Delaware Valley Shipbuilding

Center of American  Shipbuilding, Civil War to WWI

Thursday, June 30th, 2022 2 p.m.

West Deptford Free Public Library

Join us at the West Deptford Free Public Library for a lecture presented by Peter Walzer. 

Mr. Walzer holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Marine Engineering from the Massachusetts Maritime Academy. Mr. Walzer was a docent at the Camden Shipyard and Maritime Museum.  

Mr. Walzer also worked as a Licensed Operating Shipping Engineer. This event will follow social distance seating. Masks are optional. 

To register, call the library at: 856-845-5593

West Deptford Free Public Library 
420 Crown Point Road
West Deptford, NJ 0808

Business Hours
Monday — Thursday 
10:00 AM — 7:00 PM 
10:00 AM — 5:00 PM 
10:00 AM — 1:00 PM 

Pennsylvania Railroad Technical & Historical Society

Chapter Meeting – June 25, 2022 @1:00PM

The Philadelphia Chapter will be holding the June 25, 2022 meeting in-person at Drexel Hill United Methodist Church (600 Burmont Road / Drexel Hill, PA 19026). The meeting will be simulcast on the Zoom meeting service.

Business Meeting 1-2PM
Film Presentation 2PM

The film is the 1957 production TRAINS TRACKS AND SAFETY FACTS, made by the Pennsylvania Railroad for school age children warning them about the dangers of railroad trespassing. This film, acquired from Walt Berko who may have shown it years back. This will be the actual 16mm presentation. Runs 25 minutes. Scenes were filmed on the Middle Division near Duncannon, Paoli. Conway Yard and Washington’s Crossing on the Bel-Del. Some really fantastic views.

PRR photography of the late Allen H. Roberts. Views include Sunnyside Yard, New York Penn Station, North Bergen, NJ, Meadows Yard, PRR Middle Division, and PRR trains that went to Maybrook via the Bell-Del and L&HR. When PC took over the NH, PRR power began to appear on New Haven rails.

To attend the meeting and watch the film, sign up to receive notifications from the PRRT&HS. A Zoom link to the event will be mailed the day before the program on the 25th. Those who sign on will continue to receive notifications on future programs.

Railroads on Parade

The Oliver Evans Chapter presents
A virtual Zoom presentation by Joel Spivak, OE Acting President
Wednesday, June 29, 2022  7 pm

Joel Spivak’s Power point presentation brings together two of his favorite subjects, Railroads and Worlds Fairs and Expositions. See how the railroad was presented to the public at the 1851 “Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of All Nations” London, and at the spectacular exhibit “Railroads on Parade” at the 1939 World’s Fair, New York. 

Below is the link for the meeting.

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Passcode: 110518
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Roebling Museum Roadtrip Virtual Lecture

How did Roebling help build the New York State Pavilion?

June 16, 2022 at 6pm

Did you know that the iconic NY State Pavilion at the NY World’s Fair was made using Roebling Wire Rope?

Salmaan Khan and Aaron Asis of People for the Pavilion will be joined by Justin Rivers of Untapped Cities to present on the past, present, and future of the Philip Johnson designed New York State Pavilion in Flushing Meadows Corona Park.

Cost: Pay what you wish, Register at this link:

OE Railroad Prototype Modelers

Two of our Oliver Evans chapter members attended the modelers convention at Malvern, March 24 to 27, 2022. Here are their thoughts on their attendance at the meeting and their involvement with railroad modeling.

The Railroad Prototype Modelers (“RPM”) Valley Forge is a biennial gathering of model railroaders concerned with accurately depicting railroad equipment, structures, and scenes in scale models. For many years it has been held in the spring of even numbered years at the Desmond in Malvern, alternating with another biennial gathering in odd numbered years in the Pittsburgh area. The name “prototype modelers” uses a term born in the model railroad press early in the days of commercial model railroading: “prototype,” referring in this case to the real thing, actual railroads and their components. Therefore, modeling to the prototype means as accurately as possible portraying actual existing or historic railroads. The gathering at Malvern, and other similar gatherings around the country, have displays of models in multiple scales, “clinics,” or presentations by skilled modelers about their techniques of researching and/or constructing highly accurate models of specific prototypes, and vendor tables selling items appealing to this subset of the wide-ranging model railroad hobby.

