KAUKAUNA, Wis. (WFRV) – They may be model trains, but to the 40+ volunteers treat the mini-cities at Paper Valley Model Railroad Club like fully working railroads.
Dating back to the 1930s, the nearly 90-year-old club now runs out of an old radio station. The volunteers built the extensive display of tracks, bridges, tunnels, cities, and of course, trains. Throughout the former radio station, you’ll find rooms dedicated to different cities in Wisconsin.
For example, there’s a modern display of the Titletown district in downtown Green Bay, including the Press Gazette building and Lambeau Field.
You’ll notice a train that runs from the Green Bay room into the Milwaukee room next door.
There you will find a replica of the Milwaukee Road Railroad Station was built from scratch by a volunteer. The original building in downtown Milwaukee has since been torn down and The Grand Avenue Mall now sits in its place. The Brewery area is also replicated that represents the beer line that used to run through Milwaukee. Years ago, there was a train that would go down a certain section of the rail and service every brewery along the line, including Miller, Pabst, and Blatz.
There’s also a room dedicated to the city of Escanaba and an entire basement with an old scale layout, which is particularly impressive in night-mode. No detail is overlooked.
Volunteer, Jacob Woelfel, calls himself a jack-of-all-trades. He fixes trains, does scenery work, whatever is needed to keep things running smoothly. The dedication among the volunteers is prevalent as soon as you walk into the railroad club.
Walking through the various rooms, looking at the intricate work of the buildings, lights, and the trains themselves, you can see the dedication the volunteers have put into each part of this club. For the public to come through during the open house, another volunteer Paul Hillmer, says it gives them a chance to, “Show off what we’ve done.”
Running since the 1950s, their annual open house is Saturday, December 28 from 9 am – 5 pm, it’s a fundraiser for the non-profit to maintain the equipment and the building.