Lake Shore Live Steamers > History


Lake Shore Live Steamers (LSLS)

Glen, Meadow, and Orchard Rail Road (GM&O RR)

Who are we? This record of the history of the Lake Shore Live Steamers and the Glen, Meadow, and Orchard Rail Road is a work in process. If you would like to add or clarify any of the statements made in this record, Please email me

• Local train enthusiasts (~12 individuals) begin gathering at each others back yard rail road tracks for social purposes.

• Bruce Blackman was one of several initiators of these gatherings.

• A 200' circle of 3/4" scale track was located at the Blackman home in Mentor, Ohio.

• 7 1/2 " gauge track was added latter

• Jane Blackman (wife of Bruce) is still living at the property in Mentor and is an Honorary Life Member of the Lake Shore Live Steamers. (circa: April 2001)

• Clyde and Chan Bleil (father and son) also were among the individuals at these social gatherings.

• A 3000' track was located at their Florist business located on Rt 20, in Mentor, Ohio.

• Other individuals included: Dick Clark, Dick Mackey, ...

DATE (unknown at this time, these events took place between 1969 and 1977)

• A portable track was constructed these by individuals for transport around North-East Ohio for public use.

• This portable track was 3/4" scale.

• The length of this portable track was originally 480' (an oval).

• Track was divided into 48 - 10' sections for ease of transport.

• Track assembled and locked into place utilizing scissor joints.

• The total weight was approx 3,000 pounds.

• Clyde Bleil transported this track with his truck from event to event.

• Some locations where this portable track was set up were:
            Burton Century Village, Burton, Ohio, USA
            Mentor Park, Mentor, Ohio, USA


• A club was organized, charter members included: (in alphabetical order)

Chan Bleil (still active!)
Clyde Bleil (still active!)
Harry Boivin, Jr (still active!)
Dick Clark (still active!)
Robert Cook (still active!)
John Cronwell
Robert Davidson (still active!)
Louis DeLembo (still active!)
Bob Knebusch (still active!)
Karl Konrad (still active!)
Dick Mackey (still active!)
Bud Mayhew
Howard Murphy (still active!)
Snub Pollard
George Santin (still active!)
Dick Schimdt (still active!)
Harold Sicherman (still active!)

(there was approx 27 individuals that were charter members, this is the current known list of this author)


• Bob Davidson and Clyde Bleil approached Mr. Schwartz (Park Director, Penitentiary Glen Reservation) to discuss a permanent location of LSLS club "portable" track on the park property.

• Permission was granted and the club placed 460' of the "portable" 3/4" gage track (see above) on the property of Penitentiary Glen. Penitentiary Glen Reservation is a park owned by the Lake MetroPark Park System. It is located in Kirtland, Ohio, USA . The property for this park was given to the county by the Halle family (Halle Department Store)

• The track was placed around and through the old Halle apple orchard. This orchard is on the lower section of the property.

• The apple orchard was over-grown with wild roses.

• These wild rose plants were cleared away, creating a path for the track right of way.

• Trains were "out of site" most of the time, because of the growth of the wild roses.

• The first public run at Penitentiary Glen took place at Halloween, 1983

• Ivan Jillette was present with his steam locomotive.


• The name Glen, Meadow, and Orchard Rail Road (GM&O RR) was first used

• The club members started construction of the GM&O Station at Penitentiary Glen Reservation • The first of the 7 1/2 " scale track was started.

• The track was laid from the station to the edge of the gorge (approx. 675 feet)

• The trains ran from the Station to the end of the line, then backed up to the Station to start again (i.e., there was no loop or closed circle in 7 1/2" scale)


• The club completed the first loop of 7 1/2" scale track of the GM&O RR in October

• Member of Lake Park Board of Directors, Larry Palmer, helped to drive the "gold spike" in the final rail during a special "joining of the rail" party at the present track location referred to as Patty's Rock.

• Two trains (east and west bound) touched noses met at the "last spike" site.

note: Patty's Rock is still known today as the place where club member Lou Allen and Patty were engaged to be married. For reasons that remain a mystery, Lou and Patty were never married. Lou remains a member today in 2001.

• The first public run on complete loop of 7 1/2" track was held on Halloween, 1984.


• The Lake Shore Live Steamers celebrated the Tenth Anniversary of the Glen, Meadow and Orchard Railroad. A three day event (August 13, 14, & 15) held in conjunction with the club's Fifth Annual Open Meet, a banquet was held on Saturday night for the club's members, guests and the park staff. Secretary Jeff Klein and Harold Sicherman worked on planning the festivities. A cake, with L.S.L.S engine frosting is cut by park manager Jean Yun and club president. President Michael Uhrich and past presidents Bill Horn and Bob Davidson pose for pictures. 

• Don Speidel and grandson, Kevin Harris, show off his new speeder at the Open Meet.

• Length of GM&O "Main Line" has expanded to 4,000 feet

• Over 10,000 rides given to the general public this year. Over 65,000 in the first 10 years!


B ig Bend Bridge completed and is dedicated during the Open Meet

• News article published in Modeltec Magazine (March 1994). Written by Kitty Shriver and J.M Uhrich. Article focuses on the activities of the Tenth Anniversary celebration with the park (Penitentiary Glen Reservation) held last year (Aug 13,14, & 15, 1993)

• The 25th Anniversary of the founding of the Lake Shore Live Steamers.

