January 5, 2013 – Orange Empire Railroad Museum – Rolling Shoe Box
If you are staying in Menifee, California and you do not see the Orange Empire Railroad Museum, you might as well have not come to Menifee. The Orange Empire is a free museum most weekends. The Museum is staffed entirely by volunteers, and has been that way since 1956. We met one very friendly volunteer who works on the Grizzley flats section of the museum. This volunteer gave us a cook’s tour of the narrow gauge section, he was great guide and has been working at the museum since it opened in 1956. This guys enthusiasm showed today even after working their all those years. The Orange Empire, for a fee on some occasions, will let visitors not only ride the trains, but drive them too. If you are a train enthusiast, you have not lived until you have taken this affordable tour. Click on any picture to make it large enough to read, or see more detail.
Watch this video to see rail road cars being humped. (Now imagine if the car was full of horses, or china)
This engine and coal car are significant because they were owned and donated to the railroad museum by Ward Kimball,
Along with his employer and friend Walt Disney, and fellow mate Ollie Johnston, Kimball also collected old railroad ephemera. Kimball was an avid railway enthusiast and donated his 3 ft (914 mm) gauge collection to the Orange Empire Railway Museum in Perris, California. A full-sized steam locomotive, – which Kimball ran on his private 3-acre (12,000 m2) backyard railroad known as “Grizzly Flats Railroad” in San Gabriel, California – bears some of his original artwork on the headlamp and cab, and is on permanent display at the museum.
While Kimball was a brilliant draftsman, he preferred to work on comical characters rather than realistic human designs. Animating came easily to him and he was constantly looking to do things differently. Because of this, Walt Disney called Ward a genius in the book The Story of Walt Disney. While there were many talented animators at Disney, Ward’s efforts stand out as unique.
Kimball created several classic Disney characters including the Crows in Dumbo; Tweedledum and Tweedledee, the Mad Hatter and the Cheshire Cat from Alice in Wonderland; the Mice and Lucifer the Cat from Cinderella; and Jiminy Cricket from Pinocchio. He also animated the famous “Three Caballeros” musical number from the Disney film of the same name.
Ward loved to paint!