In 1985 Jim Agnew brought an LGB “G scale” starter set to an antique car club meeting in Belleville. Little did he know what he was starting. Skip MacEwen and Charlie Scherrer, also antique car club members and already train enthusiasts liked the “big train”. Soon Skip and Charlie acquired their own sets and started getting together with Jim to play trains.
Some time later Jim, Skip and Charlie decided to start the “Gateway Garden Railroad Club” and solicit new members by running an ad in the relatively new Garden Railroad Magazine. At this point the club was simply a social organization formed to run trains and have a good time. Membership grew and the club and its members began to gain some recognition: Charlie Scherrer built a large-scale diorama for the 1989 Indianapolis LGB convention and won the first Al Lenz award. The club built a modular layout including four corners and six straight sections for display at a 1986 antique car club meeting.
In 1991 the modular layout was displayed at the Great American Train show held at the Cervantes center in downtown St. Louis, won best of show and received a $400 prize. The club repeated this feat for the next two years. The club layout has grown and improved over the years and is a regular fixture at the GAT and other train shows held in the St. Louis area. The club layout has become so large that a trailer had to be purchased by the club to get it to the shows.
The Gateway Garden Railroad Club was incorporated and bylaws enacted in 1995. The first officers were Jack Sheer, Skip MacEwen, Willie Geiselmann, Mary Wern, Gary Wern and Jim Agnew.
Also in 1995 the club hosted the LGB Convention at the Gateway Center in Collinsville, IL. The show was both a critical and financial success. Profits from the show enabled the club to buy its own rolling stock and trailer.
The continued success of the Gateway Garden Railroad Club and the hard work of its officers and members has given the club national recognition. In 1998 LGB Model Railroad club elected Skip MacEwen, Mary Wern and Gary Wern as President, Secretary and Convention Chairperson respectively.
Club membership continues to grow and now includes the entire St. Louis area. There are even several out-of-town members. The club participates in many shows and special events each year. All big train enthusiasts are encouraged to join: Collectors, rivet counters, garden railroaders, indoor railroaders, live steamers, etc. We are an equal opportunity club; just bring your love of big trains.