For The Vista
Camp Nakanawa, in the Mayland community of Cumberland County, dedicated a new, highly detailed diorama of the camp built over the past year by members of the Crossville Model Railroad Club.
The Club — which has many members from Fairfield Glade — created the large display and it is a very accurate scale model of the camp and includes a track where an HO model of the Tennessee Central Railroad delivers campers to their summer home.
Modelers attempted to make the display as correctly detailed as possible by going so far as to roam the camp grounds measuring buildings to be sure the scale was correct.
The display includes, in addition to the camp buildings, a realistic lake, people and animals. Campers, when viewing the display for the first time, marveled at how the 1/87th scale camp looked so much like where they were currently living.
As part of the dedication ceremony some of the former campers and counsellors from the days when campers were delivered by railroad recounted their experiences.
Casey Fisher, Carol Kleinhoff, Molly Long and Margaret Queen, all of whom were at the Nakanawa in the 1950s, told of the trains that left cities such as Dallas and
Oklahoma City where Pullman cars full of campers (all female) would meet in Memphis where they would overnight at the famous Peabody Hotel.
They would then board a special train to Mayland where the arrival of the train load of campers was always a big event. They would then climb onto trucks and, as they passed the camp gates, being to sing the camp song.
Over the years, as campers would return to the camp season after season, the train trip became a big reunion with the girls moving from car to car to meet old friends, sing and have a good time.
The only bad time on the train was going home when the girls would hug and cry as, in station after station, the girls would resist being torn from their friends as parents hailed them from the platform because, as one said, “When your feet hit the platform, camp was over.”
Directors Ann and Pepe Perron presented a plaque to hang near the display in the library building.
The plaque thanks Jim and Ann Grogitsky who modeled the camp buildings, Sam and Lee Goldkopf who build the operating Tennessee Central Railroad, Vince D’Alessandro for the remarkably realistic Lake Aloaloa and Bill Hurteau for his model of the historic Wigwam building.
Also thanked were Sally Tubb Welch, Lucy Welch and Lilly Welch for their donation to the project in memory of Suzanne (Suzi) Smith Tubb, their mother and grandmother, who rode the train to camp for many summers.
The Crossville Model Railroad Club is located in the Crossville Outlet Center and has 4,500 feet of operating model railroads in all scales. The mall location also contains the Upper Cumberland Railroad Society museum.
Hours are Tuesday through Sunday from noon to 5 PM and Saturday from 10 AM to 5 PM. Admission is free. For more information visit their web site at www.crossvillemodelrrclub.org.