By William A. Greene 2012


(NOTE: Comments and article was published in 2012; some information may have new references as you read today...)

(About the photo: County Historian, Craig Braack, has furnished the photo from his many files discovered as he is moving to new location.  The location is unknown, but, the story presented by William A. Greene is fact....rt)

Update, Viewer Comment: "The picture of the train was taken in Angelica.  I believe it was during Heritage Days.  Art and Darlene Bullock Hecker were married that weekend and had their picture taken riding the train after they came out of the church.   That is Park Circle Bed and Breakfast in the background.  Bob D."


          The year was 1974, it was Andover’s 150th birthday and plans were being put into place in January. Events were held every week to raise money to sponsor this great celebration.

          Different churches, businesses and organizations put on car washes, dinners, raffles, auctions, dances, bake sales and anything they could think of to make money for this glorious event.

          Among those organizations were the Hustlers and the Hustler’s Bells, chapters of the Brothers of the Brush and Belles. The ladies were; Sharon Thorp, Sharon Cole, Cindy Baker, Dorotha Thorp, Susan Roeske, Sheila Greene, Diana Burton, Rita Roeske, Colleen Thorp, Noreen Manley, Carolyn Dannheim, Norma Drake, Robin Hulse, Sandy Harris and Sharon Green. The men were; Glenn Thorp, Bill Cole, Bob Baker, Don Thorp Sr., Steve Roeske, Bill Greene, Steve Burton, David Thorp, Art Roeske, George Givens, Norman Alvord, Al Green Floyd Drake, Ronnie Smith, Gary Hulse and David Harris.

          We put on many events to help with the celebration. We purchased a float from Canisteo which they had from their 1973 celebration. We did a little remodeling and entered it into the Andover 1974 July 4th parade. We took first place in the “Theme” category.

          For the big centennial parade, which was held on August 17th, 1974, we came up with the idea of making a train, to honor Erie Railroad, which was a very large part in the growing of Allegany County in the 1850’s.

          We purchased a 1964 Chevy station wagon. We cut the body off and extended the brake pedal, gas pedal and steering column to the where the back seat used to be and then proceeded to fabricate a locomotive engine on the old Chevy frame.

          When done with that, we built a caboose. So now we had an engine, passenger car and a caboose. This, when all put together, made us a train.

          To keep this all secret from everyone else, we built the units in different locations. The engine we built at Bill and Sharon Cole’s house way out in his back yard, where no one could see it. The caboose was built on Shovel Hollow behind Steve and Susan Reoske’s trailer.

          On evening of August 16th, all of the pieces of the train were taken to Bill and Sharon Cole’s and assembled to ready for the big parade to be held the next day.

          On August 17th, we hooked everything together and headed to our starting spot, in front of the Baptist Church, where it judged.

          The parade lasted over three hours and had over 300 units. When it was all said and done, our train won the First Place Trophy for “Originality.”

          The story doesn’t end here. The train wasn’t put to bed at the end of the centennial; it was taken to Cohocton for a few years for the Cohocton Fall Foliage Festival. It was also taken to Angelica for their Angelica Heritage Days and to Wellsville for the annual Dresser – Rand Picnic.

          By the end of the 1970’s, interest was lost and the old train finally was put to pasture. After years of neglect it finally rotted away into history.

          The best part of the old train was all of the money it made and the smiles that it put on people’s faces.

          All of the money made during the centennial went to help pay for everything. What was left over, about $20,000, went to help pay for the “new medical center.” Not only did it benefit Andover, but all of our surrounding neighbors.

          The money made after the centennial till we disbanded, was used to purchase children’s books for the Andover Central School in memory of Donald Thorp Sr.