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10th Annual Field Day 1952

By IBLS Web Site -

"The Miniature Locomotive" magazine, January-Feburary 1953 edition:

Tenth Annual Field Day

C.S. Chovil, Secretary, submitted this article to "The Miniature Locomotive" magazine, January-Feburary 1953 edition:

Sunday, October 19 (1952) dawned a perfect day of sunshine and clear skies. This is important for a successful field day because it helps assure good attendance. The event offers an opportunity for all members to participate by operating their engines on the organization's track or to display their achievements in shop work for the past year.

C. S. Schoval, SCLS Secretary 1952
Mark Piper gives his tractor a drink.
SCLS steaming tracks

Mark Piper, our esteemed president, and I do mean steam, was on the scene of activities early to supervise the necessary work to be done before any large number of guests arrived. As each member with an operating locomotive arrived he was given a copy of the rules governing operation of engines and equipment. Those that held a certificate showing a previous boiler inspection within the past six months were permitted to fire up. Others had the hydrostatic boiler test of fifty percent above working pressure. Having passed this test they were given their certificate of inspection and allowed to fire up.

Eugene Paul, newly elected Chief Inspector, was first to complete steaming his four wheel, one inch scale Switcher, better known as "Puffin Billy" and kept it hot and busy all day carrying passengers.

Another brain child by Eugene known as "Hustle and Bustle", a one inch scale six wheel switcher owned by Melvin R. Roberts, newly elected First Vice-President, churned her drivers in an effort to keep the pace with "Puffin Billy". However, this little rail scorcher had to take it easy as the rails were still new to its wheels.

Max Tenesch at the throttle of his recently completed one-inch scale Pacific
Harry Dixon runs John Matthews engine "Charlotte".

Max Tenesch, one of our oldest members, eight-two years to be exact and a retired Union Pacific R.R. Engineer was there in complete engineer's rigging and Otto Hansen fired up and ran Max's beautiful one inch scale Pacific. This locomotive represents a dream come true for Max. His son Lewis did considerable work towards completing this engine but was taken by death before completion. Otto Hansen was called on to complete the work and after five years, has culminated in one of the best looking and operating engines in the club's roster.

Philip West, our first vice-president in 1952 retired, made a very good showing with his one inch scale British type ten wheeler and hauled train loads of children all afternoon. Phil has adopted a special oil burner of his own design.

There were many other locomotives on the steaming tracks and one that I particularly noticed was John Matthews' three-fourth inch scale "Hudson" a beautiful engine and fine steamer. Another outstanding display by John was his steam traction engine which he fired and ran for all to see.

Irene Lewis had her one inch scale "Atlantic" busy. It was noted that a new burner had been installed that was quiet and more efficient.

The display tables held an interesting variety of unfinished engines. All showed promise of completion in the not too distant future (we hope). Raymond Gifford's one and one-half inch scale ten wheeler was an outstanding example of true scale and fine craftsmanship. C. W. Harrison's three-fourth inch scale 4-8-4 is shaping up and already looks very good. Robin Smith has made a good start on his one and one-half inch scale Shay. He is doing very fine work and hopes to have a completed engine in a few years.

Mark Piper had his competed one and one-half inch scale Minneapolis steam traction engine on the table. A thing of beauty like a fine watch. I have seen it work and it is faultless in its performance. Mark also had on display the wheeled chassis of his one and one-half inch scale American Locomotive. Bob Emery, retiring treasurer, 1952, had the wheeled chassis and boiler of his one and one-half inch scale C. P. Huntington. Jack Fesco brought his three-fourth inch scale S. P. 4-8-4 which is about ready for the boiler and his much photographed caboose and Vanderbilt tender.

Cornelius "Pop" Gerritsen newly elected road master did a splendid job of registering members and guests and was ably assisted by Viola Paul, our only honorary woman member.

Our story would not be complete without mentioning a few well known personalities seen around the track. There were Dick Bagley, founding Father of Southern California Live Steamers, Dick Jackson of the Colorado Central R. R., Dorothy Bagley, Secretary and Treasurer, Miniature Locomotive, Mr. and Mrs. Oliver Johnston and Dicky (see cover pix Nov.Dec. 1952 issue Miniature Locomotive), W. A Cooper of Arcadia, Calif., Fred J. Richter of Chicago, Ill., a seasoned Live Ste3amer of many years standing. Harry L. Dixon secretary of B.L.S. Western Region, Larry Duggan, Secretary of Golden Gate Live Steamers, Edward L. Carroll, Safety Supervisor of the S.P. Co., San Francisco, James Keith of the California Southern R. R.

About two hundred and fifty guests signed the guest register, others got by the gate without signing the book.

The participation of all other members without mentioning names was vital and necessary for the success of the day and thanks is extended to each and all for their cooperation.


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Comment Date: 12/26/2013 8:20:29 PM
Comment By: Dean Willoughby
From: North Las Vegas, NV
Wow! John Matthews was my uncle's next door neighbor in Garden Grove, CA. I remember the back yard high line railroad that John had as that was my first exposure to live steam. John had a number of 3/4" scale locomotives, the 4-6-4 as pictured, a 4-4-2, a couple of switchers and a model of the Rocket. I believe he also had a model steam board and a traction engine. As a you lad, I had the pleasure of riding behind Robin Smith's geared engines. I believe he also had a Heisler and Climax, and for many years his gondolas served as the public hauling cars at the Riverside Live Steamers. Reading about the founders of SCLS makes me appreciate the hobby.

Comment Date: 1/14/2014 12:35:07 AM
Comment By: Phil Cohen
From: Torrance
Thanks for the info Dean. Very interesting. Hope you will come visit us the next time you are in the LA area. Also hope that you enjoy going through the articles. I will be adding more soon. Phil