The Kruger Street Toy and Train Museum
(A written "walk-through" of what you can expect to see when you come to visit
the Kruger Street Toy & Train Museum)
Self Guided Tour
(This will just give you some of the highlights, for more details please take the time to read the notes located beside many of the exhibits when you actually visit the museum)
Intro to Building
* The Tin Ceilings, were done by Wheeling Corrugating, and are original.
* The building was built in 1905 and was in use as Elm Grove Grade School, and later Kruger Street Elementary School from 1906 until 1991.
* The wood work around the building is Red Pine.
* The Flooring is also the original that was redone and is Georgia Yellow Pine.
* Between the Doll Room and the Western Room you will notice a case that contains Kids Meal Toys.
* Operating Thomas Layout (ask a museum staff member and they can turn this on for you)
Welcome to the doll room, The Doll Room has items that are usually associated with the popular children's toy of the doll. There are many different popular dolls from over the years. Also this room includes doll houses that showcase many different styles and time periods.
* Please take a moment to notice the hands on items in each room. These are available in some form in every room and you are more then welcome to play with each.
* Lithograph (on the side of the cabinet, immediately in front as entering the room)
- Lithography is ink and not paint. It is printed flat, with one color at a time (like a newspaper). Then the toy is stamped out and formed.
* The Doll Houses (in the cabinets on the right, starting in the second 2nd case)
- Doll houses have been around for a long time and the originals were made from wood, next doll houses started to be made from tin, and were Lithographed. In the early 1970's doll houses went from tin to plastics due to child safety laws that prevented the use of lead based paint in children's toys, and stamped metal parts.
- Dolls houses were popular in all households, due to the use of different selling price points, which made them available for all social classes. There were doll houses that were created at a very low cost and also more extravagant houses that were pricier.
* Chatty Cathy and Mimi (The back room of cabinets in the center of the row)
- These were some of the first talking dolls to be common. The Chatty Cathy had many phrases that she could say and the MiMi Doll came with a record that could be played to hear a song from the region/country she was dressed for.
* Sindy (in the back right hand corner of the room)
- The direct competitor to the Barbie Doll is the Sindy Doll, though not very popular in the United States, this Marx product was very popular with children from Europe.
* The Archies (in the center of the left wall (in the bottom of the case))
- The Archies were a very popular cartoon and they were the first of their type to ever have a number one hit. This hit caused a problem as the Archies were unable to have a tour for the one hit, since number they were not actually real people.
* Mr. Potato Head (move one case left of the Archies)
- Mr. Potato Head was the first toy to ever have an advertisement on Television. This happened in the 1950's as Mr. Potato Head was a sponsor for the Mickey Mouse Club.
- Also, the original Mr. Potato Head did not come with the plastic potato shell, but rather you received the arms, legs, and face and you had to supply your own real potato.
* Barbie (in the front right hand corner of the room)
- Barbie came out in 1959 and was the first dress up doll to be closely portioned to an adult.
Welcome to the Western Room. In this room you will find many toys that are based on popular Western heroes as well as the horses and playsets that show Western American culture. Also, noticeable is this room holds more then just Western toys.
There are miniatures as well as farm playsets.
* Miniatures (Along the right hand wall)
- On the wall, first you will notice the Marx miniatures, and the a bunch of different miniatures that are from many different companies over the years, though many of the figures are from Marx.
- Some Marx figures were also hand painted in the factory.
* Roy Rogers (Located along the back wall, in the center)
- There was a period of about 30 years where Roy was very popular. His real name was Leonard Slye who was from Cincinnati, Ohio and couldn't even ride a horse at first.
* Best of the West (Located in back on the left hand side)
- Many figures were Real Western people. (Custer, Geronimo)
* Two Western Towns (first located above cabinets second in bottom of cabinet)
- Notice how Marx used two similar toys and sold them as two totally different things. This was a common feature many toy companies participated in to save money and keep the consumers interested in new toys.
* Timeless Classics (located on the left hand wall in the center)
- Many toys that have lasted several generations and are enjoyed by many, such as Jacks and yo-yo's.
* Presidents (On the right hand side toward the front wall)
- These toys were created to be educational and help kids learn part of their country's history, but also helped to instill national pride and patriotism.
* Quarter (with the presidents)
- Notice how this quarter that is a bank, is marked with a G. When this quarter was minted as a toy, money was not allowed to be defaced, therefore Marx could not put it's symbol on it. Hence the G is in place of an S (San Francisco) or D (Denver) as the mint mark to mean Glendale, WV.
