My scan of the CNR track map for Port Rowan shows that the railroad ends at Bay Street, and there’s a cluster of buildings around the end of track. I flew over the area using the satellite view of Google Maps and here’s what I found:
The yellow line represents the approximate location of the main track, which ends at Bay Street in Port Rowan. The cluster of buildings that comprised the feed mill are on one side of the track. These structures are all that remains today of the railroad presence in Port Rowan. I have never seen photos of the feed mill as it appeared in the 1950s so I’m pleased that it still stands today. While it has changed over the years – most notably, with the addition of a cluster of metal storage silos – enough remains to give me a good starting point to model it.
Near the top of the photo, I’ve labelled “the garage”. This building appears in a number of prototype photos and I have enough room to model it – so I will.
Across the track to the south, visitors in the 1950s would find the gravel drive leading to the station (now long gone). I’ve labelled it on my aerial view. And south of that is a the back of a house, at an angle to the station road. This is the first house on Chestnut Street, which intersects Bay Street just south of the station driveway. Chestnut Street will be off the back edge of my layout, and since it runs at an angle away from the scene most of the houses will be beyond my modelled slice of Port Rowan. But I have just enough room on the layout for that first house in its wedge-shaped lot. I’ve labelled it (appropriately enough) “the house” on my aerial view, and it will add a nice “non-railroad” structure to the scene.
I’m not overly concerned with building an accurate model of this house – instead, I’ll invest my time and effort on railroad structures. But a suitable kit house would work for me, and I’m pleased to have found one.
A few months ago while prowling around the Walthers web site I discovered a sale on a laser cut kit for the Whitehall House from Branchline Trains*. It’s kit 522 – one of four house styles Branchline offers in S scale. I added it to my shopping cart and set it aside until the mood struck me.
Well, the struck this past week, and after a few evenings of work the house is now essentially finished and ready for the layout. The lead photo shows my model posed under my layout lighting.
I liked the blue used on Branchline’s kit sample, and thought it would add a dash of colour to the scene, so I used an appropriate blue for my model. I built the kit pretty much to instructions, although I substituted real glass (microscope slide covers) in the windows, instead of the kit’s clear plastic glazing. I also added eavestroughs and downspouts. As of this writing I still need to paint the chimney, add a power meter and pole, add curtains, and do some light weathering.
As on the prototype, I’ll add some trees between the house and Bay Street to provide some privacy, and build a suitable, matching garage for the back corner of the lot. There’s even some room for a washing line in the backyard.
The kit is straightforward, although I was underwhelmed by the execution of the roof panels in the kit. With CAD and laser cutters, there’s really no excuse for roof segments that don’t line up.
With that reservation noted, however, I’m pleased with the house and it’s nice to have my first structure ready for Port Rowan.