T.T.O.S. Southwestern Division Cal-Stewart Meet

The History of the Cal-Stewart Meet

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Cal-Stewart is the name given to two different California based toy train collector and operator meets. The name of these meets is derived from a Nor-Cal TCA member named Don Stewart, who came up with the idea Everyone eagerly awaits the opening of the trading hall doors on Saturday morning at Cal-Stewart back in the early 1970's to create and have these meets. His dream was to see unification of those individuals interested in the toy train operating and collecting hobby in the state of California by having both a southern based and northern based toy train meet occur every year. He envisioned toy train enthusiasts from all over the world gathering in large numbers to buy, sell, and talk trains. Don's goal was realized when the first Cal-Stewart meet was held in the Southern California area in the fall of 1973 under the auspices of the T.T.O.S. Southwestern Division (SW). The envisioned unification came as the Northern California division of the Train Collectors Association (TCA) began holding an annual train meet in the late winter or early spring of the following year. Unfortunately, Don Stewart was not around to see his vision realized. Don Stewart had passed away suddenly in May of 1973 after being involved in a tragic automobile accident.

The idea for this unified train meet was brainstormed by Don Stewart and a group of west coast meet organizers including Herb Morley, Ralph Pauly and John Daniel in the early 1970's.  Don Stewart had been Enjoying the festivities at the John King Memorial Party very passionate about organizing west coast train meets. After Don's death, John Daniel took the idea of a west coast, twice a year event, that would include both T.T.O.S. and TCA members, to the T.T.O.S. Southwestern Division Board of Directors to get the concept rolling. John Daniel proposed that since the meet was a California event and was the idea of Don Stewart, that it be called the Cal-Stewart meet in Don's memory.

The first Cal-Stewart meet was held at the Huntington Sheraton Hotel, and was chaired by John Daniel. Philomena Stewart, Don's widow, registered for every Spring and Fall Cal-Stewart Meet in memory of her husband after his passing. The meets have continued over the years at other venues, including the Pasadena Convention Center, where it was held for over 20 years. In 2012 the meet was moved to the Ontario Convention center. In 2016 the meet will be held at the Pomona Fairplex for the first time.

In the past, the Fall Cal-Stewart meet honored the memory of John King with a cocktail party held on Friday evening in his name. John King was the life of the SW Division and contributed much to the early success of the Fall event. He loved to be the auctioneer at the annual event and encouraged new young collectors to feel welcome into the hobby of toy train collecting and operating.

The Cal-Stewart logo (which appears at the top of this page) was the creation of Ward Kimball, famous Walt Disney animator and long time west coast train collector and musician. Mr. Kimball joined the Disney Animation Studios in 1934, and is best remembered for his creation of Jiminy Cricket in the movie, Pinocchio. He worked in a variety of areas for the Walt Disney Company, and his love of trains not only started Walt on the hobby, but was reflected in his work as a consultant for the EPCOT attraction, The World of Motion. Kimball retired from the Disney Studio in 1973, but emerged for special assignments. In 1978, he served as the conductor on the "Birthday Special," a whistle-stop train tour from Union Station in Los Angeles to New York City in celebration of Mickey Mouse's 50th birthday. He was honored as a Disney Legend in 1989. Ward was known for having one of the largest collections of antique toys and trains dating from 1870. He is also known for building and operating his own full-sized railroad of restored steam locomotives and cars in the back yard of his San Gabriel, California home.

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Burbank, Ca 91506
818-848-2653

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