Today is also National Train Day. I think of trains and I think of my Grandmother. My Grandmother lived outside a little hole in the ground called Sandy Creek near Lake Ontario in central New York (that is just about half way between Syracuse and Watertown). Behind her house was a little place called Rail City (founded in the 1950's). As a kid, I always thought it was hers, that she owned it. I have been since enlightened that she did not.
Rail City was a sort of amusement park/museum that featured a mile long track on which a steam locomotive, passenger cars and a caboose ran. You would depart from the station through the woods to a quick "water" stop where you could get off and take a look at the monkey in the well. Once back on the train, you took the half mile trek around past boot hill (with real boots sticking out of the ground) back to the station.
There was a little wooden town were you could explore including a jail, blacksmith shop and other old west-style town buildings. There was also a carousel, a water tower that you could climb to the top of and walk around the outside of the entire thing and see five counties! There was a diner (that is what my grandmother ran) and an actual working Volunteer Fire Department. I know I was able to 'visit' the trucks, but I don't know for sure if that was open for all.
I think of this place fondly and during our yearly family reunion trip to the area, I always want take the hour long trip up to visit grandma and all my fond memories.
Rail City has run down these past 25years or so, but I understand that the son of the original owner of the property has tried to spurn interest in the museum and currently runs a website with an early history of Rail City. I have a few memorabilia at HandMeDownHaven.com (just search for train) and am on the trail of more, as Grandma had plenty. Time for me to...
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