Ward Kimball has a toy collection that turns other collectors green with envy. Not content with antique toy trains that include 1870 models up to standard gauge 1930 trains, Kimball enjoys his hobby on a grander scale than most. This historical toys which he could operate in his own backyard and enjoy with the neighborhood children.
Kimball is the proud possessor of two antique Baldwin locomotives which are protected by a completely enclosed car barn on his property. One of them, "Chloe," weighing in at 9/2 tons, transcends the toy category while fulfilling the boyhood dreams of the renowned artist.
To celebrate his 71st birthday recently, Ward Kimball and his family stoked the firebox of Grizzly Flats Railroad's No. 1 locomotive and invited friends and neighbors to come watch her perform. Children joined Ward in the spirit of the nostalgic adventure by sporting true railroading "costumes" overalls and striped engineers' hats.
If all this sounds like a visit to a themed amusement park, it may be because of the over 40-year influence the Walt Disney organization has had upon the productive life of Ward Kimball – or the other way around.
Since he first joined the Disney staff in 1934 at the age of 20, Ward Kimball has been contributing to the art and ideas of all things Disney. Although he 'retired' at 58, so that he and Mrs. Kimball could concentrate on world travel, Kimball has since been called back to the Company as a consultant, and he offered his expertise in the design and operation of General Motors' "World of Motion" showcase in Walt Disney World's Epcot Center.