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Old Photos Prompt Memories Of Newtown Trolley



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Priscilla Makowicki found a few old photographs at home on Beechwood Drive that brought her back to the summer of 1979. Her husband decided to build a trolley that summer.

“He got the idea, and we all worked on it. He designed it, and someone donated a car that needed work. There were a few people involved in it,” Ms Makowicki said of Jim Mahowicki, who has since died.

“Someone donated a Volkswagen bug, and we built the trolley around,” she said. “We built it for the Newtown parade and won a prize and got some ice cream.”

The Makowickis, their children, “and the neighborhood kids” all built the trolley. We got some donations and that helped a little bit,” she said.

Naming it after their home address in Sandy Hook, the trolley soon carried the words Beechwood Drive.

The family later donated the trolley to Connecticut Trolley Museum.

The children “had a lot of fun, but it was also a lot of work. I told my husband, ‘I don’t want to do this again,’” Ms Makowicki said.

During the parade, children received tickets to get on the trolley, she said.

Ms Makowicki, who still lives on Beechwood Drive, said “The kids still remember doing that.”

The photos from Ms Makowicki show thhe names Beechwood Drive and Newtown are painted on the side of the trolley car.

One picture appears to be possibly Queen Street, with its brick buildings in the background as people walk behind it and children ride inside.

Another picture shows two women in bonnets and shawls across their shoulders carrying a sign that reads “The Beechwood Trolley brings Newtown’s Past To The Present.”

In a third picture, young children are waving at the photographer; and in another, the trolley is rolling along a street that is not immediately recognizable.

Ms Makowicki said the trolley museum used the vehicle in parades throughout the state. A quick email to the Connecticut Trolley Museum received the following reply from Business Manager Gina Maria Alimberti, “Yes, it was donated to us, and we used it for many years at parades to help promote the museum. It was donated to us in 1979.”

A smiling girl waves at the camera as the Newtown Trolley rolls past what appears to be a parade crowd. Beechwood Drive resident Priscilla Makowicki said her late husband, Jim Makowicki, had worked with her children and neighborhood children to build the trolley in 1979. The vehicle was used in a Newtown parade, she said. —photo courtesy Priscilla Makowicki
Resident Priscilla Makowicki found old trolley photos that she said are from 1979, the year her late husband built a trolley that was used in at least one Newtown Labor Day parade, she said.
The trolley carries the name Beechwood Drive, named for the local road where it was built. —photo courtesy Priscilla Makowicki
According to information available from the Connecticut Trolley Museum, the trolley was “one of the most popular attractions” at parades and fairs. The museum sent a photo to The Bee showing the trolley, “waiting to begin her place in the 350th anniversary parade in Windsor. We numbered the car ‘79’ because it was obtained by Connecticut Electric Railway in 1979.—Photo courtesy Business Manager Gina Maria Alimberti, Connecticut Trolley Museum
The Connecticut Trolley Museum confirmed this week that they did recieve the Newtown Trolley in 1979, and came to town to load it on a trailer. —Photo courtesy Business Manager Gina Maria Alimberti, Connecticut Trolley Museum
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