Tiny trolleys spruce up downtown Highland

By Mark Reynolds
Posted 9/11/19

A wide assortment of colorful model trolleys has sprung up in the hamlet of Highland. The program, which is run by the Lloyd Historical Preservation Society, highlights the important role that …

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Tiny trolleys spruce up downtown Highland

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A wide assortment of colorful model trolleys has sprung up in the hamlet of Highland. The program, which is run by the Lloyd Historical Preservation Society, highlights the important role that trolleys have played in the history of Lloyd starting in 1903 and lasting until 1925.

In a brochure put out by the historical society, the main trolley line, “ran from the landing at the Hudson River in Highland to the Wallkill River in New Paltz. Another trolley was pulled across the Poughkeepsie Railroad Bridge (now the Walkway Over the Hudson) by a small locomotive and met the train trolley at Pratt’s Mills where passengers could complete or continue their trip. People could make connections to take them to the mountain houses west of New Paltz and to the Wallkill Valley rail line.

Trolleys left New Paltz and Highland every hour for a fifty minute ride that cost a quarter. The line was also used to distribute the mail as well as transport milk and fresh produce.

The bodies of the model trolleys were designed by Jim Fawcett, of Highland, and the mold was produced by Niekamp Tool Company and each trolley was manufactured by USHECO using a vacuum molding of plastic. The two haves of the trolleys were held together by a wooden internal structure that was designed by Philip Whitebay. Premier Auto Body sealed the models and applied a base color of the artist’s choosing. Once the artist finished their work, Premier put on a final protective clear coating.

The trolleys will be auctioned off in November at a place and time to be determined, with the proceeds going to fund the historical society’s work on the Deyo Farm.

Vivian Yess Wadlin, VP of the Historical Society, said in 2018 they had 13 trolley submissions but this year the number jumped to 23. Work on the new trolleys began last spring and they were placed around the hamlet in early August. Wadlin gave special thanks to Premier Auto, Philip Whitebay, Jim Fawcett, Charles Glasner and the entire board of the Historical Preservation Society for their help with this year’s tiny trolley project.

At the start of the project Wadlin sent out numerous emails to artists and several art groups to see if they would like to paint a trolley and solicited different businesses and individuals, in hopes they would be a sponsor.

Wadlin said the project has become a focal point for people visiting the hamlet.

“It highlights the history of the area that we had a trolley that ran on this street and it’s a fundraiser for the historical society, so a lot of our mission is accomplished by doing this,” she said.

Wadlin said other towns have done similar projects; Catskill employed a cat theme and Port Ewen has small ships.

Supervisor Paul Hansut said the trolley program is “great.”

“I really appreciate the effort of the historical society for putting this together,” he said. “We talked about doing this five or six years ago and Charles (Glasner) and Vivian took on the endeavor and this year we have 23 trolleys. It makes the town look good and it brings character, charm and a little of our history to the town. Hopefully this continues growing like everything else we have in town.”

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