One of the premiere attractions of our region – Railroads on Parade in Pottersville – may be forced to close their doors. Barbara and Clarke Dunham, the owners of the magnificent displays -- featuring dozens of model trains in incredibly detailed settings -- say they can no longer sustain the business.
A backer of the project needs to withdraw his investment, and when that happens the doors will close on the attraction in October, Barbara Dunham told Schroon Laker today.
“There is not a possible way of reimbursing our backer in the situation we're in,” Barbara said. Both the Dunhams and the investor have sunk a substantial amount into the business, which is housed in an old auto repair shop on Route 9.
The attraction has been operating on a very tight budget and has not been able to advertise, relying solely on brochures and word of mouth.
“Without advertising. It’s just not possible to catch up. He (the investor) needs to pull out. We don’t know what we're doing. We are looking for an entity that would like to take over Railroads on Parade. It can be local, it would better if it were. It could be in Glen Falls, Saratoga, Albany, Lake George, or here, but it is a difficult and untenable situation at this point”.
Railroads on Parade is largely dependent on weather conditions, in terms of how large an audience it can attract.
“On rainy days we're packed. On sunny days we're empty and the problem being that we haven't had the money to even advertise. We're basically going on brochures”.
Ideally Barbara just wants to find a home for the attraction, where it will continue running, whether “it’s somebody who wants to make a profit from it or run the attraction as a non-profit”.
Barbara and Clarke own and operate Dunham Studios, which build and design from scratch high end custom model train layouts for enthusiasts at their Pottersville workshop, which is separate from Railroads on Parade
They got into the model train business almost by accident. Up until 1987, Clarke was a very successful Broadway set designer, nominated for two consecutive Tony Awards in 1984 and 1985.
That led to many commercial projects, which included designing and fabricating the Christmas train exhibit at Citicorp Center in New
York City. That exhibit ran annually for many years, before the Dunhams moved the bulk of the display – and other scenics – to their Pottersville location.