Walter Abbenseth Operating Slauson Tower

Jack Finn Collection

Jack Finn Collection

Walter Abbenseth (1926-2006), one of the original trustees of the Pacific Electric Railway Historical Society and life-long friend of our founder, Jack Finn, stands at his post in Slauson Tower.  Walter loved the Pacific Electric and his legacy is carried out with the cars and materials he collected and donated to the Orange Empire Railway Museum, where he was also a life-long member.

Jack Finn Collection

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  • Everett Neal
    Reply

    One the PE cars that I am grateful to Walter Abbenseth for saving from the srap heap is PE #1001.

  • Bob Davis
    Reply

    I visited Walter at the tower (and gave him a ride home) back in the late 60’s or early 70’s. It was probably just before the tower was closed, because there wasn’t really enough traffic after the Long Beach Line quit in 1961. When there weren’t any trains in the area, Walter would be making roll signs for his PE cars. Note the clock labeled “Pacific Standard Time”. Walter had no use for “Daylight Saving Time”, calling it “Daylight Wasting Time”. I prefer to call it “Activity Rescheduling Time”, because it doesn’t save a microsecond of daylight, it just makes businesses, schools and goverment entities start their daily routines an hour earlier.

  • Everett Neal
    Reply

    Although Walter Abbenseth did purchase PE #1001 (then rail grinder #00199) from the PERy, did he remain the owner while the car was housed and presevered at the OERM up until his death?
    What about the other rail equipment he obtained for the OERM?

  • Gary Starre
    Reply

    Walter bought the 1001 in 1954, and owed it at least through 1964, since I have seen a bill from OETM asking him to bring current his $2/month rent bill. Rent charged to car owners is one of the ways the museum financed itself in the early 60’s. By the early to mid 70s, the Museum required that it be the ownership of members’ equipment stored on its property, so nearly all the car owning members, including Walter transferred their ownership, There are still a few non-owned cars at OERM, owned by other groups.

  • Everett Neal
    Reply

    Thanks for sharing that info, Mr. Starre.

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