In March of 1992, DENNIS CARNEY engineered and hosted the first meeting of 32 interested people to establish the NASHVILLE GARDEN RAILWAY SOCIETY. From this nucleus, a modular concept was developed and built and the NGRS began exhibiting at local train meets, various surrounding shopping malls, the annual Cumberland Science Museum’s Whistle Stop Weekend and GATS.
Our monthly meetings (always the 3rd Tuesday) generally cover “how-to” clinics, films/slides of various layouts, discussions on operating procedures, club business and monthly raffle.
In June of 1992, we were given space in Donelson Plaza Shopping Center for a club meeting room and display area. In 1993, we began our tradition of hosting a Christmas Open House on weekends during the holiday season.
In May of 1993, we held our first Garden Railway Home Tours. We shared five outside layouts with interested visitors. By May of 1994, we had seven Garden Railways on tour. By January of 1995, we were hosting over 1,000 people per weekend at our club display. In 1995, we dismantled and moved our entire display to the Mall at Green Hills. This, of course meant that our exhibit had to be greatly revamped.
We have tremendous enthusiasm and craftsmanship in our membership and a great sense of pride in the hobby. We opened our display to the public at the Mall at Green Hills and began receiving donations for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Middle TN. To date, the NGRS has raised over $10,000 in voluntary contributions. We have, on special occasions, opened our display to inner city children, patients at the VA hospital and several senior citizens groups.
As a club, we have taken several train excursions and many members have attended the National Garden Railway conventions. Our club has been visited by Jonathon Meador of LGB of America, PAT & ROSS EVANS have been published in Garden Railways Magazine and our club layout was featured inside and on the cover of the October 1994 edition of Outdoor Railroader. Several of our members have been interviewed on local TV news stations.
NGRS is fortunate to have TWO real life engineers as members. ED DALAND and JACK HORNER have given fascinating talks on their experiences in the “real world” of railroading.
In 1997, we produced nine local Garden Railways to tour and had shown our indoor layout to over 80,000 visitors at the Mall at Green Hills.
Our most recent project involves several members who are engaged in developing a 1 1/2″ railroad on BILL McBROOM’s Mt. Juliet farm. These members own three steam and four diesel locomotives, various “ride on” cars and currently have laid 3500 feet of operational track! Our annual club picnic is held at BILL and SANDRA’s every year and members and invited guests enjoy riding these miniature rails.