Preserving the history of the Station is just as important as preserving the Station building itself. That's why author Mark Walma tries to include in his Abigail stories famous people who really did visit McAdam over the course of the Station's active life as well as actual events that took place at the Station.

First, it is well-established that several of the continuing characters in the stories are based, though often very loosely, on the people who actually worked there:

Original Station Agent Jimmy McCracken
Abigail herself got her inspiration from Avis Boon, a wonderful woman who lived and worked at the Station in the early 1940s.

Abigail's cousin Martha was inspired by Avis Boon's mention in a television interview that she went to work at the Station with her own cousin. In fact, the kernel for the first two stories in Abigail, Volume 1 ("Passing the Test" and "In Trouble") were drawn from that Rogers Cable interview with Avis Boone.

Hotel Manager Miss Pierce has much in common with legendary hotel manager Miss Quinn, whose presence can still be felt throughout the building.

Station Agent Mr. Fitzpatrick also bears a slight resemblance to Jimmy McCracken, the Station Agent from the 1940s (see photo above).

Author Mark has also reached into history to introduce well-known (and not so well known) Canadian figures into the stories, figures who may or may not have actually visited the Station:

Canada's sweetheart outdoors In the Volume 1 story "Canada's Sweetheart", Canadian skating sensation Barbara Ann Scott pays a visit to the Station, to the delight of her biggest fan, Abigail. The story is set in 1941, just as Miss Scott was building an international reputation for her grace and athleticism on the ice. A native of Ottawa, Miss Scott won the Canadian Figure Skating championships four times in the 1940s and went on to win Gold at the World Championships in 1947 and 1948 as well as Olympic Gold in 1948.

It's actually true that Miss Scott visited McAdam and the Station but not until after the Olympics. Mark thought he was adding a creative touch when he wrote that Miss Scott invited Abigail to skate with her on the lake behind the Station; several years after the publication of Volume 1, however, Mark found out that Canada's Sweetheart really did invite local children to skate with her when she visited McAdam in 1948.

Mr. McNair was the premier of the Province of New Brunswick from 1940 until 1952. He pays a visit to the Station in the Volume 3 story, "Whistle Stop", which also features then Canadian Prime Minister William Lyon MacKenzie King and an examination of the issue of conscription in the Second World War.

Conscription was in fact a major issue facing politicians in the early part of the war. While many young men enlisted voluntarily in the Canadian Armed Forces to risk their lives overseas, many others chose not to do so. As the war dragged on and casualties mounted, pressure on the Canadian Prime Minister increased to require young men of a particular age to serve (conscription). As shown in the story, many Canadians with family members who had volunteered felt very strongly that all young men should be sharing the risk.

Mr. MacKenzie King served as Canada's Prime Minister in the 1920s and again from 1935 to 1948. He appears with Mr. McNair in "Whistle Stop", the final story in Abigail, Volume 3. He is one of Canada's best known Prime Ministers and guided the country through some very difficult times, including the Second World War, when Canada came of age.

The depiction of Mr. MacKenzie King in "Whistle Stop" is loosely based on several accounts of the Great Man during that period. The Prime Minister did visit the McAdam Station during the 1940s but it is doubtful he caused a hotel maid to be fired, then re-instated, as happens in our story.

Tilda cover
Perhaps the most interesting "historical figure" to appear in an Abigail story to date, Tilda Jane is actually a fictional character who was first introduced in (Margaret) Marshall Saunder's 1901 novel Tilda Jane: An Orphan in Search of a Home. While preparing to write the Abigail novella A McAdam Station Christmas, Author Mark was informed that an earlier fictional girl (Tilda Jane) had already visited the McAdam Station way back in 1901.

Mark immediately found a first edition of the Saunders novel online, bought it and read it in order to be able to write Tilda into his book. Tilda Jane was approximately 8 years old when she visits the brand new McAdam Station by accident in 1901; Mark aged her 40 years for his Christmas novella and introduced her son, who proved to be a key figure in the story. Mark has since donated the first edition to the Station's collection.

Lola and Howard
The real Lola Smith is a good friend of Author Mark and his partner Patti. Lola turned 97 in 2015, the year Volume 4 of the Abigail stories was written and published.

A kind and wonderful person, Lola has indulged Mark's almost insatiable curiosity about life in the early part of the 20th Century and has also contributed hugely to the historical accuracy of the Abigail stories.

Upon realising that Lola would have been 23 in 1941, Mark decided that he should write her younger self into an Abigail story. Lola's late husband Howard also appears in "Courting Trouble", which has the newlywed Lola arriving by train at the Station and then waiting in the lunch counter for Howard to arrive from the nearby Pennfield Air Base to pick up her up.

The photo shows the two of them around the time the story was set. Howard really did serve in Canada's air force in the Second World War so, although they never really did visit McAdam or its spectacular Station, the story is not entirely unrealistic. They could have...