The club known as the Waushakum live steamers, got it’s start in 1955, at the home of Henry Stone at 72 Pond St. in Ashland, Mass. The original track was basically 800 ft. in length, in the shape of a dog bone.
The A frames were made of old bed frames, (L) angle iron, which were held down with large screws on 2X4′s sitting on the ground. They had wooden side boards, with ties with 3/8″ square steel used as rail.
The club had 12 founding members, and by the end of 1955, there were 18 regular members.
The track in Ashalnd, Mass. was completed on May 20, 1956 on which was held a Golden Spike ceremony.
Mr. Charles Chabot served as the first club president. and the club remained at Ashland until November 17, 1968 – the last run day.
The second home to the Waushakum Live Steamers was in Holliston, Mass. at the home of E. D. Child at 370 Norfolk St. Work on the new track work was started on October 26, 1968 with bull dozing work by Jimmy Bishop.
The first run day was held when the loop was completed on November 16, 1969. The Golden Spike was placed on July 25, 1970, and the 1st meet at the new Holliston track was held on August 28 & 29, 1971. The WLS remained at the Norfolk St. location for 26 years (1969 – 1996).
Norfolk St. saw and expansion of the WLS from 1969 into the mid 70′s. A second engine terminal was added, switching tower, yard track and a signal system.
The 1996 meet (August 23,24 & 25), marked the end of another chapter in the history of the WLS. It was the last run day with a golden de-spiking ceremony, and on September 1, 8 members of the club began the demolition process of the Norfolk St. track.
September 23, 1995 was the 1st official work day at the new club site. On that day a path was cleared from the unfinished part of Arthur St. to the field which would eventually become the new club parking lot. On November 12, 1996, the club had terms and conditions for the the driveway and after 18 months of waiting, with all the permits in place, the club could begin work on the driveway.
August 14, 1987, Diamond M Construction finished the first phase of the driveway, from Arthur St. to the club parking lot.
August 11, 1997 the club placed the first upright for the new high-line, August 14, 140′ was completed and on December 20, 1997 the final 10 feet of track was laid and the new high line loop was completed at 12:00 Noon when the last screw was driven by 6 members.
The first run was held on the new track January 1, 1998 and the first engine to run the loop was Mike Boucher (club secretary), with his 3/4″ 4-6-2, B&M #3714.
The first annual meet was held at the new Arthur St. track on the weekend of August 28, 29 & 30, 1998 with over 30 engines running on the high-line and 4-5 on the ground line currently 600′.
The final run at Norfolk St. was sad for all, as we saw a part of our past fade into history. The many men and women who have gone before us, some of them have also gone into history. Yet we have a hopeful future, those who have gone before gave us a vision, it is now up to us to carry that vision into the future. The Waushakum Live Steamers lives on – we have a bright future and are stronger than ever.
Information provided by Pat Fahey and
expanded by Fr. Jay Finelli