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1860's buildings

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1860's buildings
Posted by Anonymous on Thursday, May 18, 2006 9:00 PM
I am in the process of building a 1860 era layout I have all of the locomotives passenger cars and freight cars. But what I am having a problem finding is Buildings. Either if I could get the plans are buy the Plastic ones I would prefer plans so if I want to make changes I can do so.
My lay out is quit large it is 8' X 46' so i have plenty of room I am in the process of laying track and the 200 electrical switches and as soon as I can get a picture I well put it on line.
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Posted by pcarrell on Thursday, May 18, 2006 9:12 PM
Welcome to the forum!

I don't think there are a lot of building kits out there for that era. A few, but not a ton. If you're going to have any variety, scratchbuilding may be in your future. Fortunately, it's not hard. You can buy window and door castings, shingles, and so on, the rest is pretty easy.

So what scale are you in?
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Posted by BR60103 on Thursday, May 18, 2006 10:19 PM
Check for books with titles like "Build Greenfield Village in HO scale" or "Make a paper model of Colonial Williamsburg". (not sure if these exist) These will have cutouts of old buildings. You can either make them as intended or use them as plans or as a basis for other buildings.


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Posted by SpaceMouse on Friday, May 19, 2006 6:34 AM
I'm doing the 1880's. I found most of my structures on eBay. You have to work at it to find them I simply scan the Building Structures section. It takes about an hour a week to scan it.


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Posted by pcarrell on Friday, May 19, 2006 7:20 AM
I guess it matters too as to where you're modeling. I mean, the east coast and out west had some very differing styles back then.
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Posted by Anonymous on Friday, May 19, 2006 7:46 AM
Greetings Railroader,
Go to Barnes & Nobel Book Store and serch for books by the Arthurs A.G Smith and Edmund V. Gillon Jr.
There are 10 or 12 books available for HO buildings in the era you are modeling. Some of these books are no longer in print but are available fron their old and used book department. They are reasonable priced and and the books are complete.
Titles to look for by Smith are:
Cut and assemble Main Street. There are nine buildings for late 1800 era.
Cut and assemble An Early American Seaport. There are eleven Wood buildings of the 1800 era.
Title to look for by Gillon include:
Old sturbridge Village Meeting house.
A Western Frontier Town with Ten full color buildings
Victorian Gothis House in full color.
Victorian house four full color buildings.
These are the ones I bought for around five dollars per book. This is cheep for a lot of buildings.
Very easy to assemble and easy to kitbash and weather.
There are aeveral other books by the arthurs.
In the Scenery Tips and Techniques Magazine from Model Railroader there is an article on page 82 by Al Kalbfleisch, that gives you the techniques for weathering the buildings and it also hase pictures fo some of the buildings.
Hope this helped.
Happy Railroading[8D]
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Posted by Anonymous on Friday, May 19, 2006 9:25 AM
QUOTE: Originally posted by pcarrell

....the east coast and out west had some very differing styles back then.

[#welcome] nfuehner

Yes, that would make a difference. Are you modeling the Western or Eastern U.S.?
The thing about Eastern architecture in cities, of that era, is it's very elaborate and detailed. Western design was more about function.
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Posted by orsonroy on Friday, May 19, 2006 9:33 AM
Back in the good old days of this hobby, Craftsman, MR, NMRA Bulletin, and Mainline Modeler used to run structure plans. Many of them were of VERY old structures, including many from the 1860s. A series on factories in Elgin, IL, springs to mind, where all the buildings were originally built in the 1850s.

One of the problems with modeling early buildings (pre-Civil War), is that architectural styles change every ten years. A house that looks to us like an "old Victorian" could be built in the 1850s, 1860, 1870, or even 1890s, and you have to know which is truly appropriate for which era. It wouldn't do much good to dig up a bunch of kits for "painted Ladies", since that architectural style didn't hit until the mid-1870s.

A good site for a primer on architecture is the NEB&W website's scenery & structures section:

While most modelers use their freight car data section, the scenery and architecture sections are just as information-packed, and possibly more useful. Most of us can tell a PS-1 from a single sheathed boxcar, and guess at the rough build date. But how many of us can tell the difference between a house built in 1889 from one built in 1902?

A good site for old structure plans is the Library of Congress:,+Landscape

One of the more useful government-funded projects of the Depression era was when the government sent out unemployed architects to catalog and draw old, endangered structures. It's sort of a pain to search through the site (it's HUGE), but the data it contains is well worth the time. You can find plans for everything from chicken coops to Gothic city halls, with multiple, highly detailed drawings. They're generally better than anything the hobby press has ever published.

Unfortunately, I've tried searching the web for free antique structure plans in the past, and have come up mostly empty handed. Most plans online are from modern home builders who want you to BUY their plans. There are a few free historic plans online, but you really have to root around to find them.

Ray Breyer

Modeling the NKP's Peoria Division, circa 1943

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Posted by Anonymous on Friday, May 19, 2006 9:44 AM
For the basic structures try Muir Models/Classic Models. Should be able to find them on ebay and train shows. With some gingerbread they sould work fine. Good luck to you.
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Posted by jeffrey-wimberly on Friday, May 19, 2006 9:44 AM
Check your library for a book titled 'Civil War Model Railroads'. There're lots of diagrams and designs in it, many of them in 1/8" and 1/4" scale.

