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.