Remember the Herpolsheimer’s Train? It’s Back at the Public Museum!
What a great "blast from Grand Rapids past" this is. The Grand Rapids Public Museum has brought out the famed Herpolsheimer’s Passenger Train.
It was called the Herpolsheimer’s Child Passenger Train and any baby boomer from Grand Rapids and West Michigan knows exactly what I'm talking about because they will instantly recognize the iconic train.
Herpolsheimer's Department store had just moved into their beautiful new location in 1949 on the corner of Fulton and Division downtown, and installed the monorail train, “Santa’s Rocket Express” when they opened their doors.
The train chugged along the ceiling of the toy department of the Department Store to the joy and amazement of children everywhere.
We now know that Fulton and Division corner as the Grand Rapids Police Headquarters and Secretary of State offices.
The exciting thing is in 2010 the museum had it restored to it's original design. They contracted with restoration artist David Winick to begin restoration of the train to its original theme.
Using a December 1955 Life magazine photo as his guide, Winick removed the rocket nose added in the 1960s and replaced it with a replica of the original 1949 nose. As multiple layers of paint were removed, the original colors were exposed. The GRPM and Winick were able to complete the restoration of all three cars thanks to funds raised by community members at the Museum’s Collections & Cocktails event in the spring of 2018.
The Herpolsheimer’s Child Passenger Train is on display on the first floor of the Grand Rapids Public Museum’s Van Andel Museum Center, and is always included with general admission to the Museum.
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