Museum 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.