* Disney Characters (Along the front wall)
- Marx made many of the original Disney toys as Marx Toy Company had the rights to make the miniatures of these famous characters.
Welcome to the combat room. you will find combat toys, actual combat materials such as uniforms. Also, in this room you will find many cars and trucks.
* Trucks (on front wall (walk into the room and turn right))
- The first thing you will notice is the contrast yet similarity between the Tonka Trucks and the Marx trucks.
- Next, is the Hess Trucks, these trucks from the gasoline company Hess was the first toy trucks to be sold at Thanksgiving time by a gas station, and now today we see many other companies replicating this action.
* Cannons (On the right hand wall in the front corner)
- Next you will notice the metal cannons. Though these cannons look common they would probably not be found in a store today since most will shoot real objects. In fact the larger one will shoot an object that is about the size of a shooter marble.
* GI Joe (Next case to the left of Cannons)
- GI Joe, was first "Doll" or action figure that was sold to the male audience. He started in 1964 as a 12 inch figure and in the 80's went to a 3 3/4" character and finally in the 90's Hasbro started producing both.
* Ben Hur and other Action Playsets (next two cases following G.I. Joe)
- This Ben Hur is the rarest of the 3 sets that were sold, by Marx. Also, if you notice other fighting series were created over the years to show different time periods and popular movies. From the Civil War to Robin Hood
* Sputnik/ space (in the back left hand corner)
- For a period of time and even today space toys are very popular. Some including science fiction such as Star Wars and Star Trek, and others that represented the time period such as Cape Canaveral. Other toys from other countries included their space heroes such as this Argentinean toy of Sputnik.
* Matchbox/ Hot Wheels/ Thomas (along left hand wall)
- Matchbox and Hot Wheels are toys that every boy had at least one of, if not an entire collection. In 1949 Matchbox was started and in 1968 Hot Wheels started as the competition. Mattel who owned Hot Wheels later bought out the competition Matchbox. Today many collectors look for the red line on the wheel of the Hot Wheels.
- Another popular TV series and book series is Thomas the Tank Engine.
* Uniforms and Models (around the room)
The combat room holds more than just toys. It also has many real uniforms and also has scale models that have been used in wind tunnels and other testing. Such as the YF-22 Raptor (above the space cabinets) that was made here in the Wheeling Area.
This room is a unique set up, as it does not have one type of toy. This room is a mixture of many different types of toys from all time periods of the 1900's
* Rock em Sock Em Robots (Inside first case on the left)
- A Marx toy that is still seen today in new variations
* Typewriters (Inside second case on the left)
- The original toy typewriters were made so that each letter was dialed in and only one letter could be done at a time. In the 70's Marx created the Marxwriter which functions as a real typewriter.
* Police and Fire vehicles (Inside 3rd and 4th cases on the Left and also center of back wall)
- Even today police vehicles and fire trucks are popular. Notice the difference between the rugged tin toys and the very detailed plastic toys.
* Construction Sets (along the back wall)
- Many building toys have been created, from the Danish Lego's to Lincoln Logs, to Erector sets.
- Lego's are from a Danish company who originally sold their items under the US company Sampsonite and later came to the US to sell as Lego's. Also it is believed that about 50 Billion hours of play are accumulated annually by children with Lego's.
- Lincoln Logs were created by the son of Frank Lloyd Wright when watching his father work on designs for an earthquake proof building in Japan.
- Erector Set were invented by A.C. Gilbert who also produced American Flyer Trains.
* EZ Bake Ovens (to the right of the back right corner and above the cabinets)
- It's all about the batter when making the delicious creations available with the EZ Bake Oven. This learning to cook with a light bulb toy took many different shapes over the years.
- Many of the original cooking toys were very dangerous for children, in fact some of these units when plugged in can get hot enough to boil water.
* Raggedy Ann and Andy (center of right hand wall)
- These age old classics can be seen without any gaps by all generations, children either had, or know of someone who had a Raggedy Ann and Andy doll, the books and TV have been seen by children since the 1900's.
* Cartoon characters (second case left, located on the right hand wall)
- From Betty Boop to the Smurfs to Spongebob here are cartoon characters, can you name them all??* Construction, Route 40 (Far right hand corner)
- Construction toys were a lot of fun, the construction camp by Marx is not just a toy but it represents the construction of a real road here in the Ohio Valley, US route 40.
