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