Collecting Old Trams Makes Unusual Hobby, Published 5 February 1959Among the odd hobbies that have showed up at my desk was that of saving old street cars.
Such a hobbyist is John Stern, treasurer of the Branford Electric Company, a street car fan club down in Connecticut.
So keen a "juice fan" is Mr. Stern that he got leave of absence, without pay, from his map-making firm, left his home in New Rochelle, New York, and came up to Ottawa. Here in the sub-zero weather, out in the bleak OTC yard at Woodroffe, with his trolley pal John Stevens, he risked frost bite to detach some street cars from their trucks.
The old trams have been bought up for scrap, but the scrap firm has graciously permitted at least two street car clubs to buy old cars.
If you mention any street car anywhere, chances are Trolley Hobbyist Stern knows it. I tried him on those awkward old Calgary cars and he knew them. Speak of the old antiquities that used to carry passengers for Mackenzie and Mann in Toronto before 1921, end he flashed a book on them he carried around.. He even knew that the street cars in Kiev, USSR, were painted blue.
He and his confreres run a museum down at Branford, where they display 40 trolleys from 12 states and Canada, affectionnlely operating the trams up and down what they call Memory Lane, You can ride open street cars and have a family picnic, leaving your car on a 150-car parking lot.
The museum not far from New Haven on Long Island Sound at Short Beach. Here you can turn back the clock and calendar for 50 years, and have the kind of time you could have around here when you took the open street cars to Rockcliffe.
Headed south with Mr. Stern are parts of Ottawa street cars numbers 685 and 695. These ran on the streets of Ottawa from before the First World War until quite recently. Thus a little bit of Ottawa will live on in this most delightful graveyard down by the Atlantic Ocean, with Mr. Stern as the caretaker.