The Model Railroad Club, Inc., was founded as the Summit-New Providence Model Railroad Club on February 17th, 1949, by four men who shared a common interest in model railroading: Paul Mallery, Paul Draper, Walter Kalin, and Ken Robinson. Paul Mallery, one of the pioneers of the hobby, authored more than three hundred articles in model railroad magazines, as well as numerous books covering many aspects of model railroading, particularly in the area of electronics. Many of these books are still in print. Mr. Mallery featured the Club prominently in his books, citing Club innovations and practices as examples for the hobby. He was an early Master Model Railroader and received numerous honors from the model railroad industry for his many contributions. He was active in the hobby and the Club until late in life. He passed away in 2004.

Combining his numerous contributions to the hobby with an unwavering support of the Club, Mr. Mallery was not only the Club’s first president but also hosted the Club and its railroads in the basement of his home for nearly a quarter-century. He was the primary force behind the securing of permanent quarters for the Club. As part of the preparations for this, he approached two nearby model railroad clubs and proposed a three-way merger with the combined club working to build and operate what would eventually become the A. Paul Mallery Model Railroad Center. The other two clubs declined, thinking the proposal too ambitious. Undaunted, the Summit-New Providence Club continued alone, changed its name in 1970 to “The Model Railroad Club, Inc.,” the proposed name for the merged clubs. The Club then executed the agreement with Union County in May 1971, and broke ground on the Mallery Center in October of that year. In 1976, with the first phase of construction completed, the Club formally donated the building to the County Park system. Construction on the Phase 2 expansion of the building began in 1993, and was completed in 2001. The Club has plans for further expansion of the building as membership participation and finances permit.