The 2022 gathering was dedicated to past RPM Valley Forge leader and OESIA member the late DIck Foley of Philadelphia. The web site of the gathering includes a tribute to Dick as well as a list of the clinics and many photographs of this year’s and previous years’ model displays. You may visit the website at
Larry DeYoung, OESIA and RPM Valley Forge Clinician

Railroads are an industry too.
As members of the Society for Industrial Archaeology all of us share an interest in a variety of industries. Recent perusal of the Society’s journal covers a broad spectrum of interests, from bridges to grist mills and lots of interesting items in between including gold mining. What I have noticed is that very seldom do railroads seem to be featured. I am not sure why, but I would like to say a few words on their behalf. 

Interest in railroads comes from two sources. One is the strictly academic perspective that is probably studied under the broader heading of transportation industry. The other source is from modeling trains. When most people think of model trains it is often the nostalgic image of trains running in a circle under the Christmas tree. While this may have been true in the 1940’s and 50’s, the hobby has changed significantly since that time. Probably the most significant change in the hobby has been its demographics. While 50 years ago it was considered a hobby for kids, now most of the participants are middle aged or older, in fact younger people are definitely in the minority. With that change in demographics there has also been a change in the goals of the hobby.

Most of the change took place in the late 1990’s with what I would call the “prototype modeling” movement. Prior to that, model railroading tended to be more fanciful, with imaginary railroads that bore only a slight resemblance to the real thing. Probably with the change in demographics and the feeling that older people should not just being playing with toys, model railroaders became a lot more serious about what they were modeling. By the 1990’s a number of small companies began manufacturing railroad freight cars that were highly detailed and accurately matched a very specific prototype. The availability of these models spawned what is know as “Railroad Prototype Modelers” meetings (RPM for short). In the beginning there were only two but enthusiasm for these meetings quickly spread so that probably there are a few dozen of these meetings spread across the country each year. 

While modeling is the end game, the information or history behind the model is of equal importance. Typically at an RPM at least half the talks are about specific freight cars. When and why was a certain car built, how long did the railroad keep them in service, and what ultimately led to their demise. Often there is no mention of a model, although certainly if you wanted to create a model all the information was there. Not surprisingly after a few years the meetings started to encompass more than just freight cars. Detailed studies of how specific railroads operated and why they did certain things became part of the meeting. This also generated any number of special interest groups, NY harbor railroad-marine operations, or steel mill railroads that adds an interesting mix to the talks. While most of the participants in these meetings are modelers, most of the emphasis is on history.

Clearly there is a significant part of the community that would like to preserve this disappearing railroad history. Realistically there are only so many railroad cars that can be saved, restored and found a home for. On the other hand modeling provides an alternative way to preserve this history just in a much smaller scale.
Ron Hoess, OESIA and RPM Valley Forge Clinician

This layout tour at the RPM feature’s Ron’s modeling.

Ron presented his model at the OE Chapter meeting on Tuesday, January 11, 2022. The video is available on the OE YouTube channel if you wish to view it. Homage to Workshop of the World.

AECOM’s I-95 Archaeology Center Tour

Saturday, April 9, 2022, 18 OE Chapter members visited the center and were treated to a thorough presentation on work at the lab and on material recovered from the excavations along I-95.  There are a number of exhibit cases displaying artifacts representing previous houses and factories in the area.
Prominently featured were pieces from the Dyott Glass Works. The glassblowers often created fanciful pieces on their off hours.
Other cases displayed household items recovered from backyard privies behind houses once located in the neighborhoods along the highway.
Wooden remnants of a canal were found when excavations proceeded up Aramingo Avenue.

The Penn Treaty Museum is housed in the same building as the AECOM lab. So our members were treated to a tour of the museum that features artifacts and images presenting the history of the treaty between William Penn and the elders of the Lenape.

Today, the museum has evolved from a website to a bricks and mortar facility with collection of Treaty related artifacts on display, a volunteer staff and projects to ensure that the story of the original stewards of the land and William Penn endures.


Wednesday, May 25, 2022, 7:00 – 8:00 pm E.S.T.

Join us to ride the rails (via webinar) and learn about the East Broad Top Railroad (Rockhill Furnace, Huntingdon County). Once called “the dormant gem of railway preservation,” the EBT RR is a rare narrow-gauge railway and time capsule of industrial technology.

After many years of inactivity, the East Broad Top Railroad has been purchased by a new 501(c)(3) nonprofit foundation. The EBT Foundation is working with the volunteers of the Friends of the East Broad Top and the Rockhill Trolley Museum to return its Baldwin-built steam locomotives to operating condition and to continue stabilizing the railroad’s historic buildings.

