Was thinking back this morning to the time I had my first HO layout and was remembering all the various Hobby Shops I haunted during those years. The area where I lived had a ton of them & I was wondering if anyone else here on the forum might have been in that area at the time & might remember these same places, a couple of which were "legendary".
In 1959, when I was 11 years old, my family moved down from Maine to South Weymouth, Mass. I had two modeling interests then: HO Trains and military models, mostly World War II stuff. Shortly after moving, my dad & I began building a 4 x 8 layout down in our cellar. We had a small hobby shop just around the corner in Columbian Square. Can't remember the name of it now ( Ithink it might have been Columbian Hobby). He had a fair stock, but mostly pretty much the standard stuff you could find most anywhere. He closed only a year or so later. The void was quickly filled shortly thereafter when a small model railroad shop opened up in the empty Cities Service gas station that sat on the triangle intersection of Columbian St. & Park Ave, only about half a mile away. He had a decent stock, strictly HO, but only lasted a couple years.
The biggest & best in the immediate area was Capeway Hobby Shop, in Weymouth Landing. That was 3 miles away, but my dad & I would drive down often. GREAT stock of model railroad stuff & it well served our needs. But, around 1964, it closed. He sold out his stock to another guy, who re-opened the shop, under the same name, in a different location up the street. But, all he pretty much did was spend a couple years liquidating the old Capeway stock, never getting in much of anything new, and then he too was gone.
About that same time, we heard stories about a hobby shop in No. Quincy, Mass that was apparently already becoming legendary in the area: Fisher's Cycle & Hobby. Half the shop was bicycles & cycle repair. Roy Fogelman tended to that & his wife Jeane ran the hobby shop half. On our first trip there, I was in total awe of the place! Mind Boggling stock!! She had darn near everything in HO stuff you could ever hope for & if she didn't have it, she'd get it for you within a few days. Her selection of model kits & supplies, especially military models, was nothing short of amazing for that time. She did her own importing, something almost unheard of back then. As a result, that is where I was introduced to the incredible variety of 1/72 scale aircraft & armor kits from makers like Airfix, Heller, Frog, Artiplast, Tamiya and L.S.Labs. She also introduced me to Humbrol paints, in their cute little tins, which I came to love & still do to this day.
By our mid to late teens, me & my two best buddies had also broadened our horizons to three great hobby shops in Boston. Before we had our own cars, we would either walk the 3 miles to Weymouth Landing (or talk a parent into giving us a ride), take the bus from there to Ashmont Station in Dorchester & then the subway to South Station in Boston. Just across the square from South Station, on a side street was Boston Model Railroad. Kind of a dark & dingy, tiny place. The guy who ran it was pretty much "old school" Lionel O Gauge & kind of looked down on us lowly HO enthusiasts, be he did carry some HO stuff & we always stopped to check out what he had. A few blocks up the street near the corner of the Boston Common just off Park St. was Hobbytown. Great little hobby shop! He too, did his own importing & had a great selection of hard to find kits & HO stuff. Spent quite a bit of money there over the years.
Then, of course, there was "the Holy Grail" of model railroad shops at the time. Down Park St, past the other end of Boston Common & almost directly across from the famous Old North Church was Eric Fuch's Model Railroad. Strictly model railroad stuff & nearly everything available in the hobby at that time could be found on his shelves! A truly amazing place you could easily spend hours in, just looking at all the stuff, in every gauge. I fondly remember one gentleman who worked there. I had a great deal of respect for him. He was always extremely patient & polite with us, always eager to help & offer advice & tips. You could tell that he just loved to nuture youngsters in the hobby. Don't remember his first name (or if I even ever knew it), but I always addressed him, out of respect, by his surname, Mr. Hawkins. Made an awful lot of purchases from him over the years.
Anyway, virtually all of those places I mentioned are long gone now. I had many happy years patronizing them & was just wondering if anyone else here lived in that area at the time & remembers them.