Norwood Park - Memories

Columbus, Ohio

Denis Larrick found these pages and told me about the steam train:


For years I wondered if I was dreaming. You have proven I wasn't.

I grew up in Dayton in the 1950s-1960s. My grandparents lived in Lancaster. Back then White Castle would not build their restaurants in towns as small as Dayton. But they had them in Columbus. That was the bribe to go see my grandparents. Then came the second bribe. Somehow one day we stumbled on Norwoods Park.

The 1961 map is exactly as I remember it. There was parking along Main Street. My only interest was in the steam train (I now have one of my own), so all I really remember was the parking and the facade of the long building facing Main. I think there was a kiddy merry-go-round and probably a couple other kiddy rides out in front of it near the parking lot. I never made it to the area marked restroom or dodgem. The train was a single track along Alum Creek with a turnaround loop (running clockwise) at each end. The single track along the creek was three rails so you went south on the east and center rail and came back on the west and center rail to avoid switches. The south loop would have been somewhere in the bottom of the green triangle. I remember that loop overlooked a junk yard. As a kid, I swore my train would also someday overlook a junk yard (they weren't supposed to???). The north loop would have circled the smallest yellow square on the map. It was about the size of a chicken coop and the owner of the train kept his stuff in there. There might have even been a switch to run the engine in there. That building and the water tower were dark grey with white trim. The cars were just big enough for one adult to sit down in them (fairly long modern passenger cars I believe), so it would have run on 12" gage or 15" gage track. The engine could have been a 12" gage Ottaway 4-4-0, but it sticks in my mind that it was a more modern steamer, such as a 1920s era passenger engine. I think it had a pair of wheels under the cab, so it would have probably been 4-4-2 or 4-6-2. Yes, she was a coal burner. I'd love to know where it is today. I don't think we ever got pictures of it. It was my first exposure to a miniature live steamer. As it turns out, it has been a very time consuming and expensive exposure!!!

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