No. 170: Modeling The Sitterding, Carneal & Davis Construction Co.

Above: Here’s the Hermitage Road layout as of today.

Most of my little Hermitage Road layout was planned around a single industrial track behind the Seaboard’s Hermitage Yard locomotive shops in Richmond, Virginia. Here’s a Sanborn view, below. That one track had the Alcatraz Co. (paint, varnish and asphalt–what a combination) and the Richmond Cinder Block Co. of Richmond. I felt those two companies would provide opportunities to use box and tank cars (Alcatraz) and cement, gondola, hopper and box cars (Cinder Block Co.). I felt that if I was building a small layout I needed to incorporate as much variety as possible.

The layout was sorta designed around those two industries. I put that track along the back wall of the layout.

I built up a model of Alcatraz based on a few other pictures I had on hand. Here was my version, above. You can see the track wasn’t even laid yet but I was already well-ahead on creating the structures.

Below. I had pretty much finished the model when I decided that I didn’t like it. That’s the curse of freelancing. I really wanted to have at least one industry that included a tight alley with a track running through it, and the prototype Alcatraz fit the bill perfectly. Ultimately I wasn’t satisfied with the low relief of the structure I built. It just didn’t scratch the itch.

About the same time I learned about a large construction company on the nearby Seaboard triple-track main line called Sitterding, Carneal & Davis. S-C-D, as I call it, was a huge construction materials company. They handled lumber, asphalt, plumbing supplies, roofing, and everything in between. Frederick Sitterding was a successful realtor in Richmond during the World War One era, and William Carneal was a well-renowned Virginia architect. Sounds to me like they cornered the market not only in design, but in providing the materials for construction of their own projects. The more I read about S-C-D the more I felt that I should incorporate a version of it into the layout–even though it was served by a siding off the SAL main line.

Around March of 2021 I removed the Alcatraz Co. and started building a version of S-C-D. The real S-C-D included a large conglomeration of wood and brick warehouses, with lots of open land for lumber storage. I built a first version of version of S-C-D from leftovers of the Marshal Canning Co. from my old layout. I added an additional building to the original structure, and a tank or two for asphalt, trying to capture the enormity of the operation. I got about this far, below, but had difficulty matching the finish on the new buildings in the background with the old buildings used for the cannery.

Freelancing is a B-word. Modeling Sitterding, by the way, also gave me a large vacant lot to scenic (see where the red pickup is?). Below: Here’s how it looked early on.

I liked my original S-C-D effort but determined that I could do a lot better, so took it down and replaced it with a new building made from Walthers Modulars. Like the Block Company on the layout, I tried to use a variety of shapes and sizes and edges on the building to break it up a little bit.

Below. I used this photo below as a guide. Fenton Wells sent me this one he took in the 80s. This is part of a furniture factory on the Southern Railway in Lenoir, North Carolina.

Here’s another view of my S-C-D building. I really like the Walthers Modulars but they take a lot of work to line up and assemble cleanly. I suppose that’s why they discontinued the series. Nevertheles,s the look is timeless.

Below. I took this photo around 2001 at the location of the old S-C-D plant. It could be that these buildings are part of the original Sitterding complex. The track in the foreground is CSX, former SAL, near the Broad Street Station.

I haven’t done any work on the layout since mid-December. My son came home and we spent a lot of time together, plus I’ve ben trying to finish up some freight car projects. And of course there’s work–always work. Anyway here’s one that I spent a lot of time on and just finished-a Rock Island “Not-A-Fowler” single-sheathed box car:

I hope you guys have a wonderful week! – John G

3 thoughts on “No. 170: Modeling The Sitterding, Carneal & Davis Construction Co.

  1. I’ve really enjoyed following the Hermitage layout! The pics are excellent, and it looks like its been a fun build. This has been a source of inspiration as I consider building a replacement for my East Penn bookshelf layout.

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  2. Yo Alex, thanks for the kind comments. Have I seen your layout online or somewhere? I’d like to see what you’re doing. And what would you be modeling in it’s place?? I take a lot of inspiration from British layouts–the Brits ae making beautiful, complete, very-well-scenicked layouts in small spaces. It’s amazing how fast building the layout went once I was organized and had everything in hand.

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  3. Hi John, I happened across your post when doing some internet searches around Hermitage Yard. I too model the SAL in Richmond, VA in the 1950s, but my focus is on South yard and the Deepwater Terminal south of the river. Would love to connect and share notes on the seaboard and modeling in general. I live in Richmond.

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