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North East Live Steamers

40th Anniversary Commemorative Collection
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North East Live Steamers 40th Anniversary Archive

NELS Beginnings At Roy Spencer's,
Danvers MA
Carl Purinton's
Outer Belt RR
NELS Memories
Lindy Knight - Saco, ME The Dick Symmes'
Bass River RR
Henry & Elle Groth's
Spare Time Line
The NM&W RR,
Nashua, NH
Charlie Purinton's
Bayberry Central RR
John Brace's Washington County RR NELS Tracks Past,
Present & Future
Other Tracks,
trains of Interest
Squanacook Junction
Pepperell, MA
Annisquam Scenic RR
Gloucester, MA
Dwight Winkley's
Ossipee Cental
Larry Urbanski's Boxford Beltline RR
Articles by Topic RR Yarns & Trackside Stories Anniversary Meets Help!
The Tech Note Track

How Today's NELS Got Its Start

From a conversation with Bob Hornsby
and Richard W. Symmes
After attending several of Carl Purinton's private meets, I asked him what he thought if I were to form a club.  He said it would be a good idea and offered to help.  He still had all the files containing the names and addresses of those who joined the Brotherhood of Live Steamers which he founded in 1932.  We went through the cards and picked out those who were within a reasonable distance that might be interested in joining a club.  I prepared a questionnaire and mailed it to those whom we selected.
Upon return of the completed questionnaires, I met with Carl to choose a date and time because he had offered to host the meeting.  I sent out notices for the meeting at Carl Purinton's home in Boxford.  Having met Dick Symmes a few years earlier and establishing a great friendship, I asked him if he would take notes of the meeting, to which he agreed.  Everyone was in favor of a club, so the agenda became the selection of a name.  It was unanimous that we keep the same initials as the old New England Live Steamers (NELS).  After many ideas, it was decided that we use Northeast, but break it into two words, North East, and add the words Live Steamers.  Thus came the name of North East Live Steamers, utilizing the same initials as the former club in Danvers.
Those present then voted Bob Hornsby as president and Dick Symmes as secretary-treasurer.  Thus, on a Sunday afternoon in April of 1967, with 12 people attending, was held the first meeting of the North East Live Steamers.
Bob Hornsby
Editor's Note: Carl Purinton founded the Brotherhood Of Live Steamers (BLS) in 1932, which in 1980 became the International Brotherhood Of Live Steamers (IBLS).
"Here we are 40 years later and we're still going strong.  When we started out, the idea was to have tracks at people's homes and not have a "club track," and that is what we've stuck to all these years.  It's worked out well because we have a lot of variety and we don't have a club track to maintain.  On the other hand, we don't have a big, long interesting track to run on, but we do have a lot of smaller tracks in different areas.  This arrangement gives us a lot of variety in the different tracks that we go to during the season, all the way from Maine to southern Massachusetts.  It has been a real good experience.  We really haven't had a problem and are glad we did it that way."
Dick Symmes
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