Division 3

History of Mid Central Region’s Division #3

(The First Four Years)

LE Payne LE Payne

By Lone Eagle Payne
1908 - 2007


The plight of the HO railroaders of Dayton, Ohio after losing their operating space at the Dayton Art Institute, and becoming individual and separated operators was thought to be a matter of necessity by the then Mid Central Region (MCR) President, Lone Eagle Payne. Having seen Division 1 in action, it was deemed that possibly this type of operation (family picnics and swims in the summer, special family night during the winter, monthly model contests for the members, prototype and/or model railroad talks, discussions, films, slides, and operation on individual pikes) would give the spark needed for continued model railroad operations in the area.

With Division 1 getting such good results, and with the newly formed Division 2, the Keystone Division becoming so enthusiastic over the plan, the formation of Division 3 might set a pattern for the scattered areas of the Region to form closely knit groups.

With this in mind, MCR President Payne, using the 1958 Yearbook, wrote to the first and every third name in the Dayton registry asking them to acquaint the three names following his with the idea and to relay to him the results. Meanwhile the President contacted the hobby shops for available space for a club unit. Unfortunately, the owner of the only space available had too autocratic ideas for its use and the club idea was dropped. Although one or two individuals stated that the idea of a Division would not work, most of the respondents liked the, or thought it was worth a try. An informal meeting was called after the Regional Convention Meeting in April 1959 at Cincinnati, Ohio. Herb Schwartz invited the members to meet at his home in Lebanon, Ohio on May 17, 1959.

Nine Regional NMRA members convened. President Payne fully explained the idea of Division activities – family participation in the summer, frequent model contests, financial problems, lack of space for club facilities, rotation of meetings in modeler’s homes, and visits to the activities of other Divisions. Using Montgomery County as a hub, the eight surrounding counties had a potential of sixty-two registered NMRA members.

Tentative By-Laws, and Regulations were discussed, as well as monthly model contests, and a meeting schedule was approved. Boundaries were established as the nine counties including and surrounding Dayton; Butler, Clark, Clinton, Darke, Greene, Miami, Montgomery, Preble and Warren.

The first formal meeting, with Lone Eagle Payne presiding, was held at John Bryan State Park as a picnic on 21 June 1959, with forty-two persons present. A lot of tired individuals had enjoyed a lively afternoon by day’s end. The first model contest, Reefers, drew thirteen entries, and Lethia Payne was asked to keep the Contest records and accrued entry fees.

The second meeting, also a picnic was held at Chatauqua, Ohio on July 19th, at which time forty-six persons were present with all the good eats possible. The model contest for small structures drew seventeen entries, sixteen until L. E. Payne, who had forgotten his, made a quick trip home, getting back in time to enter it, finish the meeting, and get his full share of the eats. At this meeting, Charles Gustin of Lebanon was elected the first Engineer and Don Santel of Dayton was the first Fireman.

The next two meetings at le Sourdsville Lake on August 23rd and at Snyder Park in Springfield on September 20th were also picnics. The attendance for late summer was almost half of the attendance at the first two meetings. No meeting was scheduled for October due to the Regional Convention.

On November 8th the first indoor meeting was held with an attendance of sixteen and Gustin presiding. The main discussion centered on the Silver Anniversary cars to be constructed for the 1960 national Convention in Chicago.

The December 6th meeting was held at the home of H. Schwartz in Lebanon where sixteen members registered and seven models were entered in the passenger train front end car contest.


Alvin Schultz of Dayton was host for the 1960 season opener on January 17th at which nineteen members were present and seven models were entered in the water tank contest. Jack Dean, Lee Garver, and Vic Ketcham of Columbus visited the group and were persuaded to act as honorary judges of the contest. They voted for the same models as the Division judges except for reversing 2nd and 1st places.

Division Engineer hosted the February 21st meeting which saw six loaded flat cars entered in the contest from the nineteen members present.

On March 20th at the home of Dr. Jarrett of Dayton, where a well planned layout filled half of the basement, forty-two members came to gape. A private or business car contest drew only five entries. Due to the falling number of contest entries it was thought that a month was too short a time for construction of good models and it was proposed to drop the number of contests to six per year.

