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