Steamboats & Railroads oh my!
Calvert to speak at Train Festival
Oldham Co. Historical Society
James Calvert is a living treasure trove of historical
information collected with love and devotion and communicated with energy,
grace, wit and charm. Calvert has pursued his interests in the history
of streetcars, steamboats, the railroads, the Interurban, and theater
and church organs throughout his life. Not only has he accumulated vast
amounts of information, he has organized that information to make it
accessible, understandable and
interesting to others.
by Laraine Staples
Calvert will present
two slide-illustrated programs
at the Oldham County History
Center: "The History of the L&N
Railroad" on Oct. 7, and "The
Interuban" on Oct. 21. Both
programs are at 7 p.m.
In addition to historical nformation, he also shares his
extraordinary skills as a craftsman. He has produced a working layout
at his home, showcasing his large collection of model trains in several
different scales. He also made the beautiful working model of the Interurban
car and overhead wiring apparatus on exhibit in the museum of the Oldham
County History Center in La Grange. This truly was a labor of love;
Calvert spent hundreds and hundreds of hours building the car for the
exhibit and donated his considerable time, talent and expertise to ensure
an authentic working model. Calvert, a Louisville native now a resident
of Crestwood in Oldham County,
cannot remember a time in his life when he was not interested in trains,
and especially in streetcars. Growing up in South Louisville, he learned
to identify the different streetcars from their sound alone. "When
I was playing in the backyard", he told me, "I would hear
a car pass the house in front and I would know whether or not it was
the No. 28" - an incredible feat for an adult, much less a child.
Calvert and his wife, Jan, moved to Oldham County in 1979; Mrs. Calvert
was then an elementary school teacher. She is now a librarian at the
Mahan Library of the Oldham County Public Library and the organist at
North Oldham Baptist Church.
Jim is a member of the Illinois Railway Museum and is certified to run
the full-sized Car #1374 around the streetcar loop at that museum in
Union, Illinois (about 30 miles east of Rockford). He is an avid collector
of model and toy trains and railroad memorabilia. He is also a fount
of knowledge about steamboats, theater and church organs and the history
of downtown Louisville - information which he will share with History
Center audiences on
In addition to his work at the Oldham County History Center, Jim is
a volunteer at the Filson Club, the University of Louisville Special
Collections (working in the photo archives) and the Howard Steamboat
Museum and Collection. He is also a docent for the Cathedral Heritage
Around the turn of the century, the President of the Natural Science
Association of Staten Island, New York was asked how the organization
was able to continue to do its excellent work. His answer was simple:
"This Association is the real thing" he said. "It has
done serious work of quality...and everything has been done for the
love of it."
We are extremely fortunate to have Jim Calvert here in Oldham County.
He always does serious work of quality for the love of it, and he shares
that work - and that enthusiasm - readily and generously.
James Calvert will present two slide-illustrated programs
at the Oldham County History Center on October 7 on "The History
of the L&N Railroad" and October 21 on "The Interurban".
Both programs are at 7 p.m.
Back to October 1999