Fiddlers Grove Train Museum Shares Model Trains and Railroad Memorabilia
BY SUE SIENS
Toot-toot! Chug-a-chug-achug-a-chug. Toot-toot! Maybe like me, it reminds you of a special childhood train ride, as you watch with fascination the scaled model locomotives racing around the track. Young and old alike love trains, and there is an estimated 500,000 collectors of model trains and railroad memorabilia.This was especially true of the late Ben Pulley, who worked for the L&N Railroad, later to be known as CSX, for forty years.
Trains were his life.
Pulley saw the change from steam engines, to diesel, and then electric. He began collecting the “O” model trains in the late 1970’s, as a hobby to share with his grandson. Both Ben and his wife Barbara collected the model trains, and created the detailed city streetscapes, complete with people, businesses, churches, farms, nature, a baseball field, animals, and with many moving features,like a lighted circling ferris wheel, and a hay bale being loaded from the barn loft to a truck. Their model railroad collection grew to fill the Pulley’s large garage, nicknamed Pulleyville, and was a favorite destination for children’s school field trips.
Following Mr. Pulley’s death in April, 2012, the Pulley family donated much of his large collection to Fiddlers Grove Historic Village, located at the James E. Ward Agricultural Center in Lebanon, home of the Wilson County Fair. The Wilson County Schools donated a portable classroom to house the train museum, which was transformed to look like a train depot. Friends of Ben Pulley, model train enthusiasts, David Brooks and Richard Hosier and other volunteers, took on a labor of love, dismantling the intricate train collection from the Pulleys home, and re-assembling it at the newly constructed Fiddlers Grove Train Museum, which opened in August, 2013. David Brooks said, “It was a lot of work. It took us about eight months to complete. I know Mr. Pulley would be proud today if he could see it.”
The Train Museum has two large rooms. The first room contains the Pulley collection, along with other trains and items donated from other collectors. The second room houses another model train collection donated by the Ken Caldwell family. It is an H-O scale train collection. The room also has other railroad collectibles and wood replicas of the Tuckers Gap building and Lebanon Depot, and a train carved out of walnut, donated by local artisan Leslie Van Hook.
Be sure to check out this great train collection when you visit the fair this year. It is a spectacular sight to see.
Maybe you’ve dreamed of being a train conductor or engineer yourself, love model trains, and would enjoy educating young and old about train history. Volunteers are needed to work in the train museum. For more information about visiting the museum or volunteering, contact Fiddler Grove Historic Village at (615) 443-2626.
From steam to diesel to electric, Lebanon’s Ben Pulley was mesmerized by trains for sixty years. After his death his family donated his entire train layout and some of his trains to Fiddlers Grove so that his love for model railroading would continue.” – Fiddlers Grove Train Museum
WILSON COUNTY FAIR
August 15-23, 2014
Monday – Friday – 5:00 p.m.
Saturdays – 10:00 a.m.
Sunday – 12 noon
Adults – $7.00
Children 6-12 – $5
5 & Under FREE