Historic train display makes a move

On Thursday, June 6, and Friday, June 7, the Wilton Historical Society moved the Bob King train from its position in the Sloan House, where it has stood for the past 10 years, to a new exhibition space created in the lower level of the Abbott Barn. The train represents Wilton in the late 1890s and early 20th Century.

The Bob King train display contains many Wilton landmarks including the old Orem’s Diner, Wilton’s first railroad station (now at Lambert Corners), Old Town Hall, the Congregational Church, and the Gilbert and Bennett Wire Mill. This train is treasured, according to volunteer Paul Lourd, because it is an “actual scale model and is the only train of Wilton on permanent exhibition.”

Train experts Clarke Dunham, Jim Maday, and Fletcher Conlon from Dunham Studios came all the way from Pottersville, N.Y., north of Albany, to move the piece.  These men originally built the train for Bob King in 1993. Dunham Studios builds custom train layouts for homes and museums and is one of only three or four companies in the United States to do this sort of work.

The train, in its new location, will be part of a new exhibition space which will formally open to the public during the next holiday season. However, the exhibit will also be available to view by appointment during the historical society’s regular business hours, 11-4, Tuesday through Saturday.

The Sloan House room formerly occupied by the train display will become a rotating exhibition space. On Nov. 1-3, the society’s Sloan House will also be used to showcase work featured in the upcoming American Artisan Show, which will take place in the first floor of the museum, rather than its past location at Wilton High School.

The Artisan show celebrates the 75th anniversary of the Wilton Historical Society.