The Walker Transportation Collection began with a very generous bequest from Laurence Breed Walker (see biography below). A dedicated group of volunteers transformed a raw space in the basement of the Cabot House into a home for Walker's gift. The collection has attracted people from around the country who are interested in railroads, buses, trolleys, and all forms of transportation in New England. Since Walker's original bequest in 1969, the collection has dramatically increased in sizes, as donors realized that their documents and images would be preserved.
The Beverly Historical Society's collections are available for research on Tuesdays and Saturdays from 10 am - 4 pm, and Wednesdays from 1 - 9pm. The Walker Group of volunteers meets Wednesday evenings, and is delighted to introduce visitors to the collection or help with a research questions. Plan your visit or submit a research request here.
Watch Railroads of New England.
Laurence Breed Walker
Laurence Breed Walker, founder of the Collection which bears his name, was born in 1895 in Lynn, Massachusetts. A graduate of Lynn Classical High School and Boston's Huntington School, Mr. Walker also studied at Trinity College, Harvard, Columbia, and Oxford universities.
As a minister, Walker served various parishes in both Ohio and northern New England. He also was a much sought-after public speaker, and had his own radio talk show on a Boston station from the middle 1930s into the mid 1940s. Walker's interest in railroading and transportation dated from his early youth when traveling with his father, who was a lawyer for various New England railroads. Walker began taking photographs when in his teens, and never tired of chronicling railroad equipment and scenes.
Struck down in middle age by polio, Walker became severely limited in his activities - yet never ceased to enjoy life or people. His hobby of documenting New England transportation history then became a full-time affair. From his small apartment, Walker corresponded with scores of people and even managed to publish routinely a well-respected transportation newsletter.
As his health declined in the l960s, Walker made provisions to leave his collection to the Beverly Historical Society. Today it forms the core of a greatly expanded and widely-respected collection that is housed in a modern environment that allows both the researcher and casual browser to enjoy the Collection's many holdings. The Collection is maintained by an all-volunteer staff of dedicated transportation buffs. It is a fitting memorial to Mr. Walker.