SOUTH PARIS – The McLaughlin Foundation will celebrate Maine railroad history, model railroading and garden railways in its fifth annual Trees and Trains Holiday Exhibit from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Dec. 9 through 12 at 97 Main St.

Engineers of all ages will see Lionel, G and HO scale model trains running throughout the McLaughlin house and ell on table tops and beneath decorated trees.

In the barn, visitors will find an extensive garden railway exhibit set in a landscape of dwarf and full-size conifers. SAD 17 students and community volunteers have built scale models of 14 western Maine train stations, bridges, shanties and water towers.

Illuminated from within, the models are finished with found natural materials: birch bark, moss, acorns, pine cones and sumac.

Buckfield, Harrison, Hebron, Oxford, Norway, South Paris, Mechanic Falls, West Minot and West Paris stations are included, along with the Waterford Lake House (stage stop), bridges in Mechanic Falls and Oxford, and the Norway Trolley House.

An exhibit prepared by SAD 17 students tells the history of each station and the Bridgton/Saco, Grand Truck and Maine Central railroads. On display is a botanical key to all the materials, trees and shrubs included in the exhibit.

This year’s exhibit will include two large rail loops and one trolley line. Members of the Maine Garden Railway Society will help to set up the exhibit.

Hot coffee, tea, cocoa and cookies will be available in the ticket office. Tickets are $3 donation, $1 for kids under 12. Patrons can park along Western Avenue and enter through the side porch. Call ahead if needing wheelchair assistance. Pre-registration is required for school groups.


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