Wamalug is the Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Area LEGO® Users Group. We’re a very loosely organized group of adult fans of LEGO from around the greater metropolitan area surrounding the nation’s capital that get together online and in-person because of our common interest in those little plastic bricks. Join our online discussions on the public mailing list hosted at Groups.io. At our in-person meetings, we talk, share ideas, build, play, and in general have a good time while convincing ourselves that it’s okay to spend so much time and money on this hobby. Guests of any age are welcome any time at our meetings, we only ask that you respect others, respect their property, and ask before touching.
A (narrative) history of Wamalug
The evolution of NOVALTC which became WAMALUG and the SIG now known as WamaLTC
A long time ago in a… whatever…
On Tuesday, July 13, 1999, Stephen F. Roberts posted a message to rec.toys.lego asking if anyone was interested in starting a Train Club. Christopher Tracey quickly (on Thursday) posted a joint announcement to LUGNET regarding their attempt to start a LEGO Train Club (identified in the post’s subject as LTCNOVA). Stephen started a mailing list, Chris worked on a web page, and Jeffrey Stembel joined the list and suggested a meeting place and made the announcement to LUGNET of the first meeting (identified in the post’s subject as the first meeting of NOVALTC), which found Stephen, Chris, and Jeff at Union Station in the District of Columbia on Sunday, August 15, 1999. Denise M. Jadud had tracked them down by October, and the community room in her condominium building in Rosslyn (Arlington), Virginia served well as a meeting place for a number of months until she moved. Later, meetings were held at other locations in Virginia.
By November, the name of the club was the subject of some discussion since not everyone was from Northern Virginia, and not everyone liked Trains. Jeff suggested the name WAMALUG in the 302nd post to the mailing list and it was made official in Chris’s post to LUGNET announcing the change. The rest of Chris’s post repeated Stephen’s message to rec.toys.lego about the last minute planning for the opening of a new store in the area by LEGO.
Kevin M. Loch, among others, met the fledgling group at the opening of the LEGO Outlet Store in the Potomac Mills Mall in Virginia on Friday, November 19, 1999. As more people showed up to the meetings and (more importantly) we started participating in train shows in February of 2000, we realized it was necessary to have some sort of structure in the group. The main reason for this was because decisions were being made arbitrarily by individuals, committing club resources in the process.
For a long time, the club has had various “charters” and “rules” the purpose of all of them being to minimize confusion and maximize enjoyment for everyone.
The mailing list Stephen set up on ONElist soon merged with eGroups and later became a Yahoo! Group. Many people have joined the mailing list, just to see what we are up to. Typically, people join the mailing list and then show up at our meetings.
The club has always been about participating in meetings and in-person activities. The mailing list exists only to help coordinate the in-person meetings. The number of people on the WAMALUG mailing list is not a direct reflection of the actual membership.
sit at the edge of the Carpet and meditate upon these truths
we are wamalug
we have come for your lego
come worship the brick
two by two’s are stuck
where is my separator?
lego outlet store
where is the damaged table?
lego is my drug
—haiku by Jennifer L. Boger
the LEGO mantra
Oh LEGO, grant me the imagination to dream of something to build, the collection to have the parts I need, and the wisdom to know the pieces to use.
—mantra by Stephen F. Roberts
Wamalug abandoned the charter and bylaws in 2005. WamaLTC proclaimed its independence. Wamalug lost its domain (ending in dot org) in 2006 but the purchase of a dot com allowed the site to continue. Wamalug continued monthly meetings and displays at the National Air and Space Museum and other venues. The meetings attracted reporters curious about the growth of LEGO fandom, the increased attendance strained the capacity of local libraries, and the presence of younger builders left some “older” people nostalgic for the earlier days of the club.
More “About” Wamalug
The History page has a timeline of events of greater and lesser significance for Wamalug. The People page lists those who’ve attended our meetings and shows over the years. Wamalug is written with only an initial capital because it’s a word that’s pronounced (/ˈwɑmɑlʌg/) rather than spelled out.
Wamalug lacks many of the traditional aspects of model railroading clubs or even other user