A model train garden built by volunteers and housed in Engine House #41 at 520 S. Conkling Street in Baltimore City. Open to the public and it is free. It is sponsored by CSX, The Baltimore City Fire Department and the Southeast Community Development Corporation.
WBAL Radio 1090 AM reporter Jim Russ stopped by the Highlandtown Train Garden to take pictures and interview an engineer. Follow the link below to see his pictures and video of the Train Garden and hear Terry Maillar, one of the engineers, who is pictured below, tell his story about his interest in trains and insight into the Highlandtown Train Garden. Mr. Russ also provides some information about the Union Station Train Garden.
Even though one school visit day (Dec. 10) was cancelled because schools were closed still 803 pre K to 4th Graders came from the neighboring schools to visit the Highlandtown Train Garden this year. The students came from Hampstead Hill Academy # 47, Highlandtown Elementary and Middle School # 215, Highlandtown Elementary and Middle School # 237, Patterson Park Public Charter School # 327, John Ruhrah Elementary and Middle School # 228, and St. Casimir Catholic School. Words like “cool” and “awesome” were heard repeatedly during their visits.
On December 6, 2013 visitors came to the intersection of Conkling St. and Eastern Avenue to witness the Kick-Off Celebration of "Spend Your Holidays in Highlandtown". The cold rain did not damper the enthusiasm of the crowd and particpants. The band Sac Au Lait performed their motivating tunes and the hula "hoopers" and stilt walkers fascinated the crowd and Santa Claus cheerfully announced the beginning of the holiday season. At 6 pm the Tree Lighting at the corner excited everyone by its beauty, and then everyone walked over to Fire House # 41 across the street to officially open the Highlandtown Train Garden. Santa, A.K.A. Maryland State Delegate Luke Clippinger and Father Lou from Our Lady of Pompei Church pressed the remote button that quickly energized the lights and trains of the Train Garden and it now was officially open to the public. The other events were the Merry Mixer along the Avenue and the Family Movie at the Library beginning at 7 pm. Thanks to Matt Saindon for the pictures.
Ms. Amy Seeberger, theOutreach, Grants, and
Projects Assistantat the
Office of U.S. Maryland Senator Barbara Mikulski presented a
certificate to the engineers of the Highlandtown Train Garden at its Grand
Opening on Friday, December 6, 2013. It read as follows: "This certificate is
presented to the Engineers of the Highlandtown Train Garden in recognition of
your hard work and dedication to spreading holiday cheer in Southeast Baltimore
on the occasion of the 5th Annual Highlandtown Train Garden.
Congratulations on reaching this milestone! Your work has created countless
opportunities to spread joy to the children, families, and communities of
Southeast Baltimore throughout the holiday season. Here’s to many more years of
this great tradition! Barbara A. Mikulski, United States Senator on this day
the sixth of December, two thousand and thirteen."
Due to the snowy and icy weather the engineers have decided to close two hours early. The Train Garden closes at 3 pm today and will reopen on Saturday, December 14, 2013 at 11 am at our regularly scheduled time. See you then.
About twenty sponsors and their many guests
visited the Highlandtown Train Garden for Sponsor Night between5 pm and 5:45 pm on
Friday, December 6, 2013. Despite the chilly and rainy weather, the
sponsors enjoyed seeing the Train Garden while drinking hot coffee, donated by
HighGounds, and eating homemade, delicious cookies baked by Carol Hartke, one
of the volunteers. The Train Garden committee wishes to express its thanks to
all the sponsors who came and to High Gounds Coffee Roasters, a sponsor, for
their coffee and to Carol Hartke, for her baked goods, and also to all the
volunteers who helped to make Sponsor Night a great success.
The volunteers are deciding what decorations are needed to make the Highlandtown Train Garden a festive place. After all the decorations were put up, everyone waited in anticpation of the moving of the Train Garden platforms into the Firehouse.
