August 3, 2008

Volunteers add gardens and a train at Ridgewood

Forget KRM: Amtrak is already making a daily run in Racine.

The proof is above, showing the train speeding along the track around the oriental water garden at the Ridgewood Care Center, Racine County's 210-bed nursing home located at 3205 Wood Road.

OK, it's just a model train (unless those are gigantic flowers!), but it sure is pretty. Volunteers have been maintaining the garden areas at Ridgewood since 1999. There are many gardens, but to the right of the main entrance is a lily pond, a small waterfall and a blooming flower garden. And snaking around the garden and lily pond is a double set of train tracks.

When I visited on Friday, there was an Amtrak train making the rounds. But resident Norm Voll, 86, a retired mailman who was watching the train from the lobby, said that on some days a 4x4 switching engine, pulling a caboose, makes the rounds. Voll knows his trains; he used to have his own N gauge set, far smaller than the one at Ridgewood.

Ridgewood's tracks were donated by Tim Zuch, whose wife, Rhonda, works at the center. Another train enthusiast, John Pixler, donated engines and assistance.

Here's another picture of the setup:

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