In what year and month was the first York train meet held? How many days long was it and was it always held at its current location at the York Fairgrounds? Did the very first meet have retail dealers selling new trains or was it just for TCA members selling used trains?
I am guessing 1960s. I guessed right.
The first York meet was in 1969. The first TCA meet was in 1954 in a barn in Yardley, PA
Thanks, John and Eddie. From the description given on TCA's website it sounds like the earliest shows had chaotic openings. Apparently no reserved tables, etc.
While the young attendees at those first meets would today likely be in their mid to late 60's and 70's, I'd enjoy hearing from them about those early meets. Who was the first manufacturer to have a display there,and did other manufacturers quickly follow their lead? When did the first dealers appear on the scene? Was the meet always twice a year from that first meet in '69 or did twice yearly meets not come to be until later on? What were the years of greatest growth for this o gauge phenomena, etc.? If anyone wants to chime in with more nostalgia and historical info, please do so.
Somehow I thought they were meeting periodically as a small group which led to the legal formation of the organization. Very quickly they added some people from the left coast if I remember correctly.
Anybody know if that was true?
Over the relatively few years I've been going to York (since 2008), I've heard lots of stories from members of my club, friends I've made through this forum, and friends I've made at York itself. These stories just make me want to hear more, and learn more, especially how the meet evolved from one hall to the whole of the fairgrounds. I think it would make for a good book or even a good documentary. Such a book or video would also be an excellent tool to promote the meet and, by extension, the TCA.
All I recall is I wasn't much wanted anywhere at shows as a kid .... I never touched a thing at shows without asking and had my own gloves too
Stopped going to any shows until I was an adult and there was still a thorn in my foot at first.
Plus it became Gramps time to socialize with phone voices, pen pals, and other Shriners. Grandma even stayed home then. We lived in Ohio then and he always used us as a rest stop, or hotel with better food.
Evidently, prior to 1954 previous attempts to organize train collectors were either short lived or ill fated. If you think about it, most communication would have to be by word of mouth, letters, dial up phone calls or formal published advertising to spread the word. Possibly train magazines and hobby store owners might feel threatened by a club etc.
In 1954, Bill Krames (hobby store owner) and Edwin Alexander (RR book author and model builder) got people together in Alexander's barn (just south of York across the Maryland line) to meet on June 19. 20 and discuss an organization effort. The photo I saw had 14 men and one woman at the meeting.
Subsequently, another meeting was held in October and the organization was formed with 27 members. All who joined by the end of the year (68 people) were "founding" members. A group of 6 men in Socal formed a division which was also included in the national club.