The 1956 Catalog Cover Diorama
The photo below from the 1956 catalog cover has been thought by some to have been taken on the large first floor layout at the New York Gilbert Hall of Science, but according to Ray Mohrlang, who has many photos of this layout, it was actually taken on a diorama constructed especially for that purpose. This appears to be the only photo ever taken on this diorama. Interestingly, it would have been built a year or two after Gilbert had finished reluctantly spending a huge sum on the large display layout on the first floor. Why, then, would he spend even more to construct this display for the catalog cover photo? Maybe this wasn't just another display. One thing that struck me was the similarity of the illustration to the area of Homestake Pass in Montana, where the actual North Coast Limited ran. I think it is quite possible that the designers of this diorama were trying to recreate that area, even down to the trestles. Perhaps the Northern Pacific even subsidized the display in exchange for featuring a model of their crack passenger train on the cover. For a view of the actual Homestake Pass, click here.