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Somers Celebrates The Toy Train Tradition

Somers native Joe Schiavone has curated a Lionel train exhibit at the Somers Historical Society Museum.
Somers native Joe Schiavone has curated a Lionel train exhibit at the Somers Historical Society Museum. Photo Credit: Somers Historical Society

SOMERS, N.Y. – The Somers Historical Society’s exhibition of a half-century of Lionel trains will kick off the annual holiday festivities and will be open for viewing throughout the month of December.

The display’s guest curator, Somers native Joe Schiavone, is the author of “The Old Put,” and “The Old Put, volume II,” illustrated histories of the defunct Putnam Railroad. He lectures frequently on the subject of trains and has contributed a number of items to the exhibit.

Much of the exhibition’s train memorabilia comes from the collection of the late Hugh Grant Rowell, a long-time benefactor of the Somers Historical Society.

Together with associates Alice Runyon and John D. Rockefeller Jr., Rowell established Sleepy Hollow Restorations, Inc., and served as its full-time director for 12 years. The organization is now known as “Historic Hudson Valley” and supports landmarks such as Kykuit, Sunnyside, Philipsburg Manor and Van Cortlandt Manor.

For an amusing comparison, the Rowell and Schiavone historical items are augmented by a set of 2000 Lionel trains, loaned to the society by 8-year-old Steven Savva.

“A Lionel Christmas” will debut Sunday at the Somers Historical Society. It will be open to the public from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. Schiavone will be there for the unveiling and to autograph books. Jo Pitkin, author of “Cradle of the American Circus: Poems from Somers, New York,” also will  be there to autograph her book.

“A Lionel Christmas” will be open for viewing from 2 to 4:30 p.m. every Thursday through December, as well as by appointment. For information, call (914) 277-4977 or email somershistoricalsoc@yahoo.com.

The Somers Historical Society is on the third floor of the Elephant Hotel, at the intersection of routes 202 and 100, in Somers.

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