POTTERSVILLE - A world-class, million-dollar exhibit of model trains complete with lavish layouts is planned for development in Pottersville, and area officials say may have a significant impact on tourism in Northern Warren County.
"Railroads on Parade," a project of the internationally acclaimed set designer Clarke Dunham, is on its way to become a reality in Pottersville, Dunham said.
Well-known as the creator of train exhibits across the country, Dunham is acquiring the former Great Northern Auto Parts outlet in Pottersville, and he plans to set up four major, intricate model train displays that feature detailed, realistic, lighted model cityscapes and automated operation of dozens of trains.
Dunham is the creator of the famed Citicorp train display in New York City as well as extensive model train layouts in Cincinnati, Chicago, Omaha and Williamsburg, Va. that have been viewed by more than 5 million people. The Cincinnati display is a national attraction that exceeds 7,000 square feet.
Steve Parisi, director of the Warrensburgh Museum of Local History, has seen Dunham's displays in Manhattan and Cincinnati. The latter layout is housed in the city's former train station that was restored to its original grandeur.
"Clarke Dunham's work is just brilliant - it portrays the role trolleys and trains played in the cities' development," Parisi said. "This will draw people from across the nation - particularly with train lovers. It will put Pottersville on the map."
Dunham said he will be formally acquiring the Great Northern in January, and the target date for opening the train museum will be July 1. He now has a lease agreement in place for the property.
In a business plan that has spurred considerable investment in his Railroads on Parade enterprise, Dunham said his train exposition will spur development of other cultural projects in downtown Pottersville, which in recent decades experienced the closure of a number of businesses.