The Naptown & White River Model Railroad Club began in July 1966 as the Miami Valley RR Club. In 1970, the MVRR club moved into the B&O freight house located downtown on Virginia Avenue next to the Conrail mainline. The club was renamed at that time.
In 1979, the Chessie System closed the old B&O freight house, and the search was on for a new permanent club location. NWRMRRC relocated at 1115 McDougall Street on the near Southside of Indianapolis.
The current club building was the spare storage garage for late member Joesph Marmon (Of the Marmon family well known in Indianapolis. The Marmon Wasp?) upon his death, the building was dpnated to the club who owns the space and property outright.
Most model railroad clubs construct their layouts in rented or borrowed space. Consequently, they must live with a bit of "uncertainty" about their future. Being subject to the landlord-tenant relationship leaves open the possibility of an unanticipated move. The landlord raises the rent, and all those hours of work spent constructing the model railroad empire are for naught -- the club must dismantle the layout and seek out a new home. As owners of the building, the Naptown & White River MRR Club has the luxury of "staying power". The layout is constructed without worries of having to move at the end of the lease. The result is a more substantial, robust layout, built over a period of many years, and likely to continue for many years to come.
Biography of a Railroad
The Naptown and White River layout is a loose, artistically licensed representation of railroading in Southwestern Indiana in the 1950s. formed from an amalgam of smaller railroads in the early 1900s, the NWR grew to connect the cities of East Bend (representing Vincinnes, IN) Richmond, Louisville, and Chicago, with each of its four main subdivisions, plus an additional line to Indianapolis, crossing in Bloomington, represented by Naptown Yard and Staging as the outer world around them. Each town on the layout draws inspiration from real locations in Indiana, although they do not appear in any geographic order. As the majority of the NWR's territory is within coal country of the south and western parts of the state, much of its traffic is open hoppers. (despite there actually only being one fairly small coal mine modeled). The Naptown monopolized on feeding the power plants of its ever growing terminal cities, as well as the smaller cities and towns along the way, with local Indiana coal. It also handles a fair amaount of Limestone traffic, raw steel, aluminum, as well as glass for its on-line customers. Although by this time Passenger rail travel is being replaced by the automobile, steep hills and rough terrain would make highway travel in parts of the state annoying. a true straight shot between Indianapolis and Evansville would not emerge until 2013, giving the NWR a unique opportunity to continue light and fast day trains for a few years after many of its national competitors would drop out of passenger traffic.