John Mcfadden Model Railroad Museum

The John McFadden Model Railroad Collection at the Mercersburg Academy

The collection of model trains at the Mercersburg Academy has resulted from the merging of two major collections and other minor donations. The first, the John B. McFadden collection, includes many items manufactured by the Lionel Train Company, dating from the pre-depression years to the 70's.

 Modeled to resemble full-sized railroad engines and rolling stock, Lionel Trains are built for "O" & "O-27" track. "O-Scale" equipment is approximately 1/48th the size of actual railroad equipment.

 The John B. McFadden O-Gauge collection consists of at least 80 engines, as many as 200 pieces of rolling stock, and more than 200 feet of operating track. Besides the trains, there are several Lionel operating accessories, stations, industrial buildings, and tinplate items. The collection also includes various items of American Flyer, Marx, and Plasticville buildings and accessories. Through the efforts of Mr. Donnie martin, the collection was given a home at the Mercersburg Academy in 1973.

John B. McFadden

 Born in Mercersburg on August 17, 1915, John Bingham McFadden worked around town as a "Handyman." His hobby of collecting and operating "Toy Trains" became the focal point of an otherwise unassuming life. His home was located next to the Cumberland Valley Railroad station, a very active place in the community, during his boyhood. This, no doubt, contributed to his great interest in trains.

 John was never married and never owned an automobile. His principle mode of transportation was his bicycle.It was not unusual for John to travel to Chambersburg, or even as far as Gettysburg, to purchase locomotives, rolling stock, and accessoriesfor his unusually large collection. John was known to ride his bicycle to the town of Orbisonia to spend the day riding the "East Broadtop Railroad" (a narrow gauge steam railroadthat is still in operation today).

 John was somewhat secretive about his train collection, which he kept in the attic of his parent's home. Reportably, his mother thought he only had a single train set. Mr. Martin, owner of the D.L. Martin Machine Co. in Mercersburg, became a close friend to Mr. McFadden.

 Mr. Richard Funkhouser, Mercersburg Academy Class of 1936, donated a collection of Lionel products, some that date from the early 50's.

 The "HO-Gauge" Collection

 The second and "newer" collection of trains is the "HO" scale collection of Robert R. Davis, from Clarksburg, WV. He was a member of the Mercersburg Academy Class of 1924. "HO" is scaled to be approximately 1/87th the size of actual railroad equipment, or about one-half the size of "O-Scale."

The "HO" collection contains an operating layout with engines, rolling stock, scaled buildings, and scenery. Mr. Davis enjoyed constructing buildings from kits and what is known as "Scratch-Building." His collection includes a variety of buildings, some having been modified from the original box contents (known as "Kit-Bashing") and others construted from scratch. The Davis family donated the collection in 1990.

The "S-Gauge" Collection

The American Flyer collection was donated by William long to represent Lionel's competition. S-Gauge equipment is scaled to be approximately half-way between "O" & "HO" scaled equipment.

The building that houses the Museum was originally constructed in 1840 for Dr. Nevin, the first tenant of South Cottage, as an "Ice House" and stable. The building has gone through several stages of renovation to serve as a Blacksmith's shop, classroom, carpenter shop, and linen storage building.

The McFadden Museum is open Sunday afternoons from 1:00 to 4:00 P.M. during the school year and by appointment. The Academy encourages alumni, school friends, and their families to visit and enjoy the museum often. Group tours are also welcome. Please call the museum to make arrangements for a date.

For additional information call: (717) 328-6154

Mercersburg, PA 17236

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