• Big Bend Bridge is dedicated during the Open Meet


• This was a year of relaxation. The completion of Big Bend Bridge was too exhausting.


• The first switch of the new yard was laid this summer. 

• The diamond was started near the Penitentiary Glen gorge. Track cross each other at about 30 degrees. This will is known as "Gulch Diamond". 

• Original operation through the Gulch Diamond is controlled by members and radios. This was updated to light signals that were manually operated by an attendant at the Diamond. This simple signal system was powered by a car battery.


• Mulberry Yard is dedicated and used for first time during Open Meet. Daryl and Jean Metcalf, Don Speidel, and Kevin, Brett, Roy and Linda Harris laid 300 feet of track the Saturday before the Open Meeting to complete the yard in time for the open meet.



• New car barn completed for additional storage

• Additional Yards added to enter the new car barn.


• "Yards" completed

• Signal System completed for operation with a cross-over diamond (@ Gulch)

• Bridge 5 (Howe Truss type) added

• Bill B falls off train during Halloween night run. Except for pride and shoulder, he's fine


• "Short Line" Extension started, this will eventually link into Mackey's Run. Currently is serves as a service siding to the dirt pile.

• A full grown tree grows mysteriously between the rail on the dirt pile siding

• A coal Tipple is added on the service siding near the old car barn and steaming bays


• First run of the 21st Century - Jan 1, 2001. The annual New Years Day club run was preceded by a cool brunch in the park given by Mike U.

• The public run of July 29 was the first public operation of the 4 new switches at the Gulch Diamond. With the switches set in the by-pass mode, the trains by-pass the diamond and run in the opposite direction from what has been run in the past. From the Gulch Diamond, the trains ran to Bridge 6, to Bridge 5, to Mackey's Run, to Big Bend Bridge, to Zip Junction, to Horrendous, to Twin Oaks and back to Gulch Diamond. The remainder of the GM&O RR was run in the normal direction.

• The Orchard Station gets hot water.

• 2001 Club Membership = 143 (79 - regular, 31 - associate, 16 - junior, 10 - life, 2 - honorary, 3 - limited, and 2 - exempted. 15 charter members remain from the clubs organization in 1977)

• Hildy Hill is reduced in grade.

• Bret K's Calliope makes music in the park

• Second water/air station added at the passenger loading area

• 805 passengers (largest # of 2001) for September 9 public run "Bug Day"

• Water Tower / Tank added to Service area near Coal Tipple


• Switch building area moved to area beside new car barn

• Completion of Wye Switch near "Shoe"

• Raising of track to reduce grade at Hildy Hill

• rework of "horrendous" including rr-tie wall, and double main to "high creek"

• Started construction of additional turn table to be located near new car barn

• Road bed preparation for rail between "Zip" and "Mackey's Run"

• Started work on the "Mountain Car Co" passenger car


• George’s Rock (What more can we say?)     Rock

• Started construction of additional turn table to be located near new car barn

• Completed ground level turntable to the west end of the yard

• Added branch line from main line to orchard multi-gauge track to serve as a by-pass of trains behind the station

• Delivery of New Club Engine (GP38)

• Completed the ‘special’ Mountain Car Co Riding Car. Dedicated to Clyde / Ann Bliel

• Moved shed from Sandusky to Penitentiary Glen, this would become the Switch Shop

• Added 2 switches in Mackey’s run

• Upgraded grade crossing to west of Bridge 5

• Added siding east of Bridge 5

• Celebrated 20 years with Penitentiary Glen


• Added electric to the switch shop

• Added a kitchen extension to station (this almost doubles the length of the station)

• Extended the track on the transfer table in front of the Willis Car Barn


• Added 2 girder plate bridges. One at filmore, and one on the short line (Lionel Plate Girder Bridge)

• Added “Just In Time” bridge near Bridge 5

• Added another “high level” bridge beyond the “JIT” bridge

• Completed a “tie wall” at the east side of the yard

• Short Branch line is extended to cross the main line between zip and grade crossing

• Kitchen Cabinets are added to the new kitchen Cabinets


• A double crossing is manufactured during the cold months at Hose Master

• Double cross-over is installed at Filmore double crossing

• Installed bi-directional operation signal system signal

• Installed a hair-pin curve at the end of the yard (Hilton). For small engines only


• Completion of the exterior of the “Stanek” Car Barn (behind the existing switch building shop)

• Completed the connection from Bruce to end of Yard crossing over the main twice – once at High Creek and once at Hemlock. Via Westwind


• Began to add manual switch throws so that engineers wouldn’t have to get off the train.

manual throw

• Completed the interior of the “Stanek” Car Barn; installed electric and storage rails.

Inside Barn

• Celebrated the 25th anniversary with the park
(Actual "Ticket to Ride" that was given out to the public)

ticket to ride





More History to come, this is a work in process......stay tuned

Send me a note, if you know anything interesting about the Lake Shore Live Steamers or the Glen, Meadow, and Orchard Railroad.


The Lake Shore Live Steamers is a club devoted to the interest of the operation of small gauge steam engines and locomotives. Some non-steam locomotive are present on the GM&O RR.

The Glen, Meadow, and Orchard Rail Road is the Lake Shore Live Steamers official club track. It is located on the beautiful grounds of the Penitentiary Glen Reservation in Kirtland, Lake County, Ohio, USA

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