Adapted letter from Dorothy Kline (c.1980) remembering her sons’ excitement as they watched the trains come and go from the windows of their home near the District Line Station.
“How dear to my heart are the scenes of my sons’ childhood, when fond recollection presents them to view” (apologies to Samuel Woodworth).
We lived in a small bungalow for 43 years near the District Line Station. There was nothing between us and the railroad tracks. The trains were a constant pleasure and amusement for my sons. They got to know all the engineers and brakemen. And knew the sound of each engine's whistle. When an engine blew its whistle, my sons would say “That’s old number such and such.”
During the winter months, these little fellows would run to the windows and watch the trains coming and going. They watched the coal cars unload for F.L. Watkins Coal yard.
When the boys began school, they would have to cross the field and go under the railroad trestle, the one that the engine fell off, and did that shake our little house. The boys loved to go to the Round house also.
One of the most interesting events from our view of the Chesapeake Beach trains, were the crowds of people who came by trolley from D.C. on Sunday mornings. During the summer months the trolleys would cross Roosevelt Avenue on tracks beside the station, and hundreds of people with picnic baskets, fishing tackle, etc. would board the train heading for the beach. At night the trains would return with crowds of happy tired people.
During the summer, every Friday was Ladies Day, we could take the children and go down and back for 25 cents. You can be assured the train was full of children. I can see the quaint coaches, the lamps swinging from the motion of the cars.
After reaching Chesapeake Beach, how the children would race to the carousel and the picnic tables. The arrival of the Dreamland from Baltimore was the great excitement of the day. Crowds getting off at the pier, then later the departure of the Dreamland was something to see.
It was sad for us, especially my little sons, when the trains stopped – autos took away those dear old trains
I never needed a babysitter while the old Chesapeake trains were operating, my sons loved and enjoyed those trains and due to them, I was a happy and grateful mother.