John Pohlpeter can be seen at the Enginehouse most Wednesdays, and many other days as well. A fireman on the SP 4449 crew, John also works on the Polson #2 during Holiday Express. He is passionate about the Center and the locomotives and is always
one of the first to jump in when help of any kind is needed.
Born in San Francisco, John graduated from Analy High School in Sebastopol, California—go Tigers! He moved to Oregon in 1980 just after the Mount St. Helens eruption. He did clock repair in his dad’s garage to make ends meet. That led him to a job at Father Time Clocks near Brooklyn Yard. John was drawn out of the clock shop when the SP 4449 was out, and Doyle invited him to ride in the cab one day when it was on the turntable. Bill Stetler then invited him to the Roundhouse and John started
working on the Thursday crew in 1995. That was the impetus for the Thursday crew at ORHC.
John attended Rail Fair ’99 in Sacramento. From there, with the help of Gary Oslund, he learned to fire steam locomotives while babysitting them on various Wishram trips. One of his favorite events is “The Great Oregon Steam Up” at Powerland in Brooks. He proudly shows off his Packard and gives many rides on his steam tractor over two weekends in July and August each year. And for the past four years, John has run the steam engine for Zoo Lights.
When Father Time closed, John purchased the business for $1—thanks to his many years of service and relationship there. And Another Time Restoration was born. From his shop in Oregon City, John is known for his work not only on clocks and timepieces, but his collection of mechanical music instruments such as player pianos, organs, music boxes and coin-operated nickelodeons, to name just a few. He just acquired a 12.5′ tall orchestrion from Europe that filled two large crates, and in exchange, he filled a 40′ container full of smaller instruments for return to Europe!
Many of John’s clocks can be seen on several seasons of Grimm. John actually worked as a non-SAG employee for one day as a prop setter. He was gifted the toolbox from the tool bench in the show, as compensation for a damaged clock. Besides Grimm,
John has also been featured on American Pickers. The 40-minute story was picked up on the front page of The Oregonian, which also detailed his job as caretaker of the Union Station clock.
John and his wife Mary have three grown children between them. They also have 32 chickens and 5 cats. No big surprise his favorite season is summer. In fact, when John gets a spare minute he can be seen on the southern end of the Willamette on his jet ski!