American Flyer Displays & History

Shelburne Museum

Shelburne Museum 1Electra Havermayer Webb and her husband were good friends of A. C. Gilbert's.  They both accompanied him on various hunting trips.  Electra was quite wealthy and a collector of Americana.   She eventually established a museum on her estate in Shelburne, Vermont.   She decided that the museum should have an exhibit of toy trains to accompany the other toys in her collection.  She wanted the layout to represent the hills and other geographic features of Vermont.   What she initially got was a rather flat layout with only a backdrop planned to represent the scenery she wanted.   She objected vociferously and changes were made after she made it clear that money was no object.  For the full story of this episode, I recommend an article by Roger Carp in the August 1992 issue of Classic Toy Trains at page 55.

According to a notation on the back of one of these photos, they were taken in June 1954, before the changes demanded by Mrs. Webb's were made.   Among these changes were changes to the pond area, the elimination of the train shed, and an increase in the grade.  It also noted that the Wayside Station was eliminated and from an examination of the photo in the Classic Toy Trains article referenced above, it appears to have been replaced with a Mini-Craft Suburban Station.  The note also says that a house was eliminated, but I have not been able to identify it.  Possibly it was in a section of the layout that is not visible in the photo in the article.

It is interesting that this layout had such an extensive use of Mini-Craft buildings, since they were not offered in the 1954 catalogs.

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Shelburne Museum Slide Show

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