For 108 years, the Tucker family name stood in front of a Warren store. In 1906, Arthur S. Tucker and a business partner opened a Main Street hardware store in Warren, Massachusetts. After Arthur died suddenly in 1945, his grandson Robert A. "Bob" Buck ran the store with help from his parents and some part-time employees starting at the age of 15, working on weekends and in the afternoons after school. He took over full time after graduating high school in 1947 and then in 1955, he purchased the business from his parents and continued to operate Tucker's Hardware, later with help from his wife and eventually his children. Over the years, Bob's deep interest in railroads led to an increasing amount of store space devoted to trains. Finally in 1981, the hardware business was sold, and he decided to try making a living exclusively on the railroad hobby.
In 1981, Tucker's Hobbies was born, located in the house where Bob grew up watching trains as a child. His goal was to provide good service and a wide range of quality products focused on railroading in the New England area. It also served as one more excuse for Bob to continue to eat, drink, and breathe trains during every waking moment. His 30-year service as Show Director for the Amherst Railway Society's annual Big Railroad Hobby Show gave him more opportunities to spread his enthusiam about the hobby to new generations of young people. Over the years, many customers became good friends and shared model railroad operating sessions, photographs and conversation, slide shows and movie nights, dinners and trackside visits, good stories and bad jokes.
A chapter closed when Bob passed away on his birthday, October 12, 2011, at the age of 82. What began as one man's dream 33 years ago has come to an end. This photo gallery shows some pictures taken during the history of the Tucker's Hardware and Tucker's Hobbies stores. Photo captions provide additional details.
Click here to start at the beginning, or click on any photo to see a larger version or to navigate through the set.
Click here to download the whole gallery as an Adobe PDF file (8MB).
Click the links below to see some historical newspaper articles in Adobe PDF format from 1982 about the the hobby store:
|Bob and the hobby store - 4/12/1982 (1.2MB)||printable version (5MB)|
|Bob and the hobby store - 4/10/1982 (2MB)||printable version (8MB)|
All images Copyright © 2014, Ken Buck, except where noted.
Please do not copy, redistribute, or make other use of these images without permission.