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Barry Schrader


I currently write a column each Tuesday for the DeKalb Daily Chronicle. The column will also appear on this website each week and be added to the archives.

The Articles started December 2007.


If you've missed any please follow the links on the dates to catch up.

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Golden Spike trains featured in a wood model

By Barry Schrader.................................July 28, 2009

Train buff, artist and wood modeler Bob Myers has just completed the most time consuming and complex wooden train models of his life, taking more than a year and hundreds of hours to design and build the two engines that met at Promontory Summit in Utah in 1869 to commemorate the completion of the cross-continental railroad culminating in the Golden Spike ceremony.
The two engines were the Jupiter steam engine owned by the Central Pacific Railroad and Steam Engine No. 119 of the Union Pacific line. His models, mostly built using a scroll saw, are historically accurate right down to the gold spikes (pins) driven into the rail bed in the model layout that stretches nearly five feet. He enjoys working with walnut and oak the most but has used up to 15 different woods in his latest project.

Bob Myers Trains

Bob’s interest in trains, drawing and woodworking began at an early age and has evolved into a hobby that has brought him national acclaim. Two years ago one of his earlier locomotive models won the People’s Choice award in Scrollsaw Workshop craft magazine. Now he plans to enter again to compete for the editors’ top prize. Bob also has brought home awards from the Sandwich Fair more than once and plans to enter this project in the fair this September. His model made its public debut in mid-July at the Art Attack show in Sycamore and will be on display again at least one day during the Northern Illinois Steam Power Show in August at the DeKalb County Historical-Genealogical Society exhibit.
He also is well-known for his annual holiday cards featuring drawings of various train depots from around DeKalb County. This will be his 10th year designing a card in pen and ink that features either a historical landmark like the courthouse or Sycamore library or one of several existing or demolished depots. His card for 2009 will be the Cortland railroad station, no longer in existence. Each year he donates the proceeds to a nonprofit organization. The county historical society has been the recipient of that gift the past two years.
Does he ever long for a real model train he can play with at home? Bob revealed that last year a family friend offered him an N-gauge model train set that had been owned by her late husband. He now has it in boxes stored in the basement and some day hopes to find the time to set it all up, but not until he has completed a few more wood models. His future plans include a Model-A Ford, a vintage fire engine, a road grader and a farm tractor. Watch for those at the county fair in coming years.
If you want to get a peak at his artistic holiday cards check out his Web site at www.dekalbdepot.com on the internet.

POSTSCRIPT: I wanted to note the passing of three historically significant people in the past week. Dan Gustafson of Sycamore, who wrote a column of personal recollections of days gone by, and Doreen Smith of Shabbona, who was part of a weekly newspaper and printing family and kept her father’s basement print shop intact, have both passed away. I was privileged to become acquainted with both of them and will miss their friendships. We also lost Marilyn Rasmusen who has written a six-part series on the life of Chief Shabbona that has been appearing in each issue of Cornsilk, the county historical society’s magazine.

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Barry Schrader
PO Box 851
DeKalb, Ill 60115