Saturday, December 31, 2011

Thanks, G&A!

A special thanks to the G&A Restaurant for providing our train engineers and volunteers with gift certificates for some great hotdogs and hamburgers while they work at the garden.  Much appreciated!  Consider stopping by yourself for lunch or dinner when you visit the garden.  They are only a short walk from the Conkling Street Fire House and open M-Sat from 7 AM to 7 PM.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Treasure Hunt Challenges Young & Old

Pick up a copy of this year's treasure hunt as you enter the train garden.  Challenge yourself to find all of the items in the garden as you walk through.  Can you find the Coca Cola Truck making a delivery?  A hot rod car on a flatbed train car? Frank Zappa in a Santa Hat? 

This year we even have a picture version for the pre-school crowd.  They have 14 things to spot in the garden, but have no trouble finding their friend Thomas The Tank Engine.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Open New Year's Day!

It's not too late to see the 2011 Highlandtown Train Garden.  Thanks to our volunteers, the train garden will be open on New Year's Eve and on New Year's Day this year from 11 AM til 5 PM.   On December 29th & 30th and January 2nd & 3rd  stop by between 3 pm and 8 pm. The last chance to visit the fire house to see the garden will be Tuesday, January 3rd from 3 pm til 8 pm.   The raffle drawing for the Polar Express Train will be on January 1st.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

More Visitors! and some Great Photos!

We like counting the number of visitors to the garden and this year's numbers are way ahead of last year's.  This week we'll be hosting a number of students and their teachers from local schools.  Thanks to all of the volunteers who have responded to the request for train garden greeters.  It's not too late if you'd like to help.  (see link to the right)  The garden is open every night this pre Christmas week from 3 pm til 8 pm and on Christmas Eve from 11 am until 5 pm.  We'll close Christmas day, but be back in business on Monday, December 26th. 

Thanks to Bob Dewey for the photo.  If you'd like to see 44 more of his great pictures, visit BOB DEWEY's PHOTOS

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Patterson Park Boat Lake, Ducks and all!

Volunteer, Bernie Deasel, created the Patterson Park Boat Lake complete with a board walk,  island and wildlife.  I overheard a visitor on Saturday say "that's where I caught my first fish".  Great job, Bernie!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Original Pagoda Plans Used for Model

Thanks to the Friends of Patterson Park  for lending us copies of the original builder's drawings of the Patterson Park Pagoda, the detailing in the new model in this year's train garden is the real thing.  Volunteers Mark Supik and Jeff Levine painstakingly scanned, laser engraved, pealed, cut and sculpted the Pagoda from wood and acrylic.  Check out the the roof supports! 

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

D.J. Liquidators, formerly known as Epsteins

Longtime Highlandtown residents are thrilled to see Epsteins Department store back in Highlandtown.  Now occupied by D.J. Liquidators, the building between Eastern Ave & Bank Streets holds many memories for Highlandtown shoppers.  Today's busy DJ Liquidators always has more than 4 cars in its parking lot these days.  Thanks to the generosity of its owners, the building has served over the past year as the staging area for the train garden.  The entire display was stored there over the spring and summer, the new sections constructed there and then moved to Engine Co. 41 on Conkling Street just before Thanksgiving.  Thanks for your hospitality, D.J.'s! And thanks to volunteer, Terry Maillar, for recreating the building for the garden.  Even the fire escapes!  You'll also see Terry's handiwork in Patterson Park, more about that later.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Mr. Boh is Home

Only in the Highlandtown Train Garden will you find a scale model of the Brewery Buiding.  Thanks to the craftsmanship of volunteer Ted Baccala, the newest section of the train garden now provides a home for winkin' Mr. Boh.  Great job, Ted. Hours and hours of work, I'm sure!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

We Miss You, Joe!


Great to have you visit the garden last weekend, Joe.  We miss you!  We've got a chair at the raffle ticket table ready for you as soon as you're up on your feet.  We haven't broken any ornaments so far this year, so hurry back. 

Saturday, December 10, 2011

The Hometown Tourist on Dan Rodricks Midday

It was great to hear Highlandtown's Susan Allenback, the Hometown Tourist on Dad Rodricks Midday on WYPR Thursday.  She was talking train gardens and had great tips for finding all of the best ones in the area.  If you missed the show, you can hear it here.  You'll hear her sing the praises of the Highlandtown Train Garden, especially for the new additions of the local features of the Brewery Building, Epstein's (DJ Liquidators) and Patterson Park.  She also suggested this website for finding other great gardens in the Baltimore area.  Grandpa's Holiday Train Garden.

