JAY – A former millworker and lifelong resident of Jay and Livermore Falls recently donated a 10-car, handmade model train to the Western Maine Paper and Heritage Museum.

Ralph Smith, 91, grew up on Depot Street in Livermore Falls, where he watched the train go by everyday. As a boy, he developed a love of trains that stayed with him through adulthood, when he began constructing his own model train.

Smith, who now lives in Jay, began the Carpet Tack Line in the 1940s. It is made out of wood scraps from the Otis Mill, where Smith worked, and spare parts from the garage of Chick Chappelle, a local mechanic at the time.

Smith built an engine, a caboose, eight cars, a full track for the train and an entire model village, which he named “Hollywood.”

Recently, Smith donated the entire train to the museum, which is headed by Smith’s niece, Sherry Judd. The museum is working to preserve the heritage of the paper industry in the area. The model train – made mostly from mill scraps and by one of the area’s mill employees – is part of that history, said Judd.

The museum does not have a building in which to store its growing collection, and the group is raising funds to buy a facility. In the meantime, the group has displayed some of its memorabilia at Otis Federal Credit Union.

Smith’s engine, caboose and three cars can also be seen at the credit union, where it will be on display until Christmas.

The public can view the train and visit the museum headquarters at Otis FCU. Phone 897-3929 for more information or visit www.papermuseumofmaine.org.

Founded in 2002, The Western Maine Paper and Heritage Museum is a nonprofit organization that seeks to document and preserve the history of the paper industry and the men and women who worked in the industry through a collection of photographs, documents and related memorabilia. The museum is the first of its kind in Maine and the second in the United States.

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