The model train club that was later to become CentraMod, Inc. had a “cart before the horse” beginning. Most train clubs are first organized and then begin to participate in train shows. Not so with CentraMod. The train club didn’t formally organize until after its founding members had already participated in the First Texas Train Festival held in Temple, Texas.
The Temple Area Model Railroaders was founded June 12, 1985 by seven modelers from Temple and Troy, Texas. They were:
- From Temple, Texas:
- John Lehmann
- Paul Otis
- Bob Winters
- Bernard “Buddy” Burk
- From Troy, Texas
- Harold Adams
- John Vanhorn
- Stan Miller
Its purpose at that time was to organize the model train show for the Second Texas Train Festival to be held in September of that year.
That next month, the group elected to construct HO train modules to exhibit at the festival. The Temple group set up at the Second Texas Train Festival with the Metro-Mod Club from Fort Worth, Texas.
The Temple Daily Telegram reported on November 17, 1985 that the club had gone from the drawing board six months ago to a prominent position in the state. By the Sixth Texas Train Festival, the club had over 150 feet of highly detailed modular model railroad, a truck to haul the layout, and twenty dedicated members.
Over the years, CentraMod’s layouts have participated in every major train show in all of the major cities. The club’s layouts have been the hit of many shows because of their interesting and finely detailed modules. Layouts were displayed in National Model Railroad Association (NMRA) National Train Shows (NTS) in Houston, Denver, and Atlanta. Club modules won Best of Show in Houston and received two honorable mentions in Atlanta.
The club formally incorporated in 1988 as CentraMod, Inc. (Central Texas Area Model Railroaders) as a non-profit organization to promote model railroading.
A Club without a Home (1985 – 1992)
The club had no permanent location to setup the HO layout for the first several years. Meetings were held in members’ homes and spaces were rented for weekend runs in preparation to set up at train shows.
First Roots: The Outdoor America Mall (1992 – 2002)
In 1992, good fortune appeared. Ancira/Winnebago, owners of the Outdoor America Mall in Temple offered the club space to set up in return for running their layouts during Ancira events held at the Mall. Although the club occupied this space with the understanding they might have to vacate with a 30-day notice, the club was able to operate there for ten years.
Space at the Mall allowed for two large size HO layouts to be displayed. One served as a permanent display for mall events and the second was a traveling layout for area train shows. Space was also provided for faithful O Scale (Lionel) members who had worked hard to support HO activities in the preceding years. They finally had a place to build a Lionel layout. N Scale members also joined and started participating in club activities in 1996.
The Ideal Clubhouse (2002 – Present)
In 2002, the City of Temple was looking for a tenant to occupy the Moody Depot that would enhance downtown Temple. The club was able to convince the City that it could fill the bill. The club initially secured a five year lease which was extended for another fifteen years in 2007. With the lease extension, the club began an extensive renovation of the depot, restoring it to its former glory as it first was when built in 1908.