Local railroad scenes featured in calendar
Peter Miller Greenfield's Connecticut River RR Depot, circa 1890. This was the second passenger station in Greenfield, and was located on the site of the present John W. Olver Transportation Center on Olive Street. Note the gas lamp at upper left, and the shack for the crossing guard behind the man in the foreground. Purchase photo reprints »
GREENFIELD — Photographs of Greenfield’s Connecticut River Railroad Depot taken sometime around 1890, a caboose in the East Deerfield rail yard taken around 1910 and the Conway electric street railway sometime around 1912 are part of the content of the sixth annual “2013 Historic Railroad Scenes” calendar of Franklin County.
Local historian and Greenfield resident Peter Miller created the calendar with Alden Dreyer of Shelburne, who researched local railroad history, and David Allen, who produced the calendar.
“I provided the photography,” said Miller. He said some of the photographs came from his collection, while others were borrowed and scanned.
Miller, who says he has a collection of about 1,000 railroad-related photographs, said Allen had been “after me for a while to do something with the photos,” so after a lot of back and forth, they decided to create a calendar and share the photographs and their history with others.
“We’ve used pictures of trains, engines, railroad stations, and people — we love running pictures of people and crews,” he said.
Miller said he is always on the lookout for the next photograph, which might end up featured in one of the months in the calendar.
“The railroad is an important part of Franklin County history,” said Miller. “There used to be three railroad stations in Greenfield alone.”
Miller said he became obsessed with the railroad after he learned his great-grandfather and his grandfather were both railroad people.
“One was an engineer and one a conductor,” he said. “People in my family worked on the railroad for more than 90 years.”
Miller said he, Allen and Dreyer didn’t want the calendar to be “just a calendar with photographs.”
Instead, he said they wanted it to have an artistic feel and wanted people who purchased it to learn something they didn’t know.
“I think we’ve achieved that,” said Miller. “This is a collector’s item ... not to be thrown away. We want people to look at the pictures more than once.”
And by its very nature, a calendar will expose people to the same photograph at least 30 to 31 times most months, he said.
Miller said all of the photographs the men used are connected to the railroad’s steam era.
“Very rarely do we use a diesel,” he said.
Miller said his favorite photographs include train crews and this year there are several.
“It’s a fascinating history,” said Miller.