7th Street Shops is a member of 7th Street Group owned by Derrell and Vicki Poole. Vicki is the Web Designer and Master of the Group.
Derrell Poole has been a model builder all of his life. At age 4 he “helped” his father build a 1/72 scale model of a P-41 Tiger Hawk. His exposure to model railroading came early when his younger brother Curt received a Gilbert HO train set (shown below) for his 5th birthday. Derrell’s parents may have misjudged their sons’ interests for Curt didn’t show the same interest in the trains as Derrell did. To offset the misplacement Derrell managed to obtain a plastic train set that he “wore out” in the dirt of the family back yard (it was a cheap plastic toy).
When the boys were 12 & 13 they received an HO Race Car by Aurora for Christmas. They both delved into that hobby along with Matchbox and Hot Wheels cars. By this point both were active model builders each with substantial collections of 1:24th scale cars as well as military planes, ships and other types. They both tried their hand at Balsawood flying models, the type that used rubber bands for propeller power.
The following Christmas Derrell talked Curt into agreeing to ask for an HO scale model train set to go with the race cars. When the set was given to the boys the fun was to race around the track and dodge the train at the crossing. But soon Derrell was drawn completely into model railroading while Curt took up the Unicycle (he became quite good at that). Derrell soon began building his first layout based on “The HO Railroad that Grows”, a Kalmbach publication authored by Lynn Wescott. Wescott soon became one of Derrell’s idols and to this day considers him to be one of the best editors “Model Railroader” ever had. Derrell also admired John Allan and Irv Schultz. Today he considers the St. Clair & Northern to be one of the best model railroads ever built and has nearly every article Irv published.
Derrell built a second 4’x6’ layout at age 16 in the family basement that was based somewhat on E.L. Moore’s layout. This layout actually had scenery on it. Eventually he sold it to a friend as he had discovered narrow gauge in books like “Rails Through the Rockies”, “Historic Alpine Tunnel” and “The DSP&P”; even as a young teenager Derrell loved history and read all that he could find on Colorado. Of all the railroads in his native state it was the DSP&P that truly inspired him. From these beginnings, an appreciation of history and a devotion to the South Park began a life long love of model building, historic accuracy, historic research, attention to detail and above all true American Craftsmanship. One of his favorite bylines is “Craftsmanship is 80% tenacity and 20% skill”.
As a young adult, Derrell joined the United States Navy. He briefly became involved with a Honolulu based HO club while stationed at Pearl Harbor. He also had a great interest in military miniatures and built 1:72 and 1:35 scale models while in Hawaii. When he returned to the Continent at the end of his service he continued his interest in model railroading. He built an operating NWSL HOn3 shay and traded it for a brass import HOn3 engine. He then built a DSP&P consolidation from a Kemtron Class 60 kit as well as a 2-6-0 from the 0-6-0t kit. His experience included Model Die Cast HOn3 2-8-0s both inside and outside frames. He became an active member of the Slimrail Modular Group and built a couple of modules. But HOn3 wasn’t satisfactory to him and he traded or sold all of this small scale equipment for On3. His first model was a Precision Scale C&S #60 kit that he built, rebuilt and finally revised into C&S # 62. If Derrell was a prolific builder in HOn3 he was extremely active in On3.
DSP&P built from an HOn3 Class 60 Kemtron kit.
One of Derrell's first efforts at building in brass.
This On3 model won Best In Show at the Rocky Mountain
NMRA Regional Convention at Idaho Springs in 1990.
At the 6th National Narrow Gauge convention in Denver his 3 C&S box cars won first place in the Freight Car Division contest. These cars were later featured in the Mar/Apr 1987 issue of the “Narrow Gauge and Shortline Gazette”. Derrell went on to win numerous trophies including best of show at the 1990 Rocky Mountain Regional Convention of the National Model Railroad Association in Idaho Springs, Colorado. This model, a Colorado & Southern cinder car with working doors was later featured in the August 1991 issue of Model Railroader.
Derrell went on to develop a greater scope of understanding of the narrow gauge freight cars that belong to the C&S. He published dozens of drawings and as complete a history of these cars as has ever been published. He started a small basement company “the C&S Connection” (the name referenced the connection between the C&S and D&RG at Buena Vista and Nathrop, Colorado). This company distributed his drawings as well as On3 parts for building cars of the C&S. He also built custom models under this company.
In the mean time he was a staff member of the 13th National Narrow Gauge Convention and continued to win placement trophies at all such conventions he attended. He published a 4 part series on C&S Refrigerators between the Sept/Oct 1991 and Mar/Apr 1992 “Narrow Gauge and Shortline Gazette” as well as an article on a C&S outfit car in the May 1996 issue of Model Railroader. Robert Grandt commissioned Derrell along with Kenneth Martin to write the text for Narrow Gauge Pictorial Vol.VIII. Russ Reinberg recruited Derrell to write for “Outdoor Railroader” in 1994 and several of his pieces appeared in that magazine. Derrell was also a Charter Member of the Colorado & Southern Historical Society where he also authored a few pieces in the “Beartrap”.
Derrell Left the hobby of Model Railroading for several years in 1996 but was still active in model building. He returned to Model Railroading in 2002 again with HO, HOn3 and finally Sn3. He is currently the Managing Editor of the “Colorado Narrow Gauge Quarterly” and regularly contributes to that magazine’s content. He recently resigned from the Resin Kit Manufacturer “The Cimarron Works” where he worked as a master builder and research consultant. Derrell is often consulted by other manufacturers in their projects to produce fine scale models. He is always eager to share historical information and to help other modelers improve their building skill. He is an expert at installing DCC decoders and finds wiring a layout in the old block system a distasteful task. He is a self taught programmer of decoders.
By profession he is a degreed draftsman with skills in AutoCAD 3D as well as other 3D programs. He is also familiar with electronics, a skilled craftsman in building in metals, wood, plastic, and resin. He is an expert at repairing and customizing brass models. He understands and has been involved with processes that include laser cutting, photo etching and rapid prototyping. He is a professional developer of masters for lost wax casting as well as spin casting. No project is beyond his capability. He names among his friends such well know modelers, historians and manufacturers as Rick Steele, Harry Brunk, Doug Heitkamp, Bill Meredith, Hol Wagner Jr., John Robinson, John Parker, Jerry Kitts, Dave Grandt, Robert Grandt, Chris Lane, Gary Kohler, Bill Schaumberg, Don Meeker, Keith Wiseman, Pat Turner, Russ Reinberg, Kenneth Martin, Paul Vaughn, and many, many others. He is building a layout based on the Trout Creek Pass district of the C&S in 1909 in Sn3.