Cal-Stewart is the name given to two different California based toy train collector and operator meets. The name of these meets is derived from a Nor-Cal TCA member named Don Stewart, who came up with the idea back in the early 1970's to create and have these meets. His dream was to see unification of those individuals interested in the toy train operating and collecting hobby in the state of California by having both a southern based and northern based toy train meet occur every year. He envisioned toy train enthusiasts from all over the world gathering in large numbers to buy, sell, and talk trains. Don's goal was realized when the first Cal-Stewart meet was held in the Southern California area in the fall of 1973 under the auspices of the T.T.O.S. Southwestern Division (SW). The envisioned unification came as the Northern California division of the Train Collectors Association (TCA) began holding an annual train meet in the late winter or early spring of the following year. Unfortunately, Don Stewart was not around to see his vision realized. Don Stewart had passed away suddenly in May of 1973 after being involved in a tragic automobile accident.
The idea for this unified train meet was brainstormed by Don Stewart and a group of west coast meet organizers including Herb Morley, Ralph Pauly and John Daniel in the early 1970's. Don Stewart had been very passionate about organizing west coast train meets. After Don's death, John Daniel took the idea of a west coast, twice a year event, that would include both T.T.O.S. and TCA members, to the T.T.O.S. Southwestern Division Board of Directors to get the concept rolling. John Daniel proposed that since the meet was a California event and was the idea of Don Stewart, that it be called the Cal-Stewart meet in Don's memory.
The first Cal-Stewart meet was held in a banquet room at the Huntington Sheraton Hotel in Pasadena during November 1973, and was chaired by John Daniel. Philomena Stewart, Don's widow, registered for every Spring and Fall Cal-Stewart Meet in memory of her husband after his passing. That first Cal-Stewart had about 50 sellerís tables and about 150 in attendance. The next Cal-Stewart meets rapidly grew in attendance and moved to a succession of hotels, including the Biltmore Hotel, the Mayfair Hotel, the Airport Marina Hotel, and finally to the Pasadena Convention Center, where it was held for over 20 years and grew to be the largest train meet held west of the Mississippi River. Our records for 1989 show 1600 registrations and over 700 6ft tables (equivalent to over 500 8ft tables). In 2012 the meet was moved to the Ontario Convention center. In 2016 the meet was held at the Pomona Fairplex for the first time (279 registrations, 210 tables). In 2017 the meet was moved to the Glendale Civic Auditorium, where it was held again in 2018 (270 registrations, 175 tables).
In the past, the Fall Cal-Stewart meet honored the memory of John King with a cocktail party held on Friday evening in his name. John King was the life of the SW Division and contributed much to the early success of the Fall event. He loved to be the auctioneer at the annual event and encouraged new young collectors to feel welcome into the hobby of toy train collecting and operating.
The Cal-Stewart logo (which appears at the top of this page) was the creation of Ward Kimball, famous Walt Disney animator and long time west coast train collector and musician. Mr. Kimball joined the Disney Animation Studios in 1934, and is best remembered for his creation of Jiminy Cricket in the movie, Pinocchio. He worked in a variety of areas for the Walt Disney Company, and his love of trains not only started Walt on the hobby, but was reflected in his work as a consultant for the EPCOT attraction, The World of Motion. Kimball retired from the Disney Studio in 1973, but emerged for special assignments. In 1978, he served as the conductor on the "Birthday Special," a whistle-stop train tour from Union Station in Los Angeles to New York City in celebration of Mickey Mouse's 50th birthday. He was honored as a Disney Legend in 1989. Ward was known for having one of the largest collections of antique toys and trains dating from 1870. He is also known for building and operating his own full-sized railroad of restored steam locomotives and cars in the back yard of his San Gabriel, California home.
T.T.O.S. Southwestern Division
1108 West Palm Ave.
Burbank, Ca 91506
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