At the April 10th meeting in Middletown, Ohio, nineteen members partook of a sumptuous chicken dinner prepared by their genial host, Tom Howard. In electing officers for the coming year, the members present were asked , without a slate of candidates, to write their choice for Engineer, Region President Payne and Ralph Love received a tied nomination whereupon President Payne congratulated Love as the Engineer and took over the Fireman’s seat.

The May 22nd meeting was held in the country around New Carlisle way, at the three-room-and-a-path shack of L. E. Payne. Since only two passenger cars were entered for the contest, it was declared “no contest”. The photo structure contest drew the minimum three entries. In this contest, the modelers had previously been given three photos of different sides (views) of a small country crossroads drug store and the separate dimensions thereof. All models, although of different media, closely resembled the photo of the prototype.

The June 19th meeting was held in conjunction with the Mid-Central meeting at Lebanon, Ohio. A large display was made of the winning models of previous contests. Two contests were held simultaneously for three entries in the passenger car contest and three entries in the work train contest. W. W. “Pop” Haverly of Lexington, Kentucky, the first president of the NMRA, was the principal invited guest and was very interesting in conversation.

On July 17th, for the second time, John Bryan State Park was the scene of the Division meeting in lovely out-of-door picnic weather, but only seventeen were present in contrast to forty-two the year before. The principal business conducted was the retention of Alvin Schultz as Secretary and Lethia Payne as Model Contest Secretary/Treasurer. It was announced that R. Love, H. Schwartz and John Schwartz, in that order as 1st, 2nd and 3rd, garnered the most points over the year in the model contests. Appropriate prizes amounting to one half, one third and one sixth of the accrued contest entry fees were awarded the winners.

August 14th, another ideal picnic weather day, saw ten members plus some eight children convene at the ravined and round-sided hill estate of Ray Strick near Waynesville, Ohio. Picnic clothes were laid on the recently brush cleared banks of a non-flowing, puddle filled, solid flat rock strata creek bed which in rainy weather boasted a ten foot wide three foot tall waterfall. Later we learned that two days after the meeting the members were cussin’ and discussin’ the immediate past host for his fine hospitable nature in providing chiggers for the occasion. Only the Strick family and a baby clad only in a diaper failed to feel the charge of the dry weather pest.


The January 15th meeting was held in the home of E. H. Scott of Richmond, Indiana. J. Rhinehart talked on a membership promotion scheme which would include visiting hobby shops in the evenings and on Saturdays to talk with the customers, after they had concluded their business with the shop owner, who were interested in model railroading, had questions or wanted some advice. They would also talk to members who had dropped away from the meetings. Allen McClelland offered to make some posters advertising the NMRA to be placed in hobby shops, clubs and other likely places. Don Santel announced that he was going to instruct a ten week class in model railroading as part of the YMCA night hobby school. Wayne County, Richmond, Indiana applied for membership into Division 3 and were accepted subject to approval by the Region. It was announced that henceforth ribbons would be awarded to model contest winners. In travelling back to their homes the Division members encountered some fast-piling heavy snowfall with near zero visibility, but no accidents or lost members were reported.

On February 19th, Fifty-two members convened at the home of Tom Howard, now moved to Fairborn, Ohio, where Tom’s smaller but amusingly interesting Lionel O pike held the interest of all present.

March 19th saw thirty members meet with Paul Cableck as host. Don Santel was announced as the Division’s 1st booster for having secured ten members for the NMRA.

Dr. Jarrett, again the host, counted some forty-plus members present on May 21st. The annual election of officers saw J. Rhinehart elected Engineer and Robert Fleming of Richmond, Indiana as the Fireman. Hamilton County, Cincinnati, Ohio applied for admission into Division 3 and were accepted. Meetings are now better attended and the basement spaces are slightly crowded, so a central meeting place was discussed because of this enlarged attendance, but subsequently nothing came of the matter later. A prototype railroader gave a demonstrative talk on yard switching, which proved to be very interesting.

No business was conducted on June 18th, but thirty members rode the “Cincinnatian” to Lima, Ohio to tour the B&O facilities.

Again, no business was conducted on July 16th as thirteen members made a tour of the Southern Railroad facilities in Cincinnati.

On August 13th, the executive committee of the Division held its first meeting. A trip to the L&N was set for August 20th. The announcement was made that National Model Railroad Week would be held form November 28th through December 2nd and Division members with operable pikes were asked to make plans to hold open houses to interested visitors.

