What is some of the history of WamaLTC?
In the very beginning (July 1999) Stephen F. Roberts posted a message to rec.toys.lego asking if anyone was interested in starting a Train Club. Christopher Tracey and Jeffrey Stembel responded and they had a meeting at Union Station in the District of Columbia. After that, meetings were held at Denise Jadud’s condo building, where Tom Cook, Dan Boger, Jennifer Boger, and Bob Hayes found the group, until she moved. The group called itself NOVALTC (for Northern Virginia LEGO Train Club) until November, when the presence of members from Maryland and the District of Columbia became inescapable. Kevin Loch was at the opening of the LEGO® Outlet Store in Potomac Mills Mall. Stephen hosted at his personal domain a directory for the club, the name of which kept changing as the members struggled with what to call themselves, until December when a name (WAMALUG) and a domain (wamalug.org) had been chosen.
Members of WAMALUG who had an enthusiasm for Trains planned and ran two shows in February the next year and another in June, but not everyone shared that enthusiasm. On June 16, 2000 Dan Boger, Jennifer Boger, and Tom Cook, all charter members of WAMALUG, created the train club WamaLTC and designed the corresponding logo. On June 21, 2000 the wamaltc.org domain was registered and the wamaltc Yahoo! Groups e-mail list created to allow the Train fans to gather and organize without disrupting WAMALUG activities. The wamaltc_mo Yahoo! Groups e-mail list was created on November 16, 2000. November 19, 2000 saw the first official wamaLTC meeting open to the public. By a proposal adopted at the meeting of WAMALUG on July 7, 2001, that club’s Train Special Interest Group got the name WAMALTC.
Throughout, the club continued to display at shows to much appreciation. In particular, we introduced MindStorms elements and programming to include working grade crossing signals and gates and a trolley system that alternated the dispatch of trolley cars as one or the other would arrive at the station.
Constantine Hannaher proposed in June of 2002 a recolor of the club’s logo and Tom Cook approved. The new logo evoked the blue and gold B&O logo and rendered the Capitol more realistically. A meeting at the home of Greg Kramer on July 6, 2002 inaugurated a new series of monthly meetings for participants in the train show displays. The new multi-colored logo was applied to the series of containers swapped among Train clubs at the NMRA show that month. By November of 2002 Constantine Hannaher had taken on the duty of webmaster for wamaltc.org bringing the site from a single page, so neglected that it displayed outdated logos, to a comprehensive archive about the club’s displays and meetings.
The creation of an international organization of LEGO® train clubs in 2003 set the stage for a crisis. The demand under Section 4.03 of this organization’s Bylaws that a club membership roster be provided upon application was in conflict with the club’s omission to ever formalize its membership and the campaign for the club to join notwithstanding roiled the competing personalities. At the direction of its participants in July of 2003 WamaLTC nevertheless accepted the invitation to join that international organization of LEGO® Train clubs in the first round. The successful show the weekend of August 16, 2003 at the Greenberg’s show in Chantilly to much public appreciation of Greg Kramer’s monorail layout had been scheduled before joining the organization, but our complete indifference to BrickFest™ was the subject of repeated reproach. Weary of the hassle, we managed one last meeting on October 26, 2003 to choose new representatives to the international organization and identify Bob Hayes as the new coordinator of the club (replacing Tom Cook) and one last show on November 29, 2003 without any of Tom’s track.
On October 3, 2004 Bob Hayes admitted that WamaLTC was on hiatus after it had missed out on several display venues that year and the front page of its website was pared down to reflect that status. With but two dissenting votes, a majority of WAMALUG members attending their meeting on November 13, 2004 took it upon themselves to terminate the membership of Tom Cook in that club despite his status of non-voting in accordance with the relevant rule of the club. Tom retained ownership of the domain wamaltc.org, however, an entirely predictable oversight which created a new opportunity. A gathering of Train enthusiasts on December 30, 2004 reaffirmed their desire to revive the train club. Our first display as an independent club was the weekend of February 26, 2005.
WamaLTC participated in the the massive display on July 8-10, 2005 of LEGO® railroading coordinated by ILTCO at the 2005 NMRA National Convention in Cincinnati, Ohio and had a display on August 12-14, 2005 with a multi-level section in the big line-up of train and town creations at 2005 BrickFest™ in Arlington, Virginia along with the construction of additional tables and other displays in 2005. We appreciated the energy which Anthony Perez contributed to our activities. The membership of WamaLTC in the international organization of LEGO® train clubs, however, was quietly dismissed when its place as the club identified as the 28th was replaced by WAMALUG sometime in the fall (by the spring of 2006, however, we had managed to get invited again and were established as the 62nd).
The international organization of LEGO® train clubs (ILTCO) was shut down in 2010. A new wordmark joined our seal on apparel worn by participants. Our domain almost slipped away in 2011 and a participant purchased wamaltc.com and wamaltc.net as a backup URL (the redirect has since failed).
The website switched to HTML5 in 2011 which allowed for the addition of social networking links, and a mobile-friendly, responsive web design followed in 2016. Most style declarations for older browsers were abandoned in 2019, and a secure site was implemented in 2020. WamaLTC’s display in Purcellville was the last before the continuing situation with Covid-19 in the region significantly hindered our ability to display and we had to sit out the entirety of our 20th Anniversary year as venues closed with the state of emergency. The display at the 26th Annual Manassas Heritage Railway Festival was our first after restrictions were relaxed in 2021.