Teeny, Tiny, Town Takes Travelers Back to 1932 Franklin


Historians and children of all ages will marvel at the detail presented in the exhibit of "Train Town" again this year. Historical Commission Member and miniature modeling expert, Scott Mason, has added to last year’s spectacular diorama, which recreated the area of the Clark Square railroad bridge and the train station with the buildings and nearby building and structures. The new section, expanding on the original model of the train station and coal house, reaches further East along the tracks from the station and concentrates on the Thomson Press Building (now the approximate location of the Station 117 Apartments) and the New Haven Locomotive Roundhouse on the opposite side of the tracks. Recreated in minute detail, both buildings and surrounding scenery are laid out in perfect proportion in model railway HO Scale, 1.87, (3.5 mm to 1 foot).

Both buildings were originally built circa 1880. The Thomson Press Building, originally built as the Snow, Bassett & Co Straw Hat Mfg and later known as the Goulding Manufacturing building, employed generations of Franklin Mill workers. The Roundhouse was built with funds from the Hayward Family, which owned area textile companies.  It served the combined purposes of helping to keep the complex steam locomotives in good repair, keep them safe from freezing in cold weather, and providing a "turntable" to turn them around for return trips to Walpole, Norwood, and Boston.

Hayward and other mill owners depended on workers coming from nearby towns each day, so reliable train service, even in the depths of winter, was crucial.

Expect to be wowed by the exhibit, which opens Saturday, December 2nd and runs through the month of December and early January. The museum is open weekends 10AM-1PM on Saturdays and 1:00PM-4:00PM on Sundays. Admission is always Free. When visiting the museum this holiday season, please consider donating a non-perishable item for the Franklin Food Pantry.

Below, the Thomson Press building, a giant addition to the downtown Franklin "Train Town" exhibit.

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