NELS Track At The Box Factory

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Steve Bratina
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Joined: Tue Jan 16, 2007 9:39 pm
Location: Cambridge Ontario

Re: NELS Track At The Box Factory

Post by Steve Bratina » Wed Dec 18, 2019 11:52 am

I don't know why the pictures are upside down. They are the right way on my computer and as Keith says, they expand the right way.

Posts: 550
Joined: Sun Feb 22, 2009 9:21 pm
Location: massachusetts,usa

Re: NELS Track At The Box Factory

Post by steamingdon » Wed Dec 18, 2019 12:57 pm

They don`t expand right-side up on mine either. Must be that Knob Creek syndrome.

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Joined: Mon Aug 15, 2005 11:13 am
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Re: NELS Track At The Box Factory

Post by JohnK » Thu Dec 19, 2019 4:51 pm

I very much liked Jim Leggett's conclusion that the track "was a victim of its own success". Further to that, I just got off the phone with someone who was a visitor to NELS/Danvers many times when he was a kid (1940s), who knew Lester and Joe Friend, and, who was one of Lester's "track painters and grass cutters" as a teenager. His recollection was that it (Danvers) broke up in or about 1956. He cited: poor track condition, rotting from the inside out (fresh paint applied on the outside each year, w/ critters and termites residing inside the structure); declining interest & low morale among members; and, he emphasized, "lack of leadership". This matches all the stories I've ever heard from those who were there.

If you "read between the lines" regarding the last point, which, you have to do when few, if any, would (when they were alive) come right out and say what happened, and when those still alive still sort of tapdance around the subject...then "reading between the lines" about "lack of leadership" you might deduce this: that Lester lost interest about 1950 and "moved on" to other things (both points not in dispute), and left things to son Joe (also not in dispute). The "between the lines" part is this: "lack of leadership" seems to be a "dig" at Joe Friend, the general feeling being that Joe didn't put the same effort into running & maintaining things in the 1950s, that Lester had done when building the track and managing/operating it, back in the 1930s. As a result, maintenance was non-existent, morale went right down, and membership dropped off. He may even have been viewed by many members, as "not cut from the same cloth" as his father. In fairness to Joe, who I never met and who's not here to clarify things or defend himself, he was indeed "not" his father, he was Joe; and perhaps he could not fill Lester's shoes (or didn't want to). Finances remain a question. Did he inherit the box shop? Did he have access to his father's endless supply of money? Would rebuilding the track require him personally to spend his own money on materials?

A very important question might be, "did Joe want to live Joe's life and Joe's dreams, or, his father's"?

Regardless, by 1956/57/58, it was time to completely rebuild the track, or call it quits.

How Danvers fell apart in the 1950s is a story I've heard many, many times from the dwindling pool of people who were there and who knew Lester and Joe personally. All these stories have given enough information to answer the "why?", while being very vague about the actual ending, and without coming out and blaming any one person or group for its failure and dissolution.

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