NWHS Cleveland, Ohio Area

Thursday, June 4 through Saturday, June 6

Location: Holiday Inn, Independence, Ohio


We believe that you all have all been following the news regarding expanding closures due to concerns over the COVID-19 coronavirus. The N&W Historical Society Board of Directors is closely monitoring this rapidly developing situation in order to determine how to proceed regarding our upcoming convention in Cleveland, Ohio, subject to prevailing health concerns and public directives that could impact our ability to meet. The health of our members and their families is, of course, a top priority; we have to consider the possibility, however slim, of an attendee picking up something here and taking it back home.

For now, we are keeping tabs on the news and communicating with the host hotel and planned tour sites to fully assess our alternatives in light of our already-contracted commitments. We have not made a final decision yet, but given the uncertainty regarding the expected duration of the health crisis, we are thinking it may be best to reschedule our currently planned 2020 convention program for the same weekend in 2021 and have already made tentative arrangements to support that option. By then, we hope and pray that the current crisis will be a distant unpleasant memory.

Once a final decision is made regarding our 2020 convention, we will announce it immediately on this list, our website, and the Virginian Railway Enthusiast IO list, in order to facilitate timely confirmation/cancellation of travel plans for those planning to attend. In the event the convention is cancelled for 2020, the Society will issue full refunds upon request.

NWHS Board of Directors

Cleveland Rocks! According to the song, at least! We are going a bit further afield than we have in the previous conventions. Many folks ask why we are doing this and not staying on the original N&W? The answer is pretty simple, to quote another older song, "we've been everywhere, man!" That is true, we've been to so many locations on the original N&W that we have repeated many of them, and now everywhere we go, there is less to see each time. Unfortunately, that is a sad but true fact. Since the N&W did stretch further west in merger with the Nickel Plate and Wabash, we felt reaching out into that territory was a good idea.

However, any convention needs a person local to the area, who can negotiate with the hotels, have their boots on the ground for questions and things that need local supervision.

Cleveland has an interesting railroad history, with a whole variety of railroads including the NKP. We have chosen two primary locations for our tour, the fantastic Age of Steam roundhouse and Warther Museum. The Age of Steam Age of Steam roundhouse is a complete reconstruction of a 18-stall brick roundhouse with 115-foot turntable and over 20 locomotives in various states of construction or preservation. The place looks just like it stepped out of the 1920s.

The Warther Museum is a truly unique experience, featuring the wood carvings of steam locomotives from Ernest Warther who did his first carvings in the 1930s and completed the last just before his passing in 1973. The work is something that must be seen to be understood.

If you have an idea for a clinic, suggestions for topics, or can present a clinic, we'd love to hear from you! Please email Frank Bongiovanni (bongiovanni@nwhs.org) or Ken Miller (miller@nwhs.org) with your suggestions or offer to help.

Convention Tours and Activities

Registration will be open as of 1 p.m., Thursday, June 4th. Mid afternoon there will be clinics/seminars. Also the Commissary will be open and the Modeling Committee will accept entries for the model contest. See the online schedule.

Thursday evening, we are planning for a Meet and Greet at the hotel, with finger food. There will be clinics Thursday evening, including a preview of the next day's tour. Friday evening, after return from the tour will be the annual meeting of the Virginian Interest Group. We are working on seminars for Friday evening for those who choose not to attend either meeting.

The centerpiece of the convention is a day-long tour to the Dover, Ohio area where we have tours set up for the Age of Steam Roundhouse and the Warther Museum. If you're familiar with either or both of these facilities, you'll be pleased to see them again; if you haven't been there, we think you're in for a rare treat. There will be time for lunch in between. We have a capacity of 50 people on the bus. Warther Museum (thewarthermuseum.com) and Age of Steam Roundhouse (ageofsteamroundhouse.org). We will return to the hotel by late afternoon after the special outing.

Annual Banquet

The banquet will be held at the Holiday Inn Ballroom. Happy hour begins at 5:00 PM. Banquet begins at 6:00 PM. We will have dinner and our speaker will be Michael J. Connor, who has worked in the railroad industry for over 55 years. Mr. Connor's experience includes being in the U.S. Army Transportation Corps, the Erie Railroad, the New York Central, and working for the late Jerry Jacobsen at the Age of Steam. Mr. Connor's banquet speech will be on Dereco. Dereco was the holding company that controlled the Erie-Lackawanna and the Delaware & Hudson, and was itself controlled by the N&W in the 1970's.