A Travellerspoint blog

Day 62 (11.02.07) - Back to NY (Photo's Added)

We went back to the American Watch & Clock Museum, visited the Danbury Railway Museum, and still made it back to New York - but this time on the eastern side.

sunny 56 °F


Miles Driven - 128
Weather - Sunny, Cool, becoming overcast late
Camped - Rondout Coast to Coast, Accord, NY (in the Catskills).


Yesterday, when we were visiting the American Watch & Clock Museum in Bristol, CT - I was really struck with how beautiful it sounded when all the Grandfather ('Tall') clocks started chiming. I wanted to kick myself for not recording it. Since we had gone backwards a couple of miles to get to the Wal-mart last night, we started off this morning by driving right by the museum again. I decided to stop in and see if I could record the clocks chiming.

We got there a little late since we had some shopping to do first (those darn household chores). When I got there I explained what I wanted to do, they said they had a general policy to not allow video recording. However, the Director came out and discussed it with me and decided to allow me to record. Perhaps clock makers & museums are just a little ahead of everybody else?

This wasn't a straight forward operation, I went back to the room with most of the Grandfather clocks and set up my tripod & camera, when a man came in to explain that he had turned off most of the clocks so he could reset them for Daylight Savings Time. Clocks that aren't running don't chime - so there went my plan. However, he also said he had some work to do elsewhere and would be back in about 20 minutes to start turning them on again. OK, I could wait that long.

After 20 minutes, he started turning the clocks on and even set them so I could hear the chimes - but it was 11:30ish, so I was just getting the half hour chimes, and for only one clock at a time. These were nice, but not what I remembered from yesterday. Somewhat disappointed, I put my tripod, camera and laptop back in the RV and said "Thanks" to everyone and prepared to leave. Of course, by that time it was a quarter to twelve and I realized it was only another 15 minutes before the big chiming started at noon.

Being somewhat of the lazy type, I just grabbed the small camera (no tripod) and went back in to try to get the big show. Just before twelve, chimes started going off. Again, it was quite impressive and beautiful. I don't know that I did a very good job capturing it, but will upload the video and let you be the judge. Hopefully this will be done shortly, check back on yesterday's entry (Day 61) shortly.

So finally having captured some clock chimes, I was ready to hit the road again. We got back on the highways (as in Interstates) so we could move a little faster (as in South before winter hits). We almost made it to New York, when we saw a sign for the "Danbury Railway Museum". Being that this is a sightseeing trip - not just to travel, we gave in and pulled off.


This was built in 1903 and was getting a little old when in 1955, the town of Danbury suffered a terrible flood. The train depot was right next to the river that flooded, so the building was ruined. It was finally restored about 13 years ago with some help from the federal government. Now the museum is run by a group of volunteers who love trains and love sharing their 'hobby' with the rest of us. Here is a picture of what the train depot looked like before it was restored (Ugh!):


Carol, one of the volunteers, showed us around the museum inside the depot. It contains pictures showing some of the history of the railroad in Danbury and exhibits of various types of railroad equipment (click to enlarge or learn more):


There are also several model railroads of different scales. Here is a closeup of the roundhouse from the "N" scale model of 1950's Danbury railroad yard (pretty good detail work):


Dave was my tour guide for the outside portion of the museum. The railway yard has a very large collection of train engines, cars and various support equipment. Some have been restored, some not (if this bothers you, I'm sure they're always looking for volunteers!)

Here is a 1907 Steam Engine & Tender. I didn't know the water for the steam engine was carried in tanks built into the tender walls!


I also didn't know they made self-propelled train cars, sometimes called "Budds". This one was a 'combo' car as it had both dining and riding space, it wasn't terribly successful however as only two of these were every built. Some other self propelled cars did a little better.


In 1947, GM made this Diesel/Electric engine which they thought would be the 'engine of the future'. It may not have met their expectations as GM no longer makes railroad engines, but it was quite interesting. There are two 12-cylinder diesel engines mounted end to end, which turn generators that drive electric motors on the wheels. Together, the two diesel's produce 2,600 hp.


Here are two freight cars, both were received by the museum about the same time and same condition. One has been restored, the other - not yet:


Finally, here is a picture of a U.S. Post Office train car as it looked when the museum received it:


This is probably the exhibit Dave, my tour guide, was most proud of - and rightly so. This is the way the car looks today:


This was an actual working post office. For many small towns, the train didn't stop at all, it just slowed down to about 25 mph. If they had any mail to deliver to that town, they just pushed the appropriate mail sack off the train onto the platform. If the town had any outgoing mail, they hung it from a device so when the train approached, a worker could pull down on a wood handle to extend a hook and pick up the bag. Then the post office clerks sorted the mail on tables right in the car.


There were a lot more cars, engines, and support equipment at the museum. If you want to know more about it, let me know (I have more pictures I can upload of course), or check out their web site:


After climbing through all sorts of trains, I reluctantly got back on the road and somehow managed to make it to New York (OK, it was right across the river). I again took the wrong road and ended up driving through some very beautiful country. This is in the southern portion of the Catskill Mountains and obviously the trees have not lost all their color!


The Rondout RV Resort doesn't have very good internet, so I'm trying to catch up after the fact (hope my memory hasn't failed me completely). I'll try to finish yesterdays changes also, but am not sure I'll make it....

Posted by jl98584 16:52 Archived in USA Tagged family_travel

Email this entryFacebookStumbleUpon

Table of contents


So you did visit the Twain/Alcott homes! Now I'm wondering if you'd planned to anyway or got that idea from my comments. Anyway, were you aware that the seminary where we lived and studied for 3 years is just 2-3 blocks from there, as I recall? Did you see that at all? And soon Philadelphia--that's were Beth studied for a few years, too, and got her M.S./Ph.D. Your mom would love Longwood Gardens near there--well worth seeing. They're best, of course, in gardening seasons, but even in winter the conservatories are open and full of mums, orchids, and much more. A few miles from it is another nice one, across the line in Delaware, I think called Winterhaven, but I forget right now.

by msj

It sounds like you are really having a great time.
I just saw the weather, how are things?
The weather is dry here, nice temp in the 70s..nice hot coffee weather.

by rllomas

Yes, we're having a great time. We missed the bad weather, guess we were too far inland in NY when the storm hit. It's supposed to get bad again tonight, but we'll be tucked in all warm & toasty.

I don't remember where we got the idea for the Twain/Alcott homes, probably both from you and the tourist brochures - often we hear about the best visits from multiple sources. We've also seen so many things, I get really confused quickly! I left the seminary question up to Mom, we were in Hartford on Thursday, so I offered to stay over so she could attend church there Saturday but she said she'd rather keep heading south.

by jl98584

This blog requires you to be a logged in member of Travellerspoint to place comments.