RAFFLE PRIZE - Lionel Polar Express Train Set!

Again this year, we'll be selling raffle tickets to raise money for next year's garden.  This year, we've got a great prize for the model train lovers out there.  An O Gauge Lionel Polar Express Train Set from M.B. Klein in Cockeysville, complete with transformer, track and all of the accessories.  Here's a link to a description of the train.  Tickets are $1 each, 6 for $5.  You can buy them from the volunteers at the table as you leave the garden.  The drawing will be on January 1st and the lucky winner will have a great train running under their tree next Christmas.  Thanks to Panera Bread in Brewers Hill, there will be a second prize this year.  A gift certificate for a loaf of bread each month for the next year.  If you've tried their breads, you know what a treat this will be.  So.... buy those raffle tickets!

Sneak Preview Opening Delights Sponsors

 The night before the official opening of this year's train garden, sponsors and their families had a chance to catch a sneak preview of the garden.  Over 40 Highlandtown businesses sponsored this year's garden.  When you visit, look for their signs on storefronts and their billboards along the tracks. They made this year's garden possible.  Visit their websites (see the list to your right) and better yet,  visit their businesses over the holiday.   We thank them all! 

All the facts.....

Highlandtown Holiday Train Garden chugs into its third season with a new look and local landmarks
Open Fridays, 3-8 p.m. and Saturdays and Sundays, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Dec. 3-Jan. 2 at Engine Company 41, 520 S. Conkling St.

For weeks now an all-volunteer crew of model railroading engineers has been expanding and improving Highlandtown’s public train garden. The trains start running on Saturday, Dec. 3rd, at 11 AM at Engine Company 41, Highlandtown’s firehouse at 520 S. Conkling Street.  Baltimore Fire Chief Jim Clack is expected to be on hand to send the trains down the track.

Over 2,000 visitors to last year’s garden were delighted to see model trains and streetcars travel along the track to pass by animated carnival rides, Santa’s workshop, and a miniature Highlandtown with storefronts representing landmarks like Hoehn’s Bakery, Stella’s Bridal Fashions, National Lumber and Hardware and the Frank Zappa statue.

This year, volunteers have expanded the layout to a 32 x 8 foot two-level platform. They have constructed precise replicas of the Natty Boh building, DJ Liquidators, the Patterson Park Pagoda and the Boat Lake.

The train garden will be open to the public Saturdays and Sundays, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. and Fridays, 3-8 p.m., from Dec. 3 – January 2 with extended hours the week before and after Christmas. Free admission, donations gratefully accepted.

A pre-opening sponsors' reception will be held Friday, December 2 from 6 to 7 p.m. Members of the press are welcome to attend. The project is funded with donations from more than 40  Highlandtown businesses that have, in addition to cash, donated lumber, decorations, printing services, train layout supplies and food for volunteers.

The project, is a cooperative effort of the Baltimore City Fire Department, Highlandtown Main Streets and Southeast Community Development Corporation. 

Saturday, November 26, 2011

December 3rd Holiday Kick-Off in Highlandtown!

Celebrate the Holidays on Main Street!

Saturday, December 3rd Holiday Kick-Off

Spend the day on Highlandtown's Main Street with FREE activities for the whole family. Check out our seasonal shopping spots and pick up a few gifts, too!
Follow all of our holiday fun on Facebook!
10:30am Holiday Double Feature
  Southeast Anchor Library, 3601 Eastern Avenue
  Start the holiday season with a screening of two beloved family-friendly classics: The Best Christmas Pageant Event and How The Grinch Stole Christmas!
11:00am-5:00pm Train Garden
  Engine House 41, 520 Conkling Street
Find your favorite neighborhood landmarks...IN MINIATURE! Natty Boh! Frank Zappa Statue! Patterson Park's Pagoda! FREE!
To see the train garden schedule click here.
11:00am-4:30pm Santa House
  Conkling Street at Eastern Avenue
  Check The Highlandtown Merchants Association presents the annual Santa House! Stop by our quirky cottage in Highlandtown to visit Santa and his merry elves!
 12:00-7:00pm Holiday Pop-Up Info Shop & Art Gallery
  401 & 403 Conkling Street
  Check out our one-day pop up shop! We’ll transform an unoccupied store front into a fun, new shopping spot! We’ll have holiday treats, unique gifts, and items from local merchants. We’ll also be giving out a list of the seasonal shopping spots in Highlandtown AND a special “Train Ticket,” a coupon which will be good for discounts from participating merchants through December 31!
Cash only, please.
 3:00pm  Maria Broom StoryDancer with Jali D, the Drum Talker
   Creative Alliance, 3134 Eastern Avenue
   FREE! Songs & Stories in Honor of Kwanzaa Effervescent, fun, amazing--Maria Broom dances her way thru a vibrant griot performance, and Jali D's drumming sounds out the voice of Africa in this pre-Kwanzaa celebration for the whole family.
3:30pm Essay Contest Award Ceremony
  Engine House 41, 520 Conkling Street
  Local students recieve awards for essays on "If I couldn't get there by car, I'd..."
4:30pm Conkling Street Plaza Holiday Lighting
  Southeast Anchor Library, 3601 Eastern Avenue
  Kick-off the holiday season with friends, businesses, and neighbors.
4:45pm Unsilent Night
  Southeast Anchor Library, 3601 Eastern Avenue
  No singing required! Bring your ipod or boom box! We’ll all press play together to start Phile Kline's Unsilent Night masterpiece and walk down Main Street to share the music!
5:00pm-7:00pm Pop-Up Gallery Reception
  401 & 403 Conkling Street
  FREE reception of art installation, organized by ha! and the UMBC CADVC featuring video feeds of collages by area students.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Don’t Miss the Train! 
2011 Sponsorship Opportunities

