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Early Years 1 - In the Beginning

By Harlan Hiney - Santa Monica, CA

THis is the first of a series of articles submitted by Harlan Hiney on the history of our club, the Southern California Live Steamers, Inc.

Live steam modelers were scattered all over the United States in the late 1920's, most not even aware of each other. The first man to start any sort of organization was Carl Purinton, from Marblehead Mass. He put together a loose leaf book with names of live steamers, including a photo of their locomotive and asked that it be circulated around the country. The "Wandering Locomotive Book" as Carl called it, found its way from Mr. Gunnick, of Wichita Falls, Texas to Ernie Freeman of Los Angeles. In Purinton's letter of November 9, 1933 to Ernie, he states, "I can see no reason why you should not sign up Mr. Jackson and any other responsible live steamer in your vicinity."

A month earlier, Purinton held what was to be the first annual meeting of the Brotherhood of Live Steamers, on October 15, 1933. Mr. Lawrence from England, who first proposed the concept of a Brotherhood of Live Steamers, suggested Purinton start one in the United States.

Very slowly the local Southern California model makers began to get acquainted with one another. My father Laurence Hiney, knew Ernie Freeman, who lived in the Rancho Park area. Dick Jackson who had just moved from Denver to Santa Monica, and Eddie Sargeant who lived in Sanborn Junction near Echo Park.

In July 1941, Lester Friend, President of the New England Live Steamers, paid a visit to Southern California, with the intent of getting the local live steamers to form a club. He met with Dick, Eddie Sargeant, Kyle Testerman, Arthur "Bud" Stump, and C.S. "Stan" Chovil.

In January 1942, the Southern California Live Steamers was formed with 35 charter members. The first meeting was held at Richard B. Jackson's back machine shop in Beverly Hills. The Membership elected Dick Bagley Chairman, Dick Jackson Vice Chairman, Stan Chovil Treasurer, Bud Stump Secretary and Ward Kimble Corresponding Secretary.

To be continued.... 

Chapter 2 Click Here

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About the Author:
Harlan Hiney is the son of SCLS Charter member Laurence Hiney.

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