History

Chatham Railroad MuseumHISTORY

The Chatham Railroad Museum was founded in 1960, following the donation of the vacant depot building and land to the Town of Chatham by Mr. and Mrs. Jacob Cox of Cleveland, Ohio and Chatham, MA. At the suggestion of the Chatham Chamber of Commerce, a railroad museum was created in the building under the leadership of Mr. Frank Love, a retired New York Central Railroad executive. Mr Love, who became the museum’s first director, canvassed sixty-two American railroad presidents requesting items of interest for the museum. Over its fifty year existence the museum has continued to collect thousands of railroad artifacts including original and operating Western Union telegraph equipment, lanterns, badges, signs, tools, timetables, menus and passes, promotional literature, original paintings and prints, calendars, a six hundred volume library and a restored 1910 wood sided caboose. Exhibits include a wide variety of vintage models including those made by Walthers under contract to the New York Central Railroad for use at the 1939 New York World’s Fair and later operated at Grand Central Terminal in NYC. Additional exhibits include an HO diorama of the Chatham Yard, surveyors equipment used to build the Chatham Railroad and brass locomotive bells. The museum building was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1978 and received local and state grants during 2009 for a total exterior restoration.