Engine Co. 41’s  Train Garden, a new Highlandtown Tradition, Year 3!

Thanks to the generous support from local businesses, organizations, the Baltimore City’s Fire Department and many dedicated volunteers working with the SECDC, Highlandtown will again have its own train garden on Conkling Street in December of 2011.

We’re On Track!   Work is underway and ‘on track’ for a grand opening on December 3rd.. Volunteers are already busy assembling the layout. Last year’s garden was a huge success, attracting 2,276 visitors.  25 local sponsors were featured with billboards and storefronts right in the garden. Visitors to last year’s garden were delighted to find their favorite Highlandtown businesses featured on buildings, billboards, and tunnel entrances.

With your help, we hope to add two new sections to this year’s layout, featuring replicas of southeast Baltimore landmarks, The Patterson Park Pagoda and Boat Lake, the Natty Boh Building and more.
Get On Board!  For a $100 donation of cash or in-kind supplies, we are offering Highlandtown businesses:

      Your name on a storefront for every visitor to see when they visit the train garden. 
      An invitation for you and your family to our ‘sponsor only’ preview event
      A link to your business on our website’s sponsor page.
      A sign for your storefront announcing your sponsorship
      Space on our sponsor table for your flyers, menus, or coupons about your business. 

Ready to help?   Please phone Joe Manfre at: 410-342-5395

Saturday, January 15, 2011

And The Winner Is....

Danielle Craven-Slaski

The Amtrak Raffle winner is Danielle Craven-Slaski  shown above with her prize.  Danielle who lives in South Baltimore and works in Highlandtown was thrilled to win 2 round trip tickets to New York on the Amtrak.  

Sunday, January 9, 2011

If You Missed Getting Aboard, You Can Catch It Next Year

There is no question that the second year of the Highlandtown Train Garden was again a huge success!

· 4 dedicated community volunteers built the garden over hundreds of hours

· 31 local sponsors gave money and in-kind contributions

· 20 additional volunteers decorated the firehouse and greeted visitors

· The garden opened to the public for 93 hours (in all types of weather)

·8 engines ran on over 110 feet of track past more than 150 tiny people in the recreated streets of Highlandtown

. About 300 school children enjoyed coming to the train garden from three Baltimore City Public Schools - # 47 (Hampstead Hill Academy), # 215 (Highlandtown Elementary/Middle School - Clinton Street) and # 237 (Highlandtown Elementary/Middle School - Eaton Street)

  · 2107 visitors of all ages with smiles on their faces witnessed it all.

Here are some of their comments from our guest book...

I felt like a kid again! Spectacular! Fantastic! One of the best! Terrific! Very detailed! The kids loved it! Outstanding! Very nice! Brings back memories! Thank you! Great fun! Fabulous! Made my day! Keeping a tradition alive! Wonderful to have it in Highlandtown! Fun! Very beautiful! Great! Lots of hard work! Wow! Nice setup! Excellent! Even better than last year! Loved it! Great job! Super! Epic! Festive! Awesome! Kool! Wonderful!

And the comment written more than any other (with a varying number of exclamation points following it) was.. THANK YOU! THANK YOU!! THANK YOU!!! THANK YOU!!!!

Thanks to CSX, AMTRAK, The Southeast Community Development Corporation, all of our community sponsors, our gracious hosts at Engine Co. 41, the volunteer engineers, greeters and decorators and to all the visitors. See you next year!

The Highlandtown Train Garden Committee