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Posted by ereimer on Friday, May 19, 2006 10:20 AM
these two books are excellent if you're modeling the west .

the carstens book is a colection of articles from RMC
i recommend , they have a tremendous assortment of titles and fast and reasonably priced shipping (even to canada!)
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Posted by pcarrell on Friday, May 19, 2006 12:38 PM
Check this out;

Just click on "structures". A few of these might work!
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Posted by MisterBeasley on Friday, May 19, 2006 12:59 PM
This was referenced on page 104 of the latest MR. Good pictures, anyway. They say it's 1880's buildings, but you may find something applicable here.

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Posted by Anonymous on Saturday, May 20, 2006 11:05 PM
For the 1880 buildings I utilized the Denver library image search web site and down loaded 1,200+ pictures for a database of info to draw from. I am modeling colorado so this works. I draftbout my ideas working from photos onto 160 lb. strathmore paper from Hobby Lobby and cut and glue these together - they look like mockups at this point but they will be sided with individual stained lumber and Grandtline window and door castings. This method allows for adjustments to be made for size - fitting a building into a smaller area, etc. Nothing like working from actual photos for authenticity.
I am modeling the 1880 -1930 period and plan on making my city & town transisitional through different time periods by building the layout buildings on bases that can be swapped out. (A way to model more structures and have more loco variety in a limited space)
Hope this helps - Mike
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Posted by Anonymous on Thursday, June 01, 2006 9:54 AM
Many good suggestions posted to this thread. However, there are a number of good sources for HO Civil War era buildings, structures, figures & rolling stock equipment.

But first, I would suggest you join YAHOO! Groups Civil_War_RRs (Civil War Railroads & Modeling) and the sister site Civil_War_Railroads_Pix (Civil War Railroads Pix).

This is a group for individuals interested in the history & modeling of American Civil War Rail Roads. Though we cover the ante-bellum period though the end of Reconstruction, our focus is American railroads from 1860 through 1865. Sample topics include the U.S.M.R.R., the W&A, the O&A, the B&O., sharing model & layout photos, souces of modeling supplies, & archival resources. We are proud of our ever expanding bibliography of primary & secondary souces on railroads in the Civil War. Our goals are (1) to help preserve & disseminate Civil War railroad history and (2) to be an aid to individuals modeling the railroads and railway systems of this period. Group discussions & sharing are encouraged.

Tons of info, photos, data files, help with scratchbuilding, etc.

As to vendors, I short & quick suggestion would be the following:

For Figures & Buildings:

Musket Minitures & Rustic Rails
Manufacturers of a vast array of scale period figures in pewter, also buildings and scenery items. 22MM Figures were originally made under Stone Mountain Miniatures.
Today Stone Mountain Miniatures produces 15mm ACW figures.

Cast resin buildings, tents etc . . .
Cast metal Figures - Union, Confederate soldiers, civilians, train crews etc. . . .
Fences and Bridges
Horse Drawn Wagons
Detail Parts and Accessories

B.T.S. (Better Than Scratch)
They make proper period HO:
Open Wood Rick
Covered Wood Rick
A Listing of BTS Civil War Acceptable Kits

For Rolling Stock:

B.T.S. (Better Than Scratch)

They make proper period HO:
USMRR House Car (Box Car)
USMRR Nine-Stake Flatcar
USMRR Five-Stake Flatcar

Additional BTS projects include:
Georgia RR Boxcar
USMRR Open Stock Car
Georgia RR Flat Car
Adams Express Car
USMRR Peaked Roof Box Car
Dictator Mortar
Conductor Car
Water Tank

Although there are no HO scale link & pin couplers, there are a number of O scale L&P's that can be used effectively. Such as:

Keyport Car & Foundry
Jerry Daub, proprietor
732 739-1799 (offcie)
732 264-6702 (fax)
82 Atlantic Street
Keyport, NJ 07735
Accepts checks, money orders and cashier checks made out to Keyport Car & Foundry.
Excellent couplers and fit older equipment well.

9520 Napier Avenue,
Benton Harbor, MI 49022
Phone: (877) 697-9731
Fax: (269) 944-1901
Manufactured a white metal link and pin coupler in HO scale. These are more appropriate for S scale or On3 than HO because they are oversized: but serviceable. The couplers by Keyport Car & Foundry are more in scale.

The Back Shop
P.O. Box 15285,
Sacramento, California 95851-0285 U.S.A.

Here is the complete list of O-Scale link 'n pin-related couplers:

013 Gilpin Tram style, with draft gear, 2/$2.75
039 West Side Lumber style, 2/$2.90
040 West Side Lumber style, with draft gear, 2/$4.95
402 Bachmann shank, for freight car, 4/$3.95
403 Kadee #5 shank, 4/$3.95
404 Kadee #26 shank, 4/$3.95
405 Bachmann shank, for Porters, 2/$3.45
406 Rooster ends (use wood or plastic for reach), 2/$2.50
413 coupler pockets (see image on W.W. Prather page), 2/$2.75

You may need to rework them to fit your equipment.

Hope that helps.
Steve Borona
Pensacola, FL

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Posted by Jetrock on Thursday, June 01, 2006 1:10 PM
It would be helpful to have more of an idea of region--1860 era buildings could mean elaborate early Victorian architecture, or rude log cabins and shacks. We are also assuming that this is even an American layout--an 1860 English layout would be a whole different beast!

nfuehner, can you tell us more about your layout--where is its setting? what are you attempting to model?
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Posted by fsm1000 on Friday, June 02, 2006 4:21 AM
I have to laugh because I too was gonna ask how, where etc to get such info. Thanks for all of it guys. :)
My name is Stephen and I want to give back to this great hobby. So please pop over to my website and enjoy the free tutorials. If you live near me maybe we can share layouts. :) Have fun and God bless.

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