Monday, May 21, 2012

Travel Town Transportation Museum

May 5th our adventure at Griffith Park continues. 
Following our tour of the Gene Autry Western Museum 
we drove to the nearby Travel Town Museum.   

In the late 1940s, Charley Atkins, a Recreation and Parks employee, along with a handful of rail enthusiast friends, had the idea that a steam locomotive would make an attractive addition at the Griffith Park miniature railroad ride. The original intention of the Museum was to be a "railroad petting zoo," an opportunity for the children of Los Angeles to "imagineer" themselves as engineers. The City of Los Angeles Harbor Department had two little engines destined for scrap that seemed to fit the bill. The idea escalated as Atkins, with the enthusiastic support of former Recreation and Parks Department General Manager George Hjelte and Superintendent of Recreation William Frederickson, initiated contacts with major railroads in California to determine what equipment they might be willing to donate. At that time, the steam locomotive era was drawing to a close, and Atkins found a good response. Travel Town was dedicated on December 14, 1952. The concept of a combined transportation museum and recreation center blossomed, and wishes for donations were generously fulfilled. In 1965, Travel Town's exhibits were re-grouped, and the park re-dedicated. Today, Travel Town is in a state of new growth and development.

Circus trains

An old streetcar

Entrance to Travel Town is free but tickets are available for children to ride the miniature train around the park.

Mike "The Engineer"

I have always loved train travel, sitting by the window and watching the scenery whizz by.  I especially have loved my time on trains in Europe.  One can get lost just sitting and gazing at the passing scenery.
"I knew I was going to take the wrong train, so I left early." - Yogi Berra

I have also loved the kind of light that one sees in train stations.  It seems mysterious and romantic.  I love watching the people carrying suitcases and bustling to make a trains departure  ... so much activity fills the air.  It all makes me want to hop aboard for unknown new destinations.   


"Life is a train of moods like a string of beads;  and as we pass through them they prove to be many colored lenses, which paint the world their own hue, and each shows us only what lies in its own focus." 
-Ralph Waldo Emerson

Travel Town Transportation Museum
5200 Zoo Dr. Los Angeles, CA 90027

 Located in the nortwest corner of Griffith Park.  Parking and admission are free. Picnic areas are on the grounds.

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