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The Hartford Workshop was formed many years ago by four model railroaders:  Don Clerke, Al Kalbfleisch, Harold Horner, and me, Earl Smallshaw.  We chose the name "Workshop", as opposed to "Club", because we wanted the group to be open to all model railroaders and the name of "Hartford" to establish the locale of our group, although none of us actually lived in Hartford.  We were featured in Model Railroader a couple of times since we started.  We met once a week, there were no officers or dues, just the desire to be our best in modeling.  

As with any group, some were more talented in some areas than the others.  This worked to my advantage since electrical and gapping of rails wasn't my main talent.  Over the years , Dave Bascom joined in.  Thursday night was the normal meeting night and the group went to a member's home as they were needed, to help the owner make some progress.

Photo by Peg Bascom (1998)

The Hartford Workshop members, left to right:   Harold Horner, Don Clerke, Dave Bascom, Earl Smallshaw, and Paul Mangini

Time, catches up with all of us.   Al Kalbfleisch moved to Casper, WY, and in 1999, sadly, Don Clerke died of a heart attack.  And Harold Horner, our oldest member, died in July, 2008, and David Bascom just died  in January, 2009.  During that period, Paul Mangini and later on, Dennis Fennessy joined the group.

I thought it would be appropriate to show some photos of current members, starting with David Bascom.  David had a large layout with a diamond-shaped freight yard.  He had only a few finished areas completed and, since his wife Peg died, nothing more was done to his layout.  My friend, Martin Collard recently supplied some photos to me, that he took of David's layout when visiting from Skaneateles, NY.

David Bascom

DB city scene.jpg (74356 bytes)

This was part of Dave's urban area that I developed for him.  I modified a DPM structure to make PEG'S Bar & Grill.  The sign was hand painted on the wall.  I also modified a Police Car with the door open with two police ready to climb the stairs for  an upstairs disturbance.   The large buildings in the background were named Bascom Mfg.  It is here that the track crosses the doorway lift- out section, to the left.  I wrote an article on this section that appeared as "The Other Side of Town" in the July/1992 issue of Model Railroader.

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This is the lift-out section across  the entrance to the railroad room.  The urban scene (above) is just to the right of this photo.

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This view shows the approach to the urban area of Dave's layout.  The water area continues along side the mainline to the left.

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This  was the last scenery attempt on Dave's layout.  I combined two Magnuson hotels to cover the support column next to his yard.  A passenger station was to be installed to the right of the hotel.  Some DPM structures were placed temporarily to see how they looked as the city was being defined.  Nothing progressed beyond  this  photo.

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Dave had a large diamond-shaped freight yard.  He had bought a large stone roundhouse to be installed near the yard for housing his many steam locos, but he never got around to building it.

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This was an area of Dave's layout that presented a big problem.  How are we going to get scenery into that long, narrow opening?  This part of the layout was never finished so we were never put to the test to solve the scenery problem.

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This is a photo of Dave (left) and Martin Collard from Skaneateles, NY.   Martin, unlike Dave's  members of the Workshop, had the foresight to take several photos of Dave's layout, except this one.  It was taken by Tom Staton , also of Skaneateles, NY.  Martin owns a hobby shop and there's a link, from FEEDBACK & LINKS, to his website and all the hobby stuff he carries.

    Paul Mangini

    Paul models in the year 1900.  His layout, Clintonville & Forest City is in a room size of 14 feet by 26 feet.  Paul is shown here with his rock quarry in the foreground.  In front of him is the town of Gildersleeve.  Part of Don Clerke's Wiscasset scene has been installed along the waterfront, just to the right of this photo.

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This overhead derrick is an SS limited kit that Paul built.  It was modified so that the tracks entered from the side.  Here the blocks of brownstone are loaded on flats for shipment.

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This is a view of Forest City with it's park and the trolley track encircling it.  You won't find many autos on Paul's layout, as a matter of fact, just one.  Horse drawn carriages are the norm.  Forest City was the nickname of prototype Middletown and you will find most structures on Paul's layout representing structures of those in Middletown.

