On Saturday September 21, Central Electric Railfans’ Association celebrated its 75th Anniversary at the Chicago Marriott O'Hare. The event began with a cocktail hour where many friendships were renewed.
Dinner followed at 7:00. Everyone at my table was happy with the meal and the service. After the dinner the program began with Ray DeGroote as the Master of Ceremonies. He presented Myles Jarrow, Member #23, with a Founder’s Award plaque for his many years of service to CERA. Then a surprised Ray DeGroote received an award for his own years of service to CERA.
Next on the agenda was a short PowerPoint presentation by David Sadowski. The Ghosts of Fantrips Past featured photos of CERA fantrips through the years, spotlighting the North Shore Line.
Problems with turning out the room lights and resolving computer glitches were an ironic throwback to years ago when ‘Big Bertha,’ CERA’s ancient slide projector, used to jam. But after a short delay the feature program began. To commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Chicago North Shore & Milwaukee Railroad's closure, Walter Keevil compiled and edited the 8mm and 16 mm movies of several CERA members into a DVD. Many of these superb films were being shown to an audience for the first time.
While watching the slides and movies, I relived many of my own memories of the North Shore. The audience saluted each of the evening’s events with hearty applause.
At the conclusion of the program, every attendee received a copy of Trolley Sparks Special #1: A 75-year Retrospective. This soft-cover book was edited by CERA Member John Marton.
The contents of the booklet include:
· a brief history of CERA;
· a list and, where possible, a photo of all the Directors of CERA;
· a dialog about members, meetings, and special events;
· a list of fantrips;
· a list of publications; and
· comments concerning the future of CERA.
Sprinkled throughout the book are photos and reproductions of fantrip and special event flyers, reproductions of Bulletin covers, fantrip ticket stubs, car drawings, maps, and receipts. The first 75 members of CERA are listed. Unfortunately most of them are no longer with us.
Although photo reproduction is not of the best quality, this book features a wealth of history about CERA. You can check to see whether your own bookshelf has a complete set of CERA Bulletins. And, did you know that CERA sponsored over 200 fantrips? After looking at the photos of CERA Directors, I found myself saying, "I didn't know he was a Director!"
Next will be the Fox River Trolley Museum Inspection Trip.
Thanks goes to Eric Bronsky who edited this post.