Norman C. Muller and his museum made the national news in the summer of 1956 when he attempted to acquire another high profile historical streetcar to go with No. 4144. The United Press story below ran in a variety of newspapers, including the Anniston Star
in Anniston, Alabama (June 21, 1956), the Brazosport Facts
in Freeport, Texas (July 3, 1956) and the Provo, Utah Daily Herald
(July 8, 1956).
Transit Museum Man Seeks Oldest Street Car
LORAIN, O. (UP) – Norman C. Muller, who runs a transportation museum here, is making a concerted effort to do right by old 0140, the oldest street car in the world. Muller said the ancient electrical vehicle, which the Cleveland Transit System gave to the Ford Museum in Dearborn, Mich., two years ago, is “sitting out in the weather with no protection or without even a badly needed coat of paint.” He wants the Transit Board to get old 0140 back in Ohio. At the museum now is 4144, the last street car to run in Ohio, and Muller wants to give it company.
Muller was not successful in his attempt to acquire 0140 and today it is still part of the Henry Ford Museum
By the late 1950s, it appears that things were winding down at Norman C. Muller’s museum.
According to the 1957 Lorain City Directory, a church – First Assembly of God
– had already taken up residence at 5459 Broadway. The church shared its pastor, Keith Smith, with Lorain Gospel Tabernacle
on E. 31st Street in Lorain, which continued to appear for one more year in the directory. It seems that both congregations were then consolidated at the 5459 Broadway location as Broadway Assembly
In July 1958, Norman C. Muller listed his house at 223 E. Cooper Foster Park for sale or trade. An ad which ran in the July 11, 1958 Sandusky Register
stated, “Would like to trade for small farm Norwalk or Berlin Twps.”
And what about No. 4144?
|Courtesy of Dennis Lamont|
Dennis Lamont saw it shortly before it was scrapped. Referring to the above photo, he explained that it represents the “last days of Norm’s trolley.”
“His coat of “green” Southwestern paint has worn down to the original Cleveland Transit System colors and the church bus is in the new driveway.
“This is about the time I saw it last. It was not in good condition but unfortunately absolutely nothing was salvaged when it was scrapped,” said Dennis.
The book Cleveland’s Transit Vehicles: Equipment and Technology
by Jim Toman and Blaine S. Hayes indicates that No. 4144 was scrapped in 1962.
The Trolley Dodger website provides additional history about 4144, the man who designed it and the reason as to why it was not salvaged by Gerald E. Brookins, the man behind Trolleyville, U.S.A. You can read this interesting post here
Norman C. Muller and his wife eventually moved to Richland County. A 1968 article in the Mansfield News-Journal
indicates that he had been keeping busy as the caretaker at “one of Ohio’s oldest and most attractive roadside parks” near Olivesburg. It seems like an appropriate position for someone who brought a lot of enjoyment to the children who enjoyed his miniature train.
Streetcar buffs certainly appreciate his efforts to salvage an important part of transportation history for others to enjoy.
He passed away on January 19, 2001.
|The corner of South Broadway and Cooper Foster Park today|
UPDATE (November 10, 2016)
Be sure to follow this link
to my new post about the Arlington Traction Company featuring fantastic photos of the kids riding the cars!