Charleston  Chapter,
National Railway Historical Society

Chapter Officers for 2012:

Vice President
V P Coastal Plains
Art Giardino
Peter Buhl
Pat Merriam
I. D. Smith
Art Giardino

National Director
Editor of Newsletter
Museum Curator
Art Giardino
Tommy Burkhalter
Alex McIntosh
Pete Stabovitz
Mary Lehr

     The Chapter's activities include promoting awareness of the history of railway transportation, participating in activities related to the Best Friend of Charleston (including its preservation and the preservation of Southern Railway artifacts displayed in the Best Friend Museum), excursions, visiting other museums and helping with the functions of the South Carolina Railroad Museum that is located near Winnsboro, SC on the former Rockton & Rion trackage.  The CCNRHS were the founding fathers of the SCRM and furnished much of the rolling stock to SCRM, including a dining car and the 1927 Baldwin engine, Hampton and Branchville, Steam Engine #44 that SCRM at one time operated.
CCNRHS mailing address:
CCNRHS E-mail:
P. O. Box 21561, Charleston SC  29413
CCNRHS Membership:                                                                                           Membership Application: Over 1900 NRHS members worldwide.  More than 170 Chapters.  Established in 1935.  The application lists the dues for the current membership year.  Those who are already a member of the NRHS may join the Charleston Chapter.  A "Friend of the Chapter" membership is available to those who are interested in receiving our monthly newsletter and participating in Chapter activities on the local level.  All interested individuals are encouraged to join us in our efforts to promote and preserve the history of transportation.
CCNRHS Donations:
The CCNRHS is a 501-C organization and all donations may be claimed as a tax deduction.
CCNRHS Schedule:
Schedule of Events

N E W S 

Now on display at the Best Friend Museum, HO scale model of Jackson Square, New Orleans LA, that survived Katrina.  This beautiful hand crafted model is museum quality.

Thanks to Mike West for the G Gauge Thomas the Tank display at the Best Friend Museum, located at the Citadel Mall on Sam Rittenberg Blvd, Charleston SC.  Thomas and James roll their eyes and chug along on their tracks, delighting the children at the museum.  Please join us T/T 5-9 and S/S 1-5 for some great history lessons and loads of fun.

Best Friend Museum has new display of Southern Railway System scale no. P-2096. The scale was used for weighing cottom bales at the Camden Towers when Southern Railway was headquartered there. We thank Ms. Doris Ferguson for this donation.

CCNRHS Archives:

ACL Seniority List of Conductors 1885-1911

Best Friend Blueprints

Best Friend Models

Best Friend Newsletter 1967 - 1999

Best Friend Poems and The Best Friend Children's Book

Captain John M. LeCato Memorial

Charleston Chapter Charter Members

Charleston Chapter History

Ezra L. Miller . his patents . his suicide . his great niece's correspondence . responses

Library collections . Blum . Ellis . Moore . Scarbrough . Stabovitz . Whipple

Personalities . The Gray Bros . O Winston Link . Colonel Elliott Springs . Joshua Lionel Cohen

Pictures and Articles . Baber . Ben Baldwin at RailCamp . "Deezel" . Dotterer . Fetters' Letters . LeCato . Ravenel . I D Smith . John Smith . Stabovitz

Photographs and Drawings of the Best Friend of Charleston

Photographs of SC RR Stations and other Photograph Collections . Stations . Cars . Trains . Cabooses .
Miniature Trains . RR Safety Posters . Charleston Storm of 1911 . RR Gazette 1874 . Album of New York

Railroad Information Reference Data (RRIRD)


      Do you have a "Friend"ly Face?  Have you had your picture taken with the Best Friend of Charleston? Follow this link and see if your picture is included or send us a photo from your train visit and be a "Friend"ly Face on our website.  We have photographs from:
November 2005
February 2006...College of Charleston
April 2006...SRHA Conventioneers
November 2006
April 2007 with Bubbles in the Air
July 2007


          The Best Friend of Charleston Railway Museum was opened in July 2010.  Located at The Citadel Mall, 2070 Sam Rittenberg Drive, the museum offers a variety of railroad artifacts, an extensive library of railway books and magazines and working trains in O, HO, G, and HOm gauges. 

        The artifacts displayed are from the original Best Friend Museum that was once operated by our Chapter and the City of Charleston.  The original museum was under the direction of curator, Captain John M. LeCato, and City Director, Susan Griffin.  When the museum was closed at its location in the William Aiken House, the aryifacts were stored away for future display.  The opportunity to dislay them in the new Best Friend of Charleston Railway Museum was an unexpected pleasure and we are pleased to have added new displays since the museum's opening.  Donations from rail fans have increased our collection to include a manual light switch, tracks from the phosphate mining operations once prevalent in Charleston and a collection of trains and toys dating back to the time of George Washington's presidency.

         Children are allowed to operate the trains and play with the Thomas the Tank Table, where Thomas, Percy, Lady, Harold and various other Thomas characters welcome them.  A Lego City Train runs around the CCNRHS conference table and children are allowed free reign.

             The recently added HOm trolley from Switzerland is our newest working model.  The trolley is equipped with a cog that allows it to climb a 30º incline and we are hoping to locate a track that will allow us to demonstrate this feature.

             Please visit the Best Friend of Charleston Railway Museum on Tuesday and Thursdays from 5 to 9 and Saturdays and Sundays from 1 to 5.


     Carl Blum began a wonderful tradition when he put in place the Best Friend Model Train Show in 1999.  This yearly display each November is for model railroaders and it is held at the Danny Jones Armory in North Charleston.  After the 2006 show Carl asked Mary Lehr to assume the role as the show director.

     Carl also offers tours to one and all at his home on Johns Island.  He is very generous in sharing his model trains.  Read about Carl and his fascinating collection of model trains.

Original website developed by E. Rosier on a PowerMac
Site revised by CCNRHS in March 2005
Webmaster Mary Lehr
c2004 CCNRHS