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If this firehouse looks like the one in my Future Articles page, then you're right.  Paul did me a favor and the firehouse was the return favor.  The ladder truck has been hauled out of the firehouse by a couple of horses.  Paul is making a replica of Middletown's Arrigoni Hotel, just to the left.   

PMarrgoni.jpg (61126 bytes)

The Arrigoni Hotel is finished.  The hotel was actually located about a half block down Main Street.  Paul, because of space constraints, put the hotel next to the firehouse.  Both the firehouse and hotel are still located on Main Street, Middletown.

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Here is another view of Main Street.  That large brownstone building is a model of Middletown's Town Hall. The prototype was torn down several years ago.  Today, the town fathers would make an attempt to preserve structures like this.

This area of Forest City is a little more run down, featuring smaller shops, homes, etc.  You get another view of the Town Hall which was clad in balsa wood and the stone was burned in using a wood burning tool.


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Talk about roundhouses!  This is as round as it gets.  This roundhouse serves both the Clintonville & Forest City locos as well as the narrow gauge Mattabasset & Gildersleeve RR locos.   Paul has finished the domed roof and now only has to install a few more smoke stacks.

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Here's something you don't see modeled very often.  It's a truck exchange where the standard gauge and narrow gauge meet.  The narrow gauge box car here was raised by a beam which was inserted under the car while supported on the two 2-wheel bogies.  The track dips here while the bogies remain  level.  Then the narrow gauge truck is removed and swapped with a  standard gauge truck.  A RR worker strains to push a standard gauge truck under the box car to complete the exchange.


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Lumber plays a significant role on Paul's layout.  Here a Heisler locomotive switches some log-loaded flats near the sawmill to be cut into lumber.  Notice the tents, on the left, where workers reside.  Life here takes on a slower pace.

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This is a portion of Don Clerke's  Wiscasset scene that was incorporated into Paul's layout.  It's served by the narrow gauge.  The structure, Clerke's Cannery, was made, by me, for Don.  As a group, we entered it in a North Eastern Region (NER) contest and it won First Prize and Clerke's Cannery won Best in Show.  There was  a little talk, then, about whether a group should enter a contest taking an unfair advantage against a single modeler. 

Dennis Fennessy

This is Dennis standing in front of Horner Station  on his Middletown & Waterville RR.  Dennis operates mostly diesel locos in a modern environment.  He has one of Harold's steam locos that he runs as a fan trip.  The railroad size is 14 feet by 30 feet, on a 2 foot shelf around the cellar and includes a large intermodal yard.  An uncommon product, salt, is also shipped and stored on his layout.


    This scene shows part of Harold Horner's American Coal Company in the foreground.  Parts of Harold's former layout have been preserved in over five different layouts.


    This is the intermodal yard located in front of Fennessy & Sons Mfg. in the background.  Activity is always brisk in this area due to the volume of containers to be unloaded and moved to other customers by trucks.  Paul Mangini laid the plaster to make the "concrete'" base for this yard.


    Horner city is the major city on the M & W.  Many of the structures here were named for family members and friends.  The mainline passes in front of and behind the stone walls supporting the upper deck.

    This view is of the other end of Horner city showing the passenger station.  All passengers, wanting train travel, buy their tickets at the station but have to descend the stairs down to the tracks below.

     Osmun Stone & Gravel mine the gravel to the right and large rocks are loaded onto the conveyor belt for crushing the rocks into various sizes of gravel for shipment.

The old roundhouse provides protection of some of the diesel fleet, although the overflow is evident on the adjacent tracks.  The coal tipple is maintained for the only steam loco on the layout.

    This is the only steam loco remaining on the M&W.  It was acquired from Harold Horner's layout.  Since water towers are almost extinct on the line, an auxiliary tender is needed to hold additional water when the loco is used for fan trips across the line.


    This complex is Bassalts where salt is received and processed.  This salt is used mainly for melting snow on roads during the winter.  It was named after Dave Bascom and me:  the "B" for Bascom , the "A" for "and", and the "S" for Smallshaw, since we both worked on this project.