Harold Larson has served as a tour guide for the Interurban Railway Museum in Downtown Plano for 12 years. A retired electrical engineer, Larson moved to Texas in 1988 for professional reasons discussed in this Q&A and, as he put it, “innocently walk[ed]” into his current job.
How did you get into your line of work?
I was innocently walking down the street in front of the building, and Russ Kissick – who was the director at that time – said, “Hey, do you want to see what’s inside the train outside?” I said, “Sure,” and we went through the train.
Then he told me, “We’re taking all the fourth graders through here, and we’d like to have somebody that would be a tour guide.” I thought, “Why not?”
And that was 12 years ago.
What are some of your favorite parts of the job?
I love to take the kids through the train. I do the “Polar Express” every Christmas, and during the Dickens Festival, we have two readings of The Polar Express.
What does a typical day look like for you?
I take care of a few things in the house, work on the computer, things like that. I’ll get here at about 11 a.m., and we’ll spend five hours just touring people, doing miscellaneous things. I am the president of the board, so we’re getting ready to do a board meeting next month to take care of things. There’s going to be a big redesign in the front room up here [to meet] some ADA requirements.
What are some of your proudest achievements?
I did some modifications to some of the equipment [in the museum]. I’m an electrical engineer, so I’m somewhat qualified.
Are you a native Texan?
Not exactly. I was born in Havre, Montana. It’s about 10 miles south of the Canadian border in the middle of the state.
When did you move to Texas, and what brought you here?
Well I worked for Collins Radio Company, which [had] a plant in Richardson [along] Renner and Shiloh.
I was working overseas, moved to California, they closed the plant there and I moved here after that.
I got here in 1988 in Allen. Once I retired, I moved south to Plano.
What are some of your favorite local restaurants?
I kind of like the Fillmore Pub and Bavarian Grill.
What are some of your favorite movies or TV shows?
Antiques Roadshow. [laughs]
Tell our readers about your family.
I’m divorced. I have two children – both of them are chemists. One is living in Lawrence, Kansas and the other is living in Charleston, South Carolina. They’re both doing very good. I have two grandchildren in Kansas.
The rest of my family – my brother and sister [live] in Moorhead, Minnesota, and my other sister’s in Wichita Falls. We try to keep separate as much as possible. [laughs]
What do you want your legacy to be?
I think that I enjoyed my life, I enjoyed working here at the museum, I had a chance to travel the world in my job and [I’m] just happy that I was living here.