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James Valley Model Railroad Association
1 North Main Street
Aberdeen, South Dakota 57401

Our History in Aberdeen

The James Valley Model Railroad Association was formed on November 3, 1987 when a group of twenty-two model railroad buffs met in the Northwest Public Service meeting room.

The Association charter was adapted and signed by twenty-two members on February 15, 1988. Ten of these original members are still active in the association today.

The purpose of the association is to increase the knowledge of the fundamental principles and techniques of model railroading, to increase the interest in model railroading in the community and surrounding areas and, to introduce the youth of Aberdeen and the surrounding communities to the history of railroads and promote the enjoyment of model railroading.

In April 1988 it was decided to build a modular type model railroad that can be set up anywhere, quick and easy for the public's enjoyment. In the summer of 1988 the modular layout was built and tested and by October it was up and running. The first public running of the layout was at the Super City mall for Christmas.

The first open house was held in February 1989 at the ARCC. Our first Model Train show and Swap Meet was held in April 1989 at the Aberdeen Inn Conference Center. Over 500 people attended the show. In November 1989 the layout was set up at Santa Land and again at the Super City mall in December.

The second annual Train Show and Swap Meet was held in April with over 550 people in attendance. In August of 1990 parts of the layout were displayed at the Brown County Fair. We held our first clinic for interested people in January 1991 at the ARCC. A complete layout was built and then given to one of the participants.

The Third Annual Train Show and Swap Meet was held in April 1991 at the National Guard armory.

Between 1991 and 1993 we participated in a number of train shows and exhibits around Aberdeen including Santa Land, Santa Train and Lakewood mall. The first annual summer picnic was held at Wylie park in July 1991. In March of 1993 the layout traveled to Huron for a three day exhibit at the Huron Mall.

In September 1993 we into a perment home located in the old Milwaukee Road depot. We started immediately to plan the club layout which expanded to five rooms. It was decided to model the city of Aberdeen in the 1920's. Members were building the buildings as they looked in the 1920's with the monitory help of many business sponsors. Many school children from the Aberdeen area and many visitors visited our layout. We had to dismantle this layout due to the fact that asbestos was found in the area we were located.

We then move into to the old lobby on the main floor. We started working on a 35 foot by 25 foot U shaped layout. There are three main tracks all powered by DCC controls. With a number of members that model "O" Scale (Lionel type) as members, our club has decided to build a "O" scale layout which will be 4' X 15' when completed. This layout will be part of the permanent layout configuration with the HO layout. We unforcantlly had to tear this layout down because the depot change ownership.

We have now moved again. The investment group that now owns the depot has remodeled the building. The Milwaukee Road depot now houses several differant groups. We have been allow us to put our layout in the basement of the depot. We have now set up the moduler HO layout in a permanet form. We now also have a N scale and O scale layout.

Through the years our membership has remained about the same. We have four types of membership available.
(1) A regular membership costs $30.00 per year and entitles the member to all activities offered by the association.
(2) The Associate member pays $15.00 per year and can participate in limited association activities.
(3) A Family membership costs $40.00 per year and entitles all family members full association privileges,
(4) The Teen membership is available to all teens 18 and under for $20.00 per year. They also have regular member status.

Our members come from all parts of the United States. If you are interested in joining our association, please contact a club member. We have work and/or running sessions most Tuesday nights and Saturday mornings. All members receive our monthly newsletter and can take part in club activities including meetings, work and running sessions.

Other activities are part of our association's membership. Some of our members are engineers for the new Storybook Land Express at Wylie Park in Aberdeen. This railroad runs around a mile long track through the park and zoo and can carry up to 90 passengers. We have taken part in the Santa Train events. We would either set up the "G" gauge or Lionel "O" gauge portable layouts.