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Collection Tier:
Tier 2

Life Magazine, December 15, 1955

Identifier:
2014.42.1
Description:
The December 15, 1955 issue of Life Magazine that includes a holiday article featuring the Herpolsheimer's Child Train.

The train was originally installed in the toy department of Herpolsheimers, where it was used as an amusement ride for children. This train is a familiar icon to many baby boomer era Grand Rapids residents, who remember shopping at the downtown Herpolsheimers as children, and riding the train around the toy department. It is an important part of the community's memory. Technologically, its 'space age' look ties it to the futuristic optimism of the Post-World War II era.

The train is painted with a jungle theme. The donation includes three passenger cars, twenty-one I-beam track segments, one electric motor, one control panel, thirty-seven electric conduit segments, and miscellaneous hardware. Accordion sections of rubber are attached to each car, which served as the connectors between cars. Each car is outfitted with four small bench seats, to hold two children each.

When the Herpolsheimer's building became City Centre Shopping Center and finally Mackie's World, it was moved to the basement food court and continued use for the same purpose. The train was always owned by the successive owners of the Herpolsheimers Department Store building at the corner of Fulton and Division Streets.
Date:
December 15 1955
Materials:
Paper
Current Location Status:
In Storage;On Exhibit
Source:
Museum Purchase
Exhibits/Programs
TOYS! (2018 – 2019)
The Grand Rapids Public Museum will present an interactive, multi-generational exhibition of toys and games sure to rekindle childhood memories and spark the creation of new ones.  This GRPM original exhibit will feature toys and games from the museum’s collections in meticulously crafted displays representing childhood in different eras.

TOYS! (2018 – 2019)
The Grand Rapids Public Museum will present an interactive, multi-generational exhibition of toys and games sure to rekindle childhood memories and spark the creation of new ones.  This GRPM original exhibit will feature toys and games from the museum’s collections in meticulously crafted displays representing childhood in different eras.
Maker/Donor
Herpolsheimer's
In 1865, William G. Herpolsheimer and Charles G. A. Voigt, two young businessmen, established the Voigt, Herpolsheimer & Company, a dry goods and carpet store in Michigan City, Indiana before relocating to Grand Rapids, Michigan in 1870. The partnership between Voigt and Herpolsheimer ended in 1902 with Voigt taking over the flour mills and Herpolsheimer the store. Herpolsheimer's Firm continued to operate department stores until it was sold in 1987 making it one of the longest-running retail establishments in West Michigan.
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