Santa Is Coming to Town!

We are planning to bring back Santa in the Caboose this year!

However, we are making some changes to the event. To limit the number of people gathered in the close quarters of our small transfer caboose, we will not be taking nor printing photos.

Parents will still have a private visit with Santa, but now, for a donation, parents can take their own photos and even videotape their child’s Santa visit.

We also are bringing back our Holiday Bake Sale for the weekend, too!

Santa in the Caboose dates are Saturday, December 10th, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday, December 11th, noon to 4 p.m.

We’ve Entered the 21st Century!

Beginning October 25th, the Griffith Historical Society has a webcam broadcasting live on YouTube from our EJ&E Interlocking Tower!

It is thanks to member John Wotkun’s hard work that made this happen. Thanks, too, to Logan Kulinski, our website manager.

A bit of history. Once Griffith had five railroads crossing at Broad Street. As many as 180 trains a day traveled on the 11 tracks that made up the interlocking. The railroads were: Michigan Central, Erie, Elgin Joliet & Eastern, Grand Trunk Western/Canadian National, and the Chesapeake & Ohio.

Today, only Canadian National operates routes through Griffith. However, the former Elgin Joliet & Eastern Railway tracks still cross those of the former Grand Truck at the Griffith interlocking.

These connecting tracks can be seen allowing trains to connect between these two routes. As a result, a number of different railroads are on the move though Griffith every day.

The Griffith Historical Society’s EJ&E tower webcam is offered through the Steel Highway YouTube page. Follow this link to view the live feed:

Beautiful Memories

These Griffith Centennial Black-Eyed Susans flourished this summer in Board Member Karen Kulinski’s back yard.

This plant was the official flower of the town’s Centennial in 2004. A couple of Susans were set out that year in the Kulinski back yard and have made themselves at home. It doesn’t seem possible that celebration of Griffith and its history was almost 20 years ago.

The Griffith Historical Society continues to celebrate our town and its history every day. Stop down to Franklin Center’s lower level and view our newly reimagined displays, featuring The Story of Griffith from its damp beginnings, and our Wall of Honor celebrating Griffith’s veterans.

The museum is open in September and October on the second and fourth Saturdays from 10 to 2, enter through door G. In November we go back to our normal first and third Saturday schedule.

Saturday Changes for September and October

Our Franklin Museum will reopen after our summer closure, but with different dates for September and October.

For those two months, we will be open from 10 to 2 on the second and fourth Saturdays, starting September 10th.

Stop down and see our new displays telling Griffith’s story from its beginning through the 1920’s, and our new veterans’ Wall of Honor displays.

The Hess Express Out and About!

Had a great time again with our Hess Express Barrel Train at Munster’s 27th Annual National Night Out Against Crime Celebration on August 2nd. Thank you to the Munster Police Department and Officer James Ghrist for inviting us to be part of it. And to top it off, the train made it into The Times newspaper, too, with member Craig Hoot driving it!

Some Updates


We have a new page on our website featuring the rebuild of our C&O Inspection Car that had been left in pieces when a renovation project was abandoned several years ago by the person who began it.

Thankfully, two men who have a passion for these vintage work cars stepped up and are bringing our little car back to life. Look for information and photos here.

The Model Railroad group at Franklin Center has closed down for the summer. When they are not open, we do not have easy access to bathroom facilities, so we must close also. We will be open the 3rd Saturday in September, the 17th, from 10 a.m to 2 p.m.

As we did this past summer and through last winter, we will be again working on new displays during our downtime. In particular, we will be setting up displays in our new school and school sports room.

Annual Meeting And Dinner

The Griffith Historical Society’s Annual Meeting and Dinner will be held at the Griffith Senior Center, 349 N. Indiana St., on November 16th. The evening will begin with a turkey and ham dinner, complete with all the fixings at 6:30 pm.

The Annual Meeting will follow with an overview of the Historical Society’s 2021 activities, plans for the upcoming year, and the election of officers and board members for 2022.

For further details and to attend the dinner meeting, contact President Nancy Stout at


Good news! Our Franklin Center Display Room is open again.

This month due to the holiday, we were open on the 2nd Saturday, and will be open on the 4th Saturday, September 25th. In October we will go back to our normal first and third Saturdays, October 2nd and 16th. Enter through Door G off the big parking lot.

While we were closed for the summer, we began redoing the first six display cases in our History room to tell the whole Story of Griffith, from its earliest beginnings through its incorporation in 1904. This will be an ongoing project through the fall.

Watch this space for more information about upcoming events and activities, including running The Hess Express at Griffith Octoberfest, our Annual Dinner and Meeting, and Santa in the Caboose. All of these will be dependent upon Indiana’s COVID protocols.

Farewell, Dear Friend

Mother. Teacher. Wife. Bookstore owner. Grandmother. Genealogist. Great Grandmother. Historian. Friend.

Maxine Hess was all these things and more during her long life, but today we write about Maxine as Historian and Friend.

Maxine was a contributing member of the Griffith Historical Society for more than 30 years and served many terms on our Board of Directors. She worked with us in maintaining the Grand Trunk Depot Museum, creating and growing our Griffith Historical Park, and establishing our Griffith History Rooms at Franklin Center.

There wasn’t an event or activity that Maxine didn’t volunteer for, among them working the Historical Society booth at our annual Railroad Fair for 19 years; scheduling elves for our Santa in the Caboose every Christmas and working the event; helping set up our historical rooms at Franklin Center; and starting a veterans registry that we will continue in her name.

Maxine’s legacy will live on with The Hess Express, the barrel train for children she was instrumental in our acquiring and which was named for her. The train not only is a source of income for our Society, but also provides fun times for so many children each year.

Over the years so many Griffith Historical Society members have become Life Members, like Maxine and her late husband, Jay, were. But more than that, our working together to preserve our town’s history resulted in life-long friendships, as well.

So, today, we say goodbye to our friend, Maxine. She will not be forgotten.

About Our Summer Activities…

These are unusual times — indeed there’s been no time like it since the 1918 worldwide Spanish Flu pandemic killed millions of people. (You know we’d have to get a little history in this article somewhere!) But times are dire now, and they call for unusual measures. No one knows when life will get back to normal, so for now, we cannot make any plans for the summer. Check this website in the coming weeks for news about any activities that might be coming up. And please do everything you can to stay safe and well.