Photo courtesy Terry Dunbar: Eatonville's Terry Dunbar's model train display can be viewed at Center Street Junction and Mercantile until Jan. 1, 2021.
Photo courtesy Terry Dunbar: Eatonville's Terry Dunbar's model train display can be viewed at Center Street Junction and Mercantile until Jan. 1, 2021.

Eatonville’s Terry Dunbar has brought the magic of the holidays to a new generation of residents with a 4x8 Lionel O-gauge model train layout.

The display can currently be seen in the front window of Center Street Junction and Mercantile in Eatonville.

“I have always been interested in model trains, but I wasn’t a huge fan. I didn’t have a setup at home or anything,” Dunbar said. “But I attended a gun show and one of the guys there approached me and asked if I would be interested in buying his collection. I was intrigued, so later I went to his house to look at it and bought the whole thing.”

Dunbar asked management at Center Street Junction if he could try to set up his model train layout in an empty display window, and they agreed.

“I had never done something like that before,” he said.

The helpful staff at the store helped Dunbar in setting up by bringing him several pieces to use in his display.

“They were really awesome. They brought me little buildings and things like that to use,” Dunbar explained.

Dunbar created a partial version of the town, placing buildings and roads in place as they are in Eatonville with signs to identify each one, including Kirk's Pharmacy and the Pour House.

Dunbar also added some personal touches, reflecting his sense of humor and providing hidden gems for viewers to find.

“There are little things hidden around in there, some dinosaurs and silly stuff like that,” he said.

Around Thanksgiving, Dunbar added a group of turkeys, there to protest the traditional holiday turkey dinners by holding signs encouraging diners to eat ham instead.

“When I set this up, I had no experience,” Dunbar added. “I found some groups on Facebook. Those have been very helpful.”

Dunbar visits the display every other day, checking it over and cleaning the track to remove accumulated carbon buildup.

He said children have been particularly enchanted by the Christmas display, and their interest makes him hopeful he can help bring the magic of model trains to a new generation.

“Maybe after all of the restrictions of COVID-19 have been lifted, and if there is interest, somebody could start a model train club in town,” Dunbar said. “I think it would be really neat for kids to have something like that here.”

Dunbar said he has permission to keep the window display in place until Jan. 1, 2021.