Apr 29, 2018
Ever find an old phone book, and go straight to the "R's" to look up old railroads?
Be cool to see an old Seattle phonebook-GN, NP, UP, Milw, etc.
Hmmm. Libraries used to keep some in their back rooms. I wonder...?
Interesting. My mother retains 40 year old phone books from our home in Chicago. Says she might need them. I'll take a look.
I recall her using one to call our town's interlocking tower when I was a kid. I told her I saw new locomotives from my bedroom window and she phoned to find out more. Happily, the kindly tower operator knew about them and was happy to fill us in. Fun times long past.
Dang, Chicago?! Must be 15+ railroads listed in there!
I'd look in old Yellow Pages to find by-gone Hobby Shops.
You got me to thinking that when I was a kid in suburban Chicago, there were five hobby shops with model trains within easy driving distance and a bunch more just a ride away on the C&NW. At least one remains, but there are none in Chicago's Loop (downtown) or within walking distance of it.
Yeah, same around the Seattle area now.
The downside to online retail, no face to face interactions. Used to always be able to chat with fellow train buffs and model railroaders at the local hobby shop.
Funny, I never thought about saving something like that. I do remember in the days of pre GPS and no internet, going to a new city to railfan and looking up the addresses for the local RR's in the phone book and then finding a city map to use to navigate my way there. I know for sure I did this in a lot of bigger cities over the years.
Many years and several jobs ago, I was sent to get some old materials from a warehouse. While there, I noticed a pile of old phone books that had been kept, and "liberated" one from 1955. It had an artist's aerial drawing of our city, Corpus Christi, Texas, which I reproduce above. I kept it as a research tool, since this is exactly the period I model. I have used it to research the advertising slogans and logos of various companies and products connecting to my modeling of structures and signs. I also found a city criss-cross directory for the specific prototype city I model, although about 12 years later than my model period. Great for identifying structures...AND their owners and type of business. Often lots more info than yellow pages phone book.
For the area I model, Galveston, I went to a major research archive at Rosenberg Library and they pulled the city directory for "my year". I had to agree to sit under the eyes of a librarian and use only pencil to write in my paper and follow their rules. Spent over and hour copying the owners and types of business of every building in a historic area 4 x 6 blocks, and found many ideas to follow up. Retyped all that info into my own computer file. And I have done some modeling from that information. Well worth the effort.