Here is some background; courtesy of
Model Railroader Magazine.
:: ABOUT GEORGE
As a youngster George loved baseball and trains. His ambition
was to be a major league ballplayer, and he got a brief tryout with
the Minnesota Twins farm club when he was 19. The baseball
career didn't last long, but the love of trains led him into his
ultimate career. George started Fine Scale Miniatures in
George says he can remember walking the tracks when he was only seven
years old. (He continues this practice today and gets many ideas
for his kits from the buildings he sees.) As a child growing up
in Peabody Mass., he became interested in trains after seeing
Christmas ads on TV for American Flyer and Lionel trains. After
giving his parents all kinds of hints, his parents bought his first
Lionel set from Jordan Marsh in Boston. He was 9. Shortly
thereafter, George moved to American Flyer because of its more
realistic two rail track.
His first American Flyer layout was built in his bedroom on a 4X8
sheet of plywood with a leg nailed at each corner. There was no
framework under the plywood, so the layout sagged in the middle.
George started with buildings made from painted shoe boxes (seems
funny now huh?)
George's first encounter with scale model railroading came when he was
about 12 and ran across a book by Frank Ellison. He still has
that book in his desk, although the pages are worn out from so much
reading. George still feels that "Frank Ellison was the
greatest model railroad writer this hobby ever had." About
the same time, photos of John Allen's work began appearing in the
magazines and George became really hooked.
He became a tireless builder of Ho scale models but never dreamt he
would make his living as a kit manufacturer. Fine Scale
Miniatures began at the suggestion of a friend and was originally
called Gay Nineties Models. In the summer of 1966 the name was
changed to FSM. The company's first ad appeared in the May 1967
issue of Model Railroader.
In 1991 George published an 84 page book of color photographs of the
F&SM. Titled "The Fabulous Franklin and South
Manchester Railroad", copies are available for $19.95, plus $3
postage, from Fine Scale Miniatures, 49 Main St., Peabody, MA 01960.
(For more on Fine Scale Miniatures click
Besides model railroading, George
is an active member of the East Baptist Church in Lynn, Mass.
INFO AND FACTS ::
:: The layout is 23 X 42 feet.
:: Manchester has over 150 structures.
:: The JM Humbrey building has over 500 window
:: George modeled many items after the work of John Allen.
The Manchester bus station is an Allen tribute and many of the
viaducts are styled after those on Allen's G&D.
:: George originally had a 4x8 display layout that is
incorporated into the new layout.
:: Benchwork went up in 1984.
:: The track on the layout is modified Flextrack.
:: George works on the layout at least 8 hours a day for three
months at a time, usually January, Feburary, and March. The rest of
the year is spent on a new FSM kit.
:: George built the 2000+ window I.M. Boren Corp. in a
:: The biggest project was the bridge over the Northfiled river-
which took one month.
:: The F&SM has been featured in two Allan Keller videos- Volumes
2 and 24.
:: More to come...
VISITING THE F&SM ::
Yes, you too can visit the F&SM! George has had thousands of
visitors from all over the world. The layout is open one
Saturday a month during the summer months. That is the ONLY time
visitors are allowed to see the F&SM. Children are not
allowed. To tour the F&SM you MUST call and reserve a spot
at an open house. You can contact George at
NOTE: Apparently George has had
trouble in the past with people showing up without reservations.
The layout is always covered when not being shown and seeing it at any
time other than a tour date is not possible because of the large
amount of work required to prepare the layout. PLEASE respect
these guidelines, as George should never have to turn people away
because they have showed up unannounced.