth Valley RR, but the EVRR was often used as a stage to construct EKRR scenes for photographing; E. L. Moore's photo studio likely burned down sometime between the mid to late '50s, but likely no later than '61, the article suggested it burnt in '68; I'd say the high point in E. L. Moore's career was the period from the closure of Model Trains to 1971 when his first article appeared in Railroad Modeller, not the Model Trains period as stated in the article. 

All this is a very long way of saying I've updated E. L. Moore's Layouts & Dioramas :-)

Saturday, June 24, 2017

E. L. Moore reconnects with Bill Rau

Aqua Motel and Apartments - West Palm Beach, Florida. 197-. Black & white photonegative, 4 x 5 in. State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory , accessed 24 June 2017.

I've been re-reading all the E. L. Moore material in preparation for working on a Wikipedia article about him. I want to see if I've forgotten or overlooked anything. One thing I did find was this letter from Bill Rau, an associate editor at Model Railroader, to E. L. Moore in response to Mr. Moore's submission of a manuscript called, Inter Changeable Coal or Wood Timber load. It gives a little insight into how Bill Rau and E. L. Moore got acquainted and became friends.

November 12, 1963

Mr. E. L. Moore
525 Oakland Ave., Apt. 3
Charlotte 4, N. C.

I'll wager you'll be surprised, E. L.,

when you read the signature at the bottom of this letter. The last time I wrote to you was from West Palm Beach when I was running the Aqua Motel there, remember?

I have been happily ensconced at Kalpubco as associate editor of Model Railroader since the middle of last month, and am particularly happy to greet as a contributor one of my favorite writers on old-time model railroad subjects.

We just received your little filler about interchangeable tender loads . . . we all got a big kick out of it; and I hope you will get a bit of a kick from the enclosed check for $15 in payment.

Linn and Andy said to say "Hello!" to you.

Personally, I hope you will remember Model Railroader first with any more articles you have about the buildin' and doin's on the Elizabeth Valley.

signed Bill Rau
Associate Editor

P.S. I went through Charlotte on my way up (stopping at Pittsburgh to see mine and my wife's family) but was in a hurry to get up and get started here. Otherwise I would have stopped in to say "Hello" in person. I sincerely hope to meet you some day. I have always enjoyed your writings because I'm an old time buff too.

The article was eventually published in the January 1968 issue of Model Railroader.

E. L. Moore's Photography Studio on S. Tryon

What's located at 114 S. Tryon today according to Google Street View.

I'm slogging my way through Charlotte business directories from the 1940s and 1950s to figure out when and where E. L. Moore ran his baby and child photography business. It looks like it moved around a bit over the years, and one location was 114 1/2 S. Tryon in Charlotte, North Carolina according to some directory listings from the late 1940s. That one below is from 1945.
I looked up and down S. Tryon on Google Street View, but could only find a 114; 114 1/2 was nowhere to be found. It was likely bulldozed years ago, or maybe it was was in the basement of 114. Regardless, look at the beautiful building at 114. It would make an excellent model, and those tall windows would allow for some interior details, and when lit up, a spectacular night scene.