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An auction for train/trolley fans

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An auction for train/trolley fans

Post  Brickadier General on Fri Jan 15, 2010 4:56 pm

Some of you may remember my Lego Hershey trolley.


And some of you may remember that it was inspired by Clarence Groff, a man who custom built large model trolleys from scratch as a hobby. I had interviewed him for a college paper, and it really was a wonderful experience. He had several trolleys on hand for me to look at, and he never had any intentions of selling them. He was something like 97 years old then, and he died this past year at the age of 102.

Now, all of those trolleys he possessed will be up for auction on the 28th of January at Funck's Restaraunt in Palmyra. I'm kind of saddened, as I'd really like to seem them go to a museum as a set rather than be split up. They're all unique, but some of the standouts are the unusual ones, such as the replica of one of the trolleys that hauled supplies like milk to the Hershey factory, as well as the trolley specially designed to haul building materials for the construction of Hotel Hershey. And I know that these will go for a lot of money. The last official trolley that Mr. Groff made for the public was auctioned off around 2001 and went for $2,650. Because of his presence in the community, the fine craftsmanship that went into each piece, and the appeal of folk art and Hershey memorabilia, I am expecting that these may go for even more.

From 5 PM until 7 PM, visitors can come to look at the trolleys. I definitely will be, as I never had the opportunity to take pictures of them, and now is my last chance. At 7 PM the auction begins. If anybody would like to attend this, let me know, and we can work some plans out. If you would like to see pictures of the trolley and want more information regarding the auction, you can get it all here at this website:
http://www.auctionzip.com/Listings/778468.html

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Re: An auction for train/trolley fans

Post  Brickadier General on Thu Jan 28, 2010 11:03 pm

Well, I went and made sure to bring my camera. Collectively, the 11 trolleys sold for $8,950. And somebody brought the "last trolley made by Mr. Groff" from 2004, which sold for $600. One might question the ethics of that move, taking advantage of an estate auction but, hey, what can you do.

Mine is modeled after this:


For more pictures, see my Flickr Gallery.

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Re: An auction for train/trolley fans

Post  Cale on Thu Jan 28, 2010 11:54 pm

Those are some nice models. Thanks for the photos Matt. I agree it would have been nice to see these go to a museum.

Trolley #3 that you modeled yours after is particularly nice with it's yellow and green body. But wasn't #3 a Combination Car or is this one a different car?

I also love that Mr. Groff built the freight and material trolleys. Not many people realize that trolley lines often handled freight as well. These freight and utility trolleys are really interesting but often get overlooked for the more glamorous passenger trolleys.

The Lancaster trolley is also nice but it does seem weird that the guy brought it to the estate auction to sell. Do you know if Mr. Groff built any of the trolleys from York?

I don't know if you've seen it but I have a book "Pennsylvania Trolleys In Color Volume 1: The Anthracite and Penna. Dutch Regions" which has a section on Hershey with some nice color photos. I can bring it to the next meet if you like.

Cale

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Re: An auction for train/trolley fans

Post  Brickadier General on Fri Jan 29, 2010 4:08 pm

Cale wrote:Those are some nice models. Thanks for the photos Matt. I agree it would have been nice to see these go to a museum.

Trolley #3 that you modeled yours after is particularly nice with it's yellow and green body. But wasn't #3 a Combination Car or is this one a different car?

I also love that Mr. Groff built the freight and material trolleys. Not many people realize that trolley lines often handled freight as well. These freight and utility trolleys are really interesting but often get overlooked for the more glamorous passenger trolleys.

The Lancaster trolley is also nice but it does seem weird that the guy brought it to the estate auction to sell. Do you know if Mr. Groff built any of the trolleys from York?

I don't know if you've seen it but I have a book "Pennsylvania Trolleys In Color Volume 1: The Anthracite and Penna. Dutch Regions" which has a section on Hershey with some nice color photos. I can bring it to the next meet if you like.

Cale
You're welcome. While those haven't gone to a museum, there are some around here locally on public display. The historical society in Hershey has one, and their museum is free to go to. They even have (at least when I was last there) some of Dick Winters' stuff, if you're familiar with Band of Brothers. Another one is at "The Filling Station," a small diner in Palmyra along 422. And I think one of the Palmyra pharmacies has one.

You are right about #3, and I remember Mr. Groff explaining what you mentioned. However, I can't remember the scoop on this particular model, as it does look slightly different than the car in the picture. Perhaps at one time it looked like that...Maybe it was modified at some point during its service.

I like the freight trolleys too, and to be honest, I expected the one freight trolley to go for more than what it did, as it was very unique and unusual. It also looked very nice, and the interior was decked out with some cargo, dairy cans mostly.