Free, via Zoom. Pay-what-you-wish/Donations welcome

Here is a link for further information and to register for the program.

A River Runs Through It

A Webinar Behind-the-Scenes Tour of the Fairmount Water Works

Thursday, May 12, 2022
12:00pm – 1:00pm

The Fairmount Water Works are one of Philadelphia’s most iconic sites, yet the least understood by locals. It’s even harder for out of towners to comprehend its significance when you tell them “you MUST visit our old municipal water processing facility. “ Yet an exploration of the space reveals a landmark that is a masterful marriage of classical form and innovative function. In its heyday, Fairmount water works certainly wasn’t a mystery to the average Philadelphian… or American for that matter. In the mid-19th century, it was a world famous tourist attraction— the most visited man-made attraction in America (only surpassed in numbers by a more natural “water feature”at Niagara Falls). Upon his visit in 1842, Charles Dickens called it “a place wondrous to behold.”

Join Water Works Executive Director Karen Young and education staff on a below-ground, behind-the-scenes tour to see the inner workings of the waterworks. We’ll also see the more modern amenities of the Interpretive Center, which includes classrooms and a fish laboratory.

We’ll also take a sneak peek at the recently opened multi-disciplinary art exhibition called
“POOL: A Social History of Segregation”, set in the former Kelly Natatorium in the lower level of the Water Works. The exhibition is an artistic and scholarly investigation into the role of public pools in America, with the goal of deepening the understanding and the connection between water, social justice and public health.

We’ll meet some of the artists and designers behind this ambitious exhibition.

Designed in 1812 by Frederick Graff and built between 1812 and 1872, it operated until 1909, winning praise for its design and becoming a popular tourist attraction. It was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1976 for its architecture and its engineering innovations.

It now houses an interpretive center that explains the waterworks’ purpose and watershed history, managed by the Phila. Water Dept.

Here is the link to register for this event:

Northeast Philadelphia History Fair

Presented by the Friends of Northeast Philadelphia History

Saturday, April 30, 2022
10:00am to 3:00pm

Free admission, All are Welcome 

There will be over thirty presenters – local historical societies, historical organizations, museums, authors, and others – offering displays and a wide range of historical books, photos, maps, prints, and memorabilia.

And there will be two presentations:
11:00 AM –  Louis M. Iatarola & Amarynth Ruch of the Historical Society of Tacony will present “Disston Saw Works, Past & Present”

1:00 PM – John H. Hepp IV, Ph.D., Professor of History, Wilkes University, “You Can’t Get to Heaven on the Frankford El: A Centennial History of the Frankford Elevated” (in honor of the 100th anniversary of the opening of the Frankford El in 1922).

The Oliver Evans Chapter will be hosting a table presenting information on our group and its activities. Press Manager Tom Brady will be offering our publications for sale.

Located at:
Cannstatter Volkfest Verein
9130 Academy Road, Philadelphia, PA 19114
(near the intersection of Frankford Avenue and Academy Road)

Wayne Junction Walking Tour

The Preservation Alliance For Greater Philadelphia

A Special Architecture Walking Tour

The Wayne Junction Historic District, bordering lower Germantown and upper Nicetown, was once a bustling Philadelphia industrial center known as “Workshop of the World.” In the later decades of the 1900s, Wayne Junction experienced disinvestment and decline as manufacturing moved elsewhere, leaving many of the buildings vacant and deteriorated. Join real estate developer and Preservation Alliance board member Ken Weinstein for a tour of the historic Wayne Junction area to get a closer look at his redevelopment projects while experiencing Philadelphia’s historical importance in the 19th and 20th centuries, and the hope and potential for Wayne Junction’s future.

The cost for the tour is $20 for Preservation Alliance members and $25 for non-members. 

Here is the link for more information and to register for the tour: _kmKutYKnOPjGzaRZua1Ux1mqgLmq0KgTjeYcywk1p99HsUQ4A1ar50kfWnOPc4KpJfHGvyWWByR1hvV-RRl6OJ7Dd5vY-flXqtGc2m_xrK0QEaqbm5_9yDPtIExqNen-kEmNnoScJqFbHSRFol4cJyy31joecDuFyL5A6hma5dZCsq0z&c=6_akYkifmEgw6dijcc1NyMQD3gPDvHFK4hrLmpJt0ogaToyM7Ur79Q==&ch=-0dLiAnomGKl_YT_0m7GRDzIGZ560tpSadT7dgTOAF_dhALD76-UQw==