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 Post subject: Greenfield Village "Old Car Festival"
PostPosted: Thu Sep 13, 2018 2:05 pm 

Joined: Wed Jan 20, 2016 1:15 pm
Posts: 217
Just got back from my second trip to the Greenfield Village Old Car Festival. This is simply one of the best historical events in the country. Not only should all railfans and history buffs attend at least once just to enjoy it, but I think many historical societies should attend and take notes on how to present events.

From the train side, the Greenfield Village ran their two 4-4-0's for the event (Edison #1 and Detroit Lima & Northern #7). Throughout the day, trains would stop to take on water from the water tower, and once a day take on coal from the coal tower. The #7 started the morning, which meant you could watch the #1 on the turntable before it was couple to it's train, and likewise in the evening you could watch the #7 be put into the roundhouse for the evenings maintenance as the #1 continued operating until closing.

Old cars from 1900's to 1930's were on display and operating throughout the village including several "Depot Hacks," Taxis, and even a 1929 Model A Railway Express Agency Truck. So many cars are operating throughout the village that vintage police men direct traffic with whistles at the intersections.

Traditional music is also part of the event, Ragtime Piano Players rotated throughout the day, and silent movies with live piano were performed in the town hall. And when evening came, a live ragtime orchestra played as people danced to the traditional music before a fireworks show ended the evening.

The place was packed on Saturday, with many guests attending in Ragtime era clothing. Sunday was pretty quiet due to the cold and rainy weather. For me, that just made the steam trains look all the better and while it did rain, it was always a very light rain.

For so many reasons this is the type of event that we need to be looking at... it doesn't contradict the historic nature, rather it adds to it and brings people who like similar things (ragtime music, old bicycles, old fire engines etc.) out to our events. So much can be learned from this event.


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 Post subject: Re: Greenfield Village "Old Car Festival"
PostPosted: Mon Sep 24, 2018 12:11 pm 

Joined: Wed Jul 28, 2010 12:45 pm
Posts: 133
Sounds like a great event many groups can learn from. If this was a Disney park, one might call this good "theming". Regardless of what anyone says, there is a strong interest in history if someone takes the time to present it in an entertaining way.


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 Post subject: Re: Greenfield Village "Old Car Festival"
PostPosted: Mon Sep 24, 2018 12:58 pm 

Joined: Wed Jan 20, 2016 1:15 pm
Posts: 217
derail wrote:
Sounds like a great event many groups can learn from. If this was a Disney park, one might call this good "theming". Regardless of what anyone says, there is a strong interest in history if someone takes the time to present it in an entertaining way.


As a fellow Disney park enthusiast... YES. Very good theming. As a side note... Greenfield Village very much inspired Disneyland... Walt made multiple trips to Greenfield Village before building Disneyland, including one with future imagineer and fellow train enthusiast Ward Kimball.

I will repeat your quote in bold "Regardless of what anyone says, there is a strong interest in history if someone takes the time to present it in an entertaining way." YES. It also needs to be presented in a classy way that does not contradict itself. Everything at this event added to the historical nature of the event. Nothing took away from it.


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 Post subject: Re: Greenfield Village "Old Car Festival"
PostPosted: Sat Sep 29, 2018 1:21 pm 

Joined: Sat Sep 29, 2018 8:08 am
Posts: 5
This had me thinking about something : won't our grandchildren or grand-grandchildren look at cars (as in, the ones with 4 rubber wheels that drive on asphalt roads, not the train cars that are pulled by a locomotive) the same way we look at old school train cars and coal engines? I just had the idea flash through my head because I'm switching between this forum and this article : https://tranio.com/articles/how-self-driving-cars-will-change-the-property-market_5386/

Basically, it says that most markets have acknowledged that self driving cars will become the standard within 25 years and that it will change pretty much everything, travelling, buying houses... This means that for people who will grow up and become adults at that time, thinking about "manually driven" cars will have the comfortable, old-school nice ring that we associate to old diesel locomotives, propeller planes and phone booths.

It doesn't help when you're already feeling like you're slowly becoming old!


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 Post subject: Re: Greenfield Village "Old Car Festival"
PostPosted: Mon Oct 01, 2018 1:48 pm 

Joined: Wed Jan 20, 2016 1:15 pm
Posts: 217
Good Point...

One of the books that I read about Greenfield Village talks about how Henry Ford never wanted automobiles in the village, that he wanted to show what life was BEFORE the automobile changed it. As the years have gone on, the early days of the Model T are now, themselves, such a unique part of history that they have been added in to the village.

To me, Greenfield Village is such a perfect way of preserving an era where Model T's, Horse Drawn Carriages, and Steam Trains were the everyday way of life. I wish more railroad museums could create such an atmosphere. Illinois Railway Museum seems to get it with the trolleys, trolley busses, and now the new Main Street Project.


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