The "engineers" have completed the Train Garden and it is now ready to be moved to Engine House # 41 at 520 S. Conkling St. The move will probably take place the weekend before Thanksgiving. Once moved, the "engineers" will test everything to see that all parts of the Train Garden are working properly. Everything must be set to go for Opening Day on Friday, December 6, 2013.
On September 9, 2013 the Highlandtown Train Garden Committee met for the last time. All issues were discussed and decisions were made. As can be seen in the pictures below all members work very hard to make the Train Garden a great success. At the meeting were the following in no particular order:
Chris Ryer, Amanda Smit-Peters, Ted Baccala, Dave Eaton, Bernie Deasel, Rafi Guroian, Terry Maillar, George Lambilotte, Frank Bratkowski, Carol Hartke, Nancy Supik, and Joe Manfre.
The engineers - Bernie, Ted, and Dave - continue to work on the Train Garden. On one of the platforms there will be many carnival rides and Super Streets. Visitors this year will be fascinated by the new interactive additions to the Train Garden.
Several of the "engineers" of the Train Garden have begun planning and devloping the new 2013 Train Garden. This is the 5th year of the Train Garden and it is hoped that many visitors and students will once again visit the Train Garden. One main new addition to the Train Garden this year will be platforms devoted to carnival rides resulting in more interaction between the visitor and the Train Garden. And Ted Baccala, one of the engineers, has created a scale model of the Grand Theater that once was situated on Conkling Street where today stands the Southeast Anchor Library.
This is the Train Garden's fourth year and it is another great success. The Train Garden received over $4,000 from business and association sponsors. 3,702 persons visited the Train Garden. This figure includes 796 school children from the surrounding schools who saw the Train Garden during the week of December 17 to December 21. About $3500 was colleced at the Train Garden from donations and raffle proceeds. Fourteen volunteers gave 872 hours of their time to make the Train Garden such a success. Thanks to the sponsors, visitors, and volunteers who helped make this year's Train Garden the most successful one in its four year history.
On Sunday, January 13, 2013 the Train Garden was moved to its storage area. With the help of several volunteers and four paid workers the Train Garden left the Fire House and was transported to its storage area without any difficulty. As can be seen by the pictures, the Train Garden is ready to be loaded onto the truck, the volunteers await at the storage area for it to be unloaded, and then all the platforms are covered with tarps to protect them. In about five months the "engineers" will visit the storage area, uncover the Train Garden tarps and begin planning for the 2013 Highlandtown Train Garden.
Over the weekend of January 5 and 6, 2013 the breakdown of the Train Garden has begun. Bernie, Terry, Ted, and Rafi are working feverishly to get the platforms ready to be moved to their storage location on Sunday, January 13, 2013. Trains are being stored, buildings are being placed in their boxes, tracks are being removed, figures are being packaged. The bolts are being removed from the platforms so they can be separated and be ready to be placed in the truck next week.
Dylan Geho from Pasadena was the winner of the Train Set
that was the first place raffle prize at the Train Garden. On Saturday, January
5, 2013 Dylan and his family came to the Train Garden to pick up their prize.
Pictured below is Dylan on the left, his brother Evan on the right and their
father Ron. When asked what Dylan liked the most about the Train Garden he said
the Thomas Train. Congratulations!
Kim Suter and her son Nathaniel came to the SECDC office on Thursday, January 3, 2013 to pick up the Panera Bread certificate. Her ticket was pulled from the raffle can at the Train Garden on New Year’s Day. The certificate entitles Kim to receive a loaf of Panera Bread every month for a year. This was the Second Prize. The First Prize, the Train Set, was also selected on New Year’s Day and information about that winner appears above.
The last day for the Train Garden was Tuesday, January 1, 2013. This year's attendance surpassed last year's. 2881 persons visited the Train Garden as well as 796 school children. This brings our total attendance to 3677. There were many suggestions as to how to make the garden even better and the thinking over of these suggestions as well as any others will begin in a few months. Hope you were able to visit the Train Garden this year. Thanks to all of the volunteers who made the train garden possible.