Good weather favored the occasion and September 24th saw a goodly number of members plus their wives, but minus the kids, gathered for a picnic beside the gently meandering stream in a vale downhill from the homes of genial Gene Smith and “Smitty”, his dad. Numerous railroad sound tape recordings supplied the proper atmosphere. Various games took up the excess energy of the overactive members while the ladies held their own lively get-acquainted session. Central meeting places were ruled out as too costly, so the matter was dropped. The titles of Division 3 officials were changed from Engineer and Fireman to President and Vice President in keeping with the titles of the officers of the other Divisions. L. E. Payne was named Public Relations Officer and Lethia Payne was appointed Corresponding Secretary. It was announced that ribbons were ready for future model contests, and that the model contest winners for the year were Paul Cableck, 1st place, Ray Strick, 2nd place, and Mike Schwartz, Herb Schwartz, and Lone Eagle Payne were tied for 3rd. Don Santel announced that he would have a part in a 13 week television series on model railroading which would start on Monday October 2nd in the 5:00 – 5:30 PM time period.

At a meeting on October 22nd our host, Steve King, had as guest speaker, one Johnny Davidson, road foreman of engines of the Toledo Division of the B&O who told of some of his experiences on the Denver & Salt Lake, the Rio Grande, and the B&O Railroad. Bob Roe of the Boys Club who has been called up for Service, asked the Division for help at the club and Chet Russ, Bill Beckelheimer, Don Santel, Fritz Prosch, and Ray Strick volunteered to help out. Bob Fink volunteered as editor of the Call Board which is vitally needed as a news media of the Division, and Chet Russ offered to take care of the printing. It was announced that the NMRA rules would govern all model contests with a plaque to be given to the 1st place winner on the years point system, while a certificate with seal would be given to the monthly winners. By letter the Division was invited to visit the Columbus, Ohio HO Club on December 17th.

Allen McClelland of West Carrolton was host on November 19th. Prize gift certificates were awarded to the years 1st and 2nd place model contest winners and the 3rd place tie would be decided later as the three members tied were not all present. The Western Hills HO Club of Cincinnati invited the Division to visit them during their Model Railroad Week open house. Don Santel, Membership Chairman, talked on Floyd Countryman’s ideas to bring in new members to the NMRA. Don will also devote part of the television program to Model Railroad Week and make an announcement of public open house visiting with members volunteering to operate their pikes.

On December 17th some thirty Division 3 members made the trip to Columbus to visit the HO Club and enjoyed some delightful fellowship and made some new acquaintances. The Columbus Club, having repaired the damages of the spring floods and revamped the trackage system, treated the Division 3 members to some superb pike operations, and each visitor who wished, operated in some capacity. In conversation with Joseph Slanser, the Region President, L. E. Payne was asked to volunteer as Region Chairman for the National Achievements Award Committee.


The January 21st meeting was held as the guests of Gary Schaffenberger. Correspondence Secretary, Lethia Payne, was instructed to send a note of appreciation and thanks to the Columbus Club as host for a “band-up” meeting in December. Paul Cableck “took over” as editor of the Call Board since Bob Fink was being called up for service. The 3rd place tie for the 1961 yearly model contest was awarded by default to Lone Eagle Payne on account of the non-attendance for the past six months of the other two tied members.

Don Bedrowsky was the host for the February 18th meeting. It was decided that the mailing list cost for the meeting notices could be reduced by dropping all members who had not attended any meetings for the past year and to mail only twice a year to all NMRA members in Division 3 territory. It was also suggested that the talent of the members be pooled and made available to all modelers needing help in their particular phase of railroad model operations. The members filled out cards for each phase of modeling in which he was knowledgeable and willing to help others. Thus the talent pool was created and the file was to be left at the Dayton Model Railways Hobby Shop in case railroading hobbyists had problems. He could reach the member who would not only solve his problems but steer him clear of “blind spots” and “drawbacks” between ready-to-run and model hobbyists, thus making them potential members of the NMRA and Division 3. A Trading Post board was to be displayed at all meetings on which a member could list material for “swaps”. Auction items can also be advertised before the auction.

