The story begins in 1927 when a young man named Jack Merlin came to Fort William with his father at the young age of 3. Jack and his family lived in Montreal, as his father was working for Canada Car and Foundry there. His father was promoted to Superintendent of the Fort William plant in 1927 so off they went to make their home here at The Lakehead. Jack himself began working at Can Car in 1941 at the age of 17 and retired in 1989. During this time two important things happened.....
Firstly he had an affinity for old cars of which he purchased his first at age 12.
Secondly, during his tenure at Canada Car and Foundry he had purchased a General Electric Diesel/Electric 44 ton switch engine from the then Great Lakes Paper Company, which he had stored at Can Car for years. Near the end of his years there and when it became Bombardier, the switcher was still stored there. He felt that he had kept it all those years so why not take in home...which he did....no easy feat.
...Now when you travel west up Oliver Road and not too far before Murillo....look to your left and you will see Jack's train on a short piece of track set back on his property....you may also notice a few old vehicles along Oliver Road near the train, however what you can only see from aerial photos thanks to google earth are literally 100's of vintage cars there mostly from the late 1940's to the late 1960's. I had the privilege about 12 years ago to visit Jack's collection with my old friend Clarence Merko, and was blown away by the massive amount of fully intact cars in there, and apparently none for sale...mainly because of their accessibility....I hope that someday, Jack's family might let people in to see this collection much of which may or may not be restorable......so now some photos.
The original Great Lakes Paper
Mill and Woodlands Logo.
This is one of the many Great Lakes Paper's Original switchers
but not Jack's. This one is #128 and the GLP logo is shown on the side.
|Here's GLP #129 - not Jack's either.|
|This is what you will see as you head out west towards Murillo on the south side of Oliver Road.|
To the left is a close-up of Jack's train on the property and the photo on the right is the same engine - a GE44 Ton (again...built by General Electric between 1940 and 1957). This engine was also used in Europe during the war years. The paint scheme had changed somewhat but it was the Great Lakes Paper engine. The window configuration is exactly the same.
The next photo shows approximately where it is located on the Merlin property and also shows the massive amount of cars from a Google Earth photo. Oliver Road runs east and west along side the property on the left. The top of the photo would be east and the right would be south.
The next part of this post is firstly a story that was posted on this blog in January of 2015....it's a great memory written by my friend George Rogers who now lives in Winnipeg......It is about the excitement in finding an old piece of junk when we were kids which was always elusive as we were either run off someones property or we could never afford it at the time.....this falls in line with all the vintage tin still on Jack's property....still elusive to this day.
Please click on this link to view the post then return for the rest of the story.... Field of "A's"
|This is a photo of the guys wife who wouldn't let us kids purchase the cool potential hot rods.|
|'32 Ford Coupe before from Mankato Mn.|
|My '32 Ford as it appeared in American Rodder magazine in 1995.|
|This Old Stock Car Chassis|
|....and this old stock car wreck |
from about 1954
Many of you have already seen the before and after of the model A sedan I drive.
Last is my present Model T custom project.....it started as the partially primered sedan in this field of dreams, but took me way to long to finish to the "Thai Teal" sedan you see in the last photo below.