Herpolsheimer’s Child Passenger Train on Display this Holiday Season at the Grand Rapids Public Museum
Grand Rapids – The Grand Rapids Public Museum (GRPM) announced that this holiday season, visitors to the Museum can enjoy a community favorite on display – the Herpolsheimer’s Child Passenger Train. The Train will be on display from Saturday, November 17 through January 18 with the Museums holiday décor and displays.
The Herpolsheimer’s Child Passenger Train is instantly recognizable to any baby-boomer resident of Grand Rapids. They remember riding in the train high above the toy department at the Herpolsheimer’s Department Store, which sat at the corner of Fulton and Division streets in downtown Grand Rapids. The monorail train debuted as “Santa’s Rocket Express” when the new Herpolsheimer’s Department Store opened in in 1949.
After passing through the hands of multiple department stores that succeeded Herpolsheimer’s, the train entered the Museum’s Collection in 2000 with a jungle-themed paint job. The Herpolsheimer’s Child Passenger Train was gifted to the Museum’s Collection by The Peter F. Secchia Family.
In 2010, the GRPM contracted with David Winick to begin restoration of the train to its original theme. Using a December 1955 Life magazine photo as his guide, Winick removed the rocket nose added in the 1960s and replaced it with a replica of the original 1949 nose. As multiple layers of paint were removed, the original colors were exposed. The GRPM and Winick were able to complete the restoration of all three cars thanks to funds raised by community members at the Museum’s Collections & Cocktails event in the spring of 2018.
“We’re pleased to have this old favorite on display this holiday season,” said Dale Robertson, President and CEO of the Grand Rapids Public Museum. “As the keeper of the community’s treasures and history, it is our job to preserve them and make them available to the public. We hope families will visit the Museum this holiday season to take a walk down memory lane.”
The Herpolsheimer’s Child Passenger Train will be on display on the first floor of the Grand Rapids Public Museum’s Van Andel Museum Center, and will be included with general admission to the Museum.
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