March 18th found the Division as guests of Bill Beckelheimer. Gary Schaffenbergger was appointed the official Division Photographer. It was thus hoped to augment articles in the Call Board with photos and to also upgrade the news to the Bulletin with pictures. Coffee guzzlers made a suggestion to obtain a Division coffee maker for the meetings by pooling trading stamps. The matter was taken under consideration. A fan trip on the City Transit bus at $25.00 per 8 hours was discussed. It seems as the other city groups have fun ambling over the entire city system and stopping enroute. The Auction Committee decided a 10% surcharge would be made on all items sold at auction. Don Bedrowsky and Don Conover were appointed as assistant judges from the Division to the Region Achievement Committee. It was cited that there was a real need for a Regional publication and suggested that the Division papers be combined for same. Also, there were first rumblings of a Region Convention to be sponsored by the Division at Dayton heard at this meeting.

Pete Kalmus, an S gauge enthusiast of Middletown, Ohio was the genial host for the April 15th meeting at which the Regional was discussed pro and con by letters from other Divisions. The position of Division Historian was created and Lone Eagle Payne was railroaded into volunteering, thus another hat could be placed on his head. For his outstanding support of the NMRA through his television and hobby school work, Don Santel was awarded a Gold Merit Certificate.

May 20th saw the Division meeting in Richmond, Indiana at the home of E. H. Scott with the following items under discussion. Auction: no minimum bid would be placed on the item but a seller could protect himself by “calling” an asking price before the final bid on the article. Also a five cent charge would be made for all items sold for 50 cents or less. Contests: There are to be four contests per year in October, February April and ? for respectfully, structures, rolling stock, locos, and ?. Awards: 1st place Division winners cannot reenter the same model in Division contests but may enter it in region and National contests. Other place winners models may be reentered in any contests. It was decided that twelve members (two per category) are needed to judge the contests and the following seven members volunteered: Beckelheimer, Conover, M. Holsinger, Hadley, Kurre, and Fox. Pike Directory: A mock-up of the Pike Directory was presented to the membership for corrections before printing. Thanks to Don Hadley, the masthead of the Call Board was upgraded and makes a much better appearance. King Pin: The Region’s new publication, edited by Bob Thorniley of McKeesport, Pennsylvania, made its appearance. Since the MCR is not a dues paying Region, the King Pin will have to be financed by subscriptions at $1.00 per year starting in July. Non-commercial ads are to be sold at $1.00 per column inch.

Summer activities under the leadership of Steve King’s program committee are: June 17th – proposed trip to Cincinnati and return on the RDC for a fare of $5.00. Alternate to be a motorcade if not enough rail fares.

July 22nd – Motorcade to Worthington, Ohio Rail Museum where they have a modest collection of steam, traction and street railway equipment in a much constricted space.

August 25th – Motorcade to Portsmouth, Ohio to the N&W and perhaps to the C&O. Stop at Washington Courthouse on the return trip to view the C&O Kanawha in the park. The N&W trip to be for adults only. Possibly a trip on the City Transit could be a fall affair.

In order to get newer members to host Division meetings, it was pointed out that it was not essential to have refreshments at the meetings. The main problem is to have space provided for sixty to eighty members since excellent operations on some pikes , the visual parts of the programs, and the friendships made are bringing out a goodly number of potential Division 3 members.

At Regional and National conventions, loyal Division 3 members wear the Regional identification badge for which the sum of $6.25 collected was turned over to the Division Treasurer for dispatch to the Region Agent, Sam Hyle of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Convention Committee: Chuck Sadler was asked to form carpools for members going to the Canton, Ohio Convention on the weekend of May 27th. The Promotion Badges for the Division sponsored Region Convention in May 1963 were passed out. It was also decided to set up an advance registration booth at the Fall Convention in Columbus, Ohio to help obtain working capital. A motion by Bill Beckelheimer and Carl Lucas to transfer $25.00 from the treasury to the convention fund carried.

Election of Officers: For 1963 – Allen McClelland was elected President, Don Bedrowsky Vice President and Bob Fissel Secretary/Treasurer.

Contest Results: The yearly point system saw Bob Fink in 1st place, Fred Fox in 2nd, and Allen McClelland in 3rd place, but the contest committee overlooked the date so the certificates and ribbons will be presented at the first indoor meeting.

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