The "Little General" Miniature Train

 

"The Little General" was built by the Lodge Brothers in 1904. It replaced the first train built by Armitage - Herchell Co. of New York. The Little General is now located (2004) at the Travel Town Muesum in Giffiths Park located in Los Angeles CA.

Photos and additional history courtesy of Daniel V. Markowitz of Silver Lake Ohio. The little boy is Daniel Markowitz's son who was four years (Year 2000) old at the time.

The "Little General" was originally built by George H. Lodge of Akron, OH., a mechanical genius.

After the Armitage, Herschell Spellman Co. locomotive began to break down; requirng constant and extensive repair, George, with the help of machinist Frank Jones, established at the Park an on-site machine shop and styled their own locomotive after the manufactured model. Ridership of the train ride increased, and George returned to the workshop, altering the original pattern, he created a locomotive of greater size and durability. This latter locomotive eventually was to become the Travel Town, CA. "Little General".

After the winter of 1905 the "Little General" was sold to the Buckeye Lake Park Co. of Licking County, OH. The Locomotive rapidly changed owners; spending the majority of its successive seventy years "running the tracks" in a number of amusement parks through out the State of Ohio.

Clarence Good purchased the "Little General" to his extensive stable of miniature railroad equipment. Good operated train rides at a number of amusement parks scattered about the greater Toledo area. Our locomotive operated at Vollmar Park, Waterville Park, and later Walbridge Park. During the darker years of the Great Depression, the locomotive brought bright smiles to the faces of children and adults visiting Riverside Park. Clarence Good continued to loop the locomotive around Riverside Park reservoir until the late 1930's at which point he placed the locomotive in storage; capitulating under the high cost of specialized labor and extensive maintenance that a steam-powered locomotive required.

In 1942, Wesley Shumway bought scale locomotive and operated it on a one-half mile track at Meadowbrook Park in Bascom. There it ran until 1947, along side a streamlined gasoline powered engine fashioned by Shumway himself. In early 1950's, the locomotive/s boiler was found unsafe to operate, condemned, and was placed in storage until 1957 when considered for operable recontruction. From 1960 to 1962, the engine underwent a number of cosmetic alterations and given a new boiler by machinies Lee B. Gaeke, realizing the potential public interest, refashioned the locomotives look to mimic that of the Cival War locomotive, the "General, which at the time, was touring the United States in celebration of it Centennial run---the 100th anniversary of the Andrew Raids.

Ghost Town, an amusement park five miles south of Finlay, Ohio, purchased the two Shumway trains on Augus 18, 1967, and along with the sister train from Vollman's Park, which in the mean time had been converted into a Model T gasoline fired engine. Train ride operations at Ghost Town began during the 1968 season. After a number of years of steam trains operations, the owner of Ghost Town, like Clarence Good, three decades earlier, finally concluded that operations the steam locomotive were unprofitable, and the "Little General" was eventually sold.

Two speculators immediately bought the locomotive from Ghost Town and sold it one year later to Marshal N. Fisher, a steam hobbyist living in Beverly Hills, California, who dreamed of restoring it for train ride operation. Unable to find an appropriate location, the locomotive remained in storage. In 1968, after Fisher's death, Marshal's wife Francis found a permanent home for the locomotive at Los Angeles CA. Travel Town Museum. Here at the Museum, the locomotive will be an historic artifact documentary the story of Amusement Park Train Rides of the early Twentieth Century, and as a tool to teach the children of Los Angeles the how and why of steam locomotion in a scale to which they can relate.

To return to "Miniature Railroad" Miniature Railroad, circa 1902

Daniel V. Markowitz is designing a Website on Crystal Lake. If you have any historical information, pictures of the lake and/or Silver Lake Country Club please contact him at   webmaster@crystallkaeclub.net or visit the site at www.crystallakeclub.net.

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Contents | Bears | Train |General| Indians/River | About Silver Lake | Dedication Speech | Amusement Park | Photo Gallery | Gallery II | Gallery III | Gallery IV | Airport | Lodge Sr. | Geo. Lodge | W.R. Lodge | J. Stow | Wm Wetmore | Steamboats | W.Island | Slide | Swan | School | Incorporation | S.L.Photos | Beautiful S.L. | Eve. Shadows | Genealogy | R.H.Lodge,Jr Obituary | O.E.Lodge,Obituary | Links | Kinsey Collection | Slide Show | Misc Obits |