Now proceed upstairs
The Classroom (Center room on left hand side)
Welcome to our classroom, while no classes take place in the building anymore, there is still plenty of learning here each day. This room is set as a reminder that this building was used as a grade school for many years, and also it is a memorial for all of the students and teachers that were here in the past. This room features the original desks that were used when the school was in operation. The school was built in 1905 and was in use from 1906 until 1991. In the cases you will notice artifacts from the school, that are either from the school itself or were donated by students that attended the school
Also, in this room you will notice the flags. These flags used to tour around the local area and were presented by a former guide. The flags represent all the flags that flew over the United States at one point in time.
Also in the room you will notice the Tin Ship. This tin ship was made by Marklin Toys; this German boat was a windup toy for use in the water. Also, from Germany if you take a look outside you will notice the Linden Tree. This is one of 3 locally and it was planted in 1905 during construction. They are the oldest Linden trees in the state of West Virginia.Neva Caldwell was a student here starting in 1908, and then taught at the school for 47 years, from 1920 to 1967.
The Ohio Valley Room (located at the back left hand side)
This room is to show the many features of the Ohio Valley. It is our tribute to the city in which we are located and the many different unique attributes that can be found here.
* City Of Wheeling Model
- This was built in 2000 for the Victorian Outlet Mall Project, but is an accurate model of Downtown Wheeling.
* Wheeling Decorating (cabinets in the front of room)
- Made many fine dining plates and accents. Some of the China was made just for the Presidents. In fact 4 Presidents used china created for them by the Wheeling Decorating.
* Jamboree USA (2nd cabinet on left)
- The Jamboree consisted of many classic music stars who would play shows at the Capitol Music Hall located in downtown Wheeling.
* Marsh Wheeling Stogies and Mail Pouch Tobacco(3rd cabinet on left)
- Two companies with tobacco that started here in the Wheeling Area. This was the last stop before heading into the Western Frontier and people would load up on the Wheeling Tobacco. Also, many Western Stars smoked Marsh Stogies in their movies, since they had the authentic look of a real cigar from that period.
* Steel Works (back left right hand corner)
- The steel industry is very well known in the Wheeling Area. In fact Wheeling Steel was able to take over Pittsburgh Steel in the 1950's.
- In this case is a model of the over 5 feet tall steel maker who stands in Steubenville, Ohio. This model, as well as the real statue, were created in the Centre Foundry factory which is located just north of here in Warwood.
* Chuck Yeager (back right hand corner)
- The first man to break the sound barrier, he was born and raised in West Virginia
* Millie Upton's Doll House (in the right corner of the room)
- Victorian Style home with period style furnishings. It used to be a display in Upton Gifts.
Train Room (back left hand corner)
This room features trains by Marx, Lionel, American Flyer and others. This room is mainly miniatures but there are also real railway artifacts.
* Coal Hot Water Heater (on floor as you enter)
- This piece is from the actual rail system and was used as a heater for the rail crew for cooking and also a shower if need be. While it did not hold a lot of water it would be sufficient to get the job done.
- Also, along the top of the shelves are many real artifacts that were used on the railways. This also includes the male and female spittoons that could be found in places other than just the railways.
* Examples of different size train gauges (on the wall to the right (above the Water heater))
- This is just to show the most popular gauges in model trains
* Standard gauge trains (1st cabinet on right)
- Lionel, American Flyer and Ives.
* O-gauge (2nd and 3rd cabinets)
- 3 rail trains, the center rail was used as the power source
* S-gauge (4th cabinet)
- American Flyer was the only company to make this gauge.
- S-gauge is a two rail train that was designed to give a more realistic look.
* Lift bridge (on the back wall, towards the right hand side)
- Originally created in 1950 as an all metal bridge. These types of bridges were used over rivers so the bridge could be lifted and the boat could pass underneath. This bridge was not put into production until 1992.
* Post War Lionel (on the left wall)
- These are the trains that many of the baby boomers will remember playing with.
* Scale Trains (on the left wall, 2nd cabinet from front wall)
- These are the very high end of the train collections. These are actual scale models that have all of the real moving features of the actual trains.
* Accessories (left hand front corner)
- Without the accessories trains would not be nearly as fun. The lights and whistles and movement are what bring the trains to life.
* Marx (along the front wall)
- Marx created a variety of different sizes and styles of trains
O-Gauge Layout (at the top of the steps turn left (on the right if looking down steps))
* Marx Trains on left wall
* Located around the train layout you will notice buttons, please push the buttons and find out what they control.
Temporary Displays (center room on right wall and also around the upstairs lobby)
* These are changing displays-- please check our calendar of events and learn about our current display!