Model railroading is a hobby offering people the opportunity to get creative. It's a pastime where with some innovation, your imagination is the only restraint.
And that has been the case for the husband and wife team of Buck and Jan Guthrie in Lafayette County. They are the creative force who took a dairy barn and transformed it into the Toy Train Barn Museum, W9141 Highway 81, Argyle.
"This has been a life-long dream of my husband's," Jan Guthrie told Newsline 9.
Jan keeps the operation running while Buck is away working for the Canadian Pacific railway.
"If he was here," Guthrie said of her husband, "he'd tell you he built this for me. And he did because I think I have more fun than he does!" she continued.
That statement says a lot. Buck Guthrie has been collecting trains since he was five. And he's been recycling home appliances to create the mechanics animating the cities they've constructed in the former dairy barn for years.
"I asked my husband to fix my printer for my computer, and now it's elevators going up and down in a building. There's an airplane that flies around that use to be my chicken rotisserie," Guthrie said.
Also utilized in the model city's framework includes pieces from toasters, speakers and can openers, along with Christmas lights that have been commissioned to illuminate the tiny city's Subway system station.
Guthrie says she recalls an occasion when she returned from a trip to the grocery store only to find the microwave missing from their home kitchen. Further investigation lead to her discovering it had been drafted into the model train city's infrastructure system, as an operational control center of sorts to control the trains.
Visitors to the exhibit say they are impressed.
"He [Guthrie] must have a mind that never sleeps," said guest Kay Daley of Reedsburg.
Daley stopped at the museum with two friends who remarked that the exhibit serves a family-friendly audience.
"I was thinking of my grandchildren when I went around here," visitor Rosemary Fosland said. "They'd love to see this stuff," she continued.
The Toy Train Barn Museum is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Admission is $5 for adults and $3 for children.
The museum is offering free admission on Sat. Nov. 9 and Sat. Dec. 14 for guests that donate one non-perishable food item toward their annual food drive.
For more information about the museum, follow this link.