Our Little ‘Work Car’ Has Come Home

A year ago last summer, the proud Chesapeake & Ohio Inspection Car, shown below in its honored place next to our Depot Museum, lay in pieces. Taken apart several years before by a long-time member, it had been cannibalized and left to rust away.

We feared the car would remain that way, none of us having the expertise to put it back together. Nor did the Society have the money to pay to have it done, or even know if it could be done. Enter Perry and Kevin Frye.

Father and son Inspection Car enthusiasts, with a passion for restoring them, the men volunteered to bring our little car back to life. And, they would charge us only for parts they couldn’t donate to us, or arrange for others to do the donating.

Mid-summer 2021, the battered, bare-bones skeleton of our little car, was taken away by Perry Frye, along with a heap of random parts that were still left.

The photo shows the shape our car was in when Perry, right, came to pick it up from the town garage where it had been stored for us.

The Fryes couldn’t give us a date when the car would be ready. All they could do was promise that they would bring back the car looking as good as in the first photo above, if not better. They did keep us posted as they worked with photos and updates as to what had been done.

Imagine our surprise, when in mid-January, Perry informed us our car was finished. He brought it to us on January 16th, after stopping off at Hoosier Valley Railroad Museum to actually run the car on the tracks, see photo below. At our site, the car must be a static display.

Perry and Kevin gave us the best gift ever as the Griffith Historical Society celebrates our 40th anniversary this year — they restored our Inspection Car to better shape than it was before. It now has front and back working lights, which were not on the car when it was donated some 40 years ago.

The car also has small brooms attached to the wheels to sweep off the rails while moving along, which was unknown to us. A broom is visible in the upright position on the left side of the car in the picture below.

For now the car will be kept off display until we can find a way to exhibit it without it being constantly exposed to the elements. However, we will be showing it off in the Griffith 4th of July Parade, and it will be on display at the Griffith Historical Society’s 40th Anniversary event up at the Depot, where it all began for us.

Watch our website for more information about the Anniversary event, which will, of course, include having the Depot, railcars and the Tower open to the public. Also on hand will be our Hess Express barrel train, among other fun things.

L to r, rear, Griffith Historical Society President Nancy Stout and Secretary Karen Kulinski.
L to r, front, Directors Marthann Gatlin and Debby Hoot.

All of us at the Society will be forever grateful to Perry and Kevin Frye! Our beloved little car came home all in one piece for our 40th anniversary.

Don’t We Look Great?

We are excited to display our photo that is in the new 2023 Griffith Animal Shelter Calendar. Debby Hoot and her furry friend, Dorey, a white husky mix, are surrounded by members of the Panther Adult Program.

The calendar is an annual fundraiser for the Shelter, which is under the auspices of the Griffith Police Department. Our picture was shot in late September at our Griffith Historical Park. The members of the Panther Adult Program were helping us with our newest effort, The ElmerJ Project, introducing Griffith third-graders to the history of our town. 

The Animal Shelter Calendar is filled with photos of town places, town employees, and lots of dogs and cats, too. In addition, the town events are marked on the calendar so you won’t miss any of our fun times in Griffith.

The calendar is available at Town Hall and the Griffith Police Department during their regular hours and sells for $10. A great stocking stuffer for friends and family this Christmas, plus you’ll be helping save homeless animals and find them new homes. 

This calendar is definitely Santa-approved!

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: https://youtu.be/go55919p86I

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

A NEW PAGE

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.

FRANKLIN CENTER MUSEUM CLOSED UNTIL SEPTEMBER
               
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 nstout824@gmail.com

Updates!

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.