I'm assuming the guy that brought his trolley to auction did so, only because he saw the auction advertised in the paper and figured he could ride the wave. He also said that Mr. Groff told him, "There's not much time left" when he asked him to make it. I thought that a little unnecessary, but I don't know the story on his situation.

I cannot say with certainty as to whether or not Mr. Groff made any York trolleys, but I would say that the odds are probably pretty good. After all, he was local and made trolleys to order from the time he retired until his late 90s. It's very possible that there is one, but he never kept a record of what he made, nor how many of them he made, so they would be very difficult to trace. Perhaps the key would be to track down some York trolley fans and maybe any museums or archives there. You never know what will turn up. Are you planning on making one?

I would definitely be interested in checking out that book at the next meeting. Thanks for offering to bring it.

-Matt

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Re: An auction for train/trolley fans

Post  Cale on Fri Jan 29, 2010 10:16 pm

Brickadier General wrote:
I cannot say with certainty as to whether or not Mr. Groff made any York trolleys, but I would say that the odds are probably pretty good. After all, he was local and made trolleys to order from the time he retired until his late 90s. It's very possible that there is one, but he never kept a record of what he made, nor how many of them he made, so they would be very difficult to trace. Perhaps the key would be to track down some York trolley fans and maybe any museums or archives there. You never know what will turn up. Are you planning on making one?

I would definitely be interested in checking out that book at the next meeting. Thanks for offering to bring it.

-Matt

I plan on eventually building several of the trolley that ran in York. There is one York trolley that has been restored to operation. York Railways #163 at the Rockhill Trolley Museum. #163 is unique in that it's one of only five curve side trolleys built by Brill and all five were owned by York. I've tried building #163 before but those subtle curved sides are a stumbling block. I haven't found a solution I'm happy with yet. I would like to have a York trolley running on out trolley line this year though so I'm thinking of building one of York's more conventional cars.

And yes I'm a bit of a trolley geek.

Cale

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Re: An auction for train/trolley fans

Post  Brickadier General on Sat Jan 30, 2010 3:07 am

Cale wrote:
Brickadier General wrote:
I cannot say with certainty as to whether or not Mr. Groff made any York trolleys, but I would say that the odds are probably pretty good. After all, he was local and made trolleys to order from the time he retired until his late 90s. It's very possible that there is one, but he never kept a record of what he made, nor how many of them he made, so they would be very difficult to trace. Perhaps the key would be to track down some York trolley fans and maybe any museums or archives there. You never know what will turn up. Are you planning on making one?

I would definitely be interested in checking out that book at the next meeting. Thanks for offering to bring it.

-Matt

I plan on eventually building several of the trolley that ran in York. There is one York trolley that has been restored to operation. York Railways #163 at the Rockhill Trolley Museum. #163 is unique in that it's one of only five curve side trolleys built by Brill and all five were owned by York. I've tried building #163 before but those subtle curved sides are a stumbling block. I haven't found a solution I'm happy with yet. I would like to have a York trolley running on out trolley line this year though so I'm thinking of building one of York's more conventional cars.

And yes I'm a bit of a trolley geek.

Cale
It would be nice if the 1x3 slopes came in orange. You could always cheat and use that vinyl dye that was featured in the one BrickJournal Magazine. Of course, that would be expensive and very non-purist but, at this point, it's hard to find an alternative solution.

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Re: An auction for train/trolley fans

Post  Cale on Sat Jan 30, 2010 9:23 am

Brickadier General wrote:
It would be nice if the 1x3 slopes came in orange. You could always cheat and use that vinyl dye that was featured in the one BrickJournal Magazine. Of course, that would be expensive and very non-purist but, at this point, it's hard to find an alternative solution.

The 1x3 curved slopes are available in orange. But the curve is a little to much for what I want. Ideally if anything would work it may be the 2x4 curved slopes but unfortunately they are not available in orange.

Cale

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Re: An auction for train/trolley fans

Post  Brickadier General on Sat Jan 30, 2010 5:44 pm

Cale wrote:
Brickadier General wrote:
It would be nice if the 1x3 slopes came in orange. You could always cheat and use that vinyl dye that was featured in the one BrickJournal Magazine. Of course, that would be expensive and very non-purist but, at this point, it's hard to find an alternative solution.

The 1x3 curved slopes are available in orange. But the curve is a little to much for what I want. Ideally if anything would work it may be the 2x4 curved slopes but unfortunately they are not available in orange.

Cale
8 wide trolleys on a road with 6 to 7 wide cars and trucks. That sounds scary. Very Happy I didn't know about the 1x3's, but orange is a more "unusual" color. Unless you want to wait for 1x4 slopes in orange, I would suggest the dye.

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