The Herald Bulletin

Evening Update


September 26, 2013

Toys and trains, oh my!

Alexandria hosts first vintage show

ALEXANDRIA, Ind. — As a child, Bob Lenhart’s favorite toy was a used Lionel train set his dad bought for him. Without a lot of money to go around, Lenhart recalled, “I would make villages out of cardboard, and color them … We used our imagination back then.”

The nostalgia and delight of those old childhood toys and fascinating trains can be yours next weekend, as a Vintage Toy and Train Show comes to Alexandria for the first time. The event takes place Saturday, Oct. 5, from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. inside the 4-H Building in Beulah Park during Alexandria’s Small Town USA Festival.

Alexandria resident and vintage toy aficionado Lenhart has been instrumental in bringing the show to Alexandria, which is being organized by David Moree of Kokomo. Visitors to the event can expect to see the building filled with the offerings of vintage toy and train vendors, as well as a working train display. It’s a familiar venue to Lenhart, although this will be the first time for a show on his home turf.

“I collect toys as a hobby,” said Lenhart. It all started about 25 years ago, when Lenhart and his wife, Marilyn, stopped in Berea, Ky., and poked their noses into some antique shops.

“I saw this little tin plane,” said Lenhart. That’s all it took to get Lenhart’s hobby started. The little plane, which Lenhart still owns, was a brightly colored Sea Patrol on pontoons, manufactured by Ohio Art in the 1950s. The toy likely resonated for Lenhart because of his own childhood experience with airplanes.

At a mere 8 months of age, Lenhart had his first airplane ride. It was probably a Piper Cub his father was flying that day, Dec. 7, 1941 — the day the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor.

Lenhart’s dad started out as a plumber in Kansas. After handling a plumbing job at the local airport, he sold the family car and went to flying school. His wife earned her pilot’s license, too. They flew in shows, took people for rides and ran a flying school in Kansas. Eventually, they moved to Marion, Ind., where the senior Lenhart served as general manager of the airport until World War II uprooted the family. During the war, Lenhart’s dad served as a flight instructor for the Martin B-26 bomber.

So when Lenhart spotted that little toy plane decades later, it spoke to him of his own childhood.

“I think there’s a strong connection between people and toys. It brings back fond memories,” said Lenhart.

After Lenhart picked up that first vintage toy, one thing led to another.

“I didn’t know there were toy collectors. I didn’t know there were toy shows,” said Lenhart. He quickly learned. Now, vintage toys of all kinds grace his Colonial Revival house in Alexandria, where they look perfectly at home. Lenhart also participates in shows himself.

Lenhart’s extensive collection includes tin wind-up toys, train sets and pieces, cast-iron toys, toy soldiers and accessories, Auburn Rubber cars and trucks, and more.

“The oldest one I have dates back to the 1800s,” said Lenhart. That item would be a small cast-iron toy with movable parts that features a circus ringmaster and a girl on horseback. It is operated by putting a rope on a flywheel, and pulling.

Another one of Lenhart’s fun toys is his G-man tommy gun made of tin with a wooden stock. He remembers his dad brought him such a toy when he was child.

For all of the fun stuff in his collection, and all in surprisingly nice condition, Lenhart, a true collector, admits, “My favorite toy is the one I’m going to find tomorrow.”

Lenhart is hopeful that Madison County residents will come to Beulah Park next weekend to get in on all the fun. He said the trains especially attract a lot of families, or grandparents bringing their grandkids. He loves to see eyes light up when people spot a once-loved toy, and say, “I played with that.”

“I just enjoy it. I think the general public would enjoy coming,” said Lenhart. “I hope we can expect a ton of people to show up.”

Like Nancy Elliott on Facebook and follow her on Twitter @NancyElliott_HB, or call 640-4805.

Text Only
  • FEA - HB0423 - food truck file -NE Food Truckin' Thursday returns

    A new favorite that combines food and cars is rolling back into town next week. Food Truckin' Thursday starts back up May 1. For about six months, local vendors will pull up their food trucks to Citizens Park Plaza at Ninth and Main streets from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

    April 23, 2014 2 Photos

  • Spotlight on the kids When pianist Nathan Cook started volunteering for the special education program at Anderson High School, he started mulling over ideas how he could do more to help.

    April 23, 2014

  • FEA HB0423 Tipton Community Briefs: April 23

    A compilation of community news as published in the Wednesday edition of The Herald Bulletin.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Community Briefs: April 22

    A compilation of community news as published in the Tuesday edition of The Herald Bulletin.

    April 22, 2014

  • life saver.jpg Man credited with saving life says he was doing his job

    When Richard Goff walked into Louis Moyer's home, he smelled gas.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • FEA HB0421 Silent Movie 2 Acting without words

    Nineteen area students will take a walk down the red carpet Tuesday evening as their film projects premiere at the Paramount Theatre during the WRC Silent Film Festival.

    April 20, 2014 2 Photos

  • Community Briefs: April 21

    A compilation of community news as published in the Monday edition of The Herald Bulletin.

    April 20, 2014

  • FEA - HB0420 - Cross carrier - JC 2 Crossing over to Christianity

    Tim Hanshew lives by 1 Corinthians 1:18: “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” For the past six years, he has shared that power by carrying a large wooden cross throughout Anderson.

    April 19, 2014 4 Photos

  • 2014 Debutante Cotillion participants

    The 11 participants in this year’s Debutante Cotillion Beautillion Militaire were asked a variety of questions, including their influences, words that describe themselves and favorite “words to live by.” The event begins at 4 p.m. Saturday, April 26, at Madison Park Church of God, 6607 Providence Drive. Call Antoinette Davis at 620-2229 for tickets, which are $270 per table or $30 each.

    April 19, 2014

  • FEA - HB0420 - 1008 Location, location, location When imagining the house of a farmer, people don’t tend to envision the home built by George and Nancy Likens. By pouring time and attention into their haven since they originally constructed the house in 1975, they have created an updated and lovely environment in the perfect setting.

    April 19, 2014 6 Photos

Reader Pet Photos

We're looking for your best pet photos! Share your photos of your favorite non-human companions in our new photo gallery. Click here to upload your photos

Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
More Resources from The Herald Bulletin