Collection - Ken Verrell Collection

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Ken Verrell Collection

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  • Multiple media

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  • [ca. 1851-2010] (Creation)
    Verrell, Ken
    St. Thomas

Physical description area

Physical description

230.3 cm of textual records
4107 photographs
6515 photographic slides
1270 photographic negatives
34 glass-plate negatives
25 volumes
134 booklets
508 plans
17 maps
53 drawings
7 artistic prints
3 posters
12 newspapers
4 objects
4 videocassettes
1 stereophonic record

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Biographical history

Ken Verrell was born on August 13, 1926 in St. Thomas, Ontario, where he spent his entire life. He was married to Anna “Ann” Verrell (nee Bertfleff). As a child, Ken attended Elmdale Public School and, later, Arthur Voaden Vocational School. He had a 50-year career working on the Railway, including for the Pere Marquette Railroad Company, the Chesapeake & Ohio Railway, the Canadian Pacific Railway, and finally for the Chessie System. He was an active member of his community, was involved in many local organizations, and spearheaded a number of major projects and events. He served as president for the St. Thomas Tennis Club at Athletic Park for 10 years, and was also the president of the St. Thomas Curling Club. He was a 32nd degree Mason, was Past Master and life member of the Masonic Order – Talbot Lodge #546 and Past Grand Steward of the Masonic Order for the district. He was Past President of Mocha Temple Directors Staff, life member of the London Sovereign Chapter Rose Croix, and life member of London Lodge of Perfection. He was the Finance Chairman for Elgin County Presbytery and member of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers for 50 years. He was a founding member and chairman of the Elgin County Railway Museum and founding member of the Seniors’ Picnic in Pinafore Park as well as the St. Thomas Golden K Kiwanis Club. He was President of the Elgin Photographic Heritage Society and was instrumental in documenting the Scott Studio Collection and ensuring its preservation. Ken died on June 29, 2016 at the St. Thomas Elgin-General Hospital.

Custodial history

This collection is composed of a number of accessions. The 2011-28 accession, consisting of 7 volumes of textual records, was donated to Elgin County Archives by Ken Verrell and was part of his private collection. The 2014-18 and 2014-33 accessions were part of a private collection donated to the Elgin County Museum by Ken Verrell in 2014; archival records were transferred to the Elgin County Archives in two separate accessions in 2014 and were to be processed as accruals to the Ken Verrell Collection. The 2015-21 accession was an additional transfer from the Elgin County Museum, and the items were originally part of Ken Verrell’s private collection, which he personally donated to the museum. The 2016-30 accession was donated to the Elgin County Ar chives by Lesley Buchanan, Executor of the Estate of Ken Verrell, after his death in 2016.

Scope and content

Collection contains several thousand items, including correspondence, photographs, personnel records, financial records, subscription books, lease agreements, maps, plans and drawings from a number of railway companies that operated in Elgin County. This includes the Michigan Central Railroad, the London & Port Stanley Railway, the Pere Marquette Railway Company, the Grand Trunk Railway, the Wabash Railroad Company, Canada Southern, the Chesapeake & Ohio Railway Company, the Canadian National Railways, the Canadian Pacific Railway, and the Consolidated Rail Company (Conrail), as well as many of their subsidiary companies. There is a strong emphasis on the Michigan Central Railroad and the London and Port Stanley Railway.

The collection provides insight into the day-to-day interactions between local businesses, residents and the railway companies that were operating in Elgin County and increases our understanding of the county’s economic development over time. The collection documents changes in the county’s built environment as a result of the development of railway in the area, and illustrates the evolution of railway technology from early steam engines to electrified and high-speed rail.

The collection also includes personal records belonging to Ken Verrell, reflecting his role in various local organizations and his interest in railway history.

The collection is arranged into the following series:
-Photographs series
-Postcards series
-Michigan Central Railroad Records series
-Canada Southern Railway Records series
-Pere Marquette Railway Records series
-Chesapeake and Ohio Railway Records series
-London and Port Stanley Railway Records series
-Grand Trunk Railway Records series
-Wabash Railroad Records series
-Canadian Pacific Railway Records series
-Canadian National Railways Records series
-Conrail Records series
-Miscellaneous Railways Records series
-General Railway History series
-St. Thomas Railway History series
-Labour Unions Records series
-Elgin Photographic Heritage Society Records series
-Elgin County History series
-St. Thomas History series
-Personal Records and Memberships series
-Miscellaneous Records series
-Newspaper Clippings series
-Audio-Visual series

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