Railroad Museum Group

Railroad StationMeetings

  • 153 Depot Road
    Chatham, MA 02633

Agendas & Minutes

Agendas are available prior to the meetings. Minutes are available following approval.

View Most Recent Agendas and Minutes

Members

  • Bruce Evans, Member
    Term expires: 2021
  • Elizabeth McCarte, Member
    Term expires: 2021
  • Dick Boberg, Member (Advisor)
  • Jim Aaron, Member (Until Work Completed)
  • Donald Aikman, Member (Until Work Completed)
  • John E Gulow, Member (Until Work Completed)
  • Stephen Hart, (Until Work Completed)
  • Ron Kelley, Member (Until Work Completed)
  • Bill Koerner, Member (Until Work Completed)
  • Ryder Martin, Member (Until Work Completed)
  • Robert Shafter, Member (Until Work Completed)
  • Gil Sparks, Member (Until Work Completed)
  • Dean P. Nicastro, Select Board Liaison

Staff Contacts

  • Terry Whalen
    Phone: 508-945-5194

Overview

About

The Chatham Railroad Museum is contained in the beautifully restored 1887 railroad depot that served Chatham residents and visitors for many years. Featuring an architectural style called Railroad Gothic the depot contains hundreds of exhibits and the New York Central model locomotives in use at the 1939 New York World's Fair. The Museum is child-friendly and includes a 1910 restored caboose available for children to explore. Donations are accepted. Handicapped accessible.

Although the museum building is owned by the Town of Chatham, the museum is managed by the Chatham Railroad Museum Group with many members having backgrounds in the American railroad industry. Members are appointed by the Board of Selectmen and act as trustees, coordinating the 50 volunteers who serve as museum docents during the summer season.

History

The Chatham Railroad Museum was founded in 1960 following the donation of the vacant depot building and land to the Town of Chatham by Mr. and Mrs. Jacob Cox. At the suggestion of the Chatham Chamber of Commerce, a railroad museum was established in the building under the leadership of Mr. Frank Love, a retired New York Central Railroad executive. 

Mr Love, who became the museum’s first director, canvassed 62 North American railroad presidents requesting items of interest for the museum. Over its 50 year existence the museum has continued to amass thousands of railroad artifacts including original and operating telegraph equipment , lanterns, badges, signs, tools, timetables, menus and passes, promotional literature, illustrations, original paintings, books and calendars and a restored 1910 wood caboose. 

Exhibits include a wide variety of vintage models including those made by Walthers for the 1939 New York World’s Fair and an HO diorama of the Chatham Railroad Yard. The museum building was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1978 and during 2009 received local and state grants for a total exterior restoration.

The Chatham Railroad Company

Founded in 1886, the Chatham Railroad Company was chartered to build seven miles of track from the Old Colony Railroad Mainline in Harwich to Chatham along with a yard and two stations. The Honorable Marcellus Eldredge who had made a fortune in the brewery business was President of the company. 

The track and stations were completed during 1887, with mail, lumber, grain and coal being shipped in and mail, fish, shellfish and cranberries being shipped out. Four passenger trains a day carried residents and visitors to and from Boston. During 1891, the Chatham Railroad Company served the needs of 22,000 passengers at its two stations with baggage and express service to the hotels and inns springing up in Chatham and South Chatham. 

The Chatham Railroad Company owned no rolling stock but leased its track and stations first to the Old Colony Railroad and then in 1893 to the New York New Haven and Hartford Railroad. Service on the Chatham Railroad ceased in 1937 but the railroad depot in Chatham remained and became the home of the Chatham Railroad Museum in 1960.

Submitting Electronic Correspondence

Please submit correspondence to the Staff Liaison. Please note that all such electronic correspondence is considered a public record. Correspondence containing requests for public records will be responded to by the Staff Liaison in compliance with Massachusetts General Laws (MGL) Chapter 66, Section 10 within 10 days of receipt. All other correspondence and materials submitted will be forwarded by the Staff Liaison to the Board/Committee Chair, with a copy to Members/Commissioners and person sending request/comment, for potential scheduling of discussion on an upcoming public meeting agenda.