The Story of Wink

(L to R): Allyce Johnson and Husband Dick and their Aunt Marge Warner, Marge’s daughter Judy Parker, and the Johnson’s grandson Michael Nowell.

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Trolley Car #93 Restoration Project

Recently the Trolley Car #93 Restoration Project team received a request from Richard and Allyce Johnson of Lakewood, New York to show the trolley to their 96 year old Aunt , Marge Warner, formally a Willard Street resident in Jamestown, New York, now residing in Austin Texas with her daughter. It was a little bit of a struggle to get her up and into the trolley, but she was determined. Once seated, she began to reminisce, “I wanted to see my old streetcar”. Marge would spend time with her aunt on Vega Street and then eventually moved onto Willard Street (Swede Hill). “I took the trolley every morning at 8 o’clock.”

As Marge got comfortable in the plush restored trolley seats, she commented that she didn’t remember them being quite that nice. Jim Mitchener, master craftsman on the project, and I, did our best to research the materials used for the trolley. We only had pictures and other old trolley cars to go by. Fortunately we were able to save and reuse some of the original parts. One thing in particular that was savable was the mahogany interior. Jim sanded all of it down to smooth bare wood and then we re-stained and varnished it. But, one piece in particular Jim questioned whether or not to sand down. Just as naughty young kids would carve their names into their wooden school desks, a few individuals with vandalistic tendencies, carved their names into the trolley’s wooden window sill next to the back seat. Jim thought we should preserve this bit of written history, and I agreed.

I don’t know what made me think of it, but it came to me as Marge was talking, “Who was Wink?” I asked. Then much to our surprise she began… “All I can remember about him is he used to tease me when I was sitting on the trolley. I didn’t really like him. I tried to avoid him and I’d go sit in the back or something.” Then as if to not speak ill of anyone, Marge added, “I guess he was a nice guy.” The moment was priceless, a pure hoot of a story, and I recorded it all on my phone. So ends the story of Wink. Thank you Marge.

Hopefully there is more to come as we continue to keep this piece of history alive and available for the public to see.