In the late 1940s, Charley Atkins, a Recreation and Parks employee, along with a handful of rail enthusiast friends, had the idea that a steam locomotive would make an attractive addition at the Griffith Park miniature railroad ride. The original intention of the Museum was to be a "railroad petting zoo," an opportunity for the children of Los Angeles to "imagineer" themselves as engineers. The City of Los Angeles Harbor Department had two little engines destined for scrap that seemed to fit the bill. The idea escalated as Atkins, with the enthusiastic support of former Recreation and Parks Department General Manager George Hjelte and Superintendent of Recreation William Frederickson, initiated contacts with major railroads in California to determine what equipment they might be willing to donate. At that time, the steam locomotive era was drawing to a close, and Atkins found a good response. Travel Town was dedicated on December 14, 1952. The concept of a combined transportation museum and recreation center blossomed, and wishes for donations were generously fulfilled. In 1965, Travel Town's exhibits were re-grouped, and the park re-dedicated. Today, Travel Town is in a state of new growth and development. Charley Atkins passed away in 1959, but he left Los Angeles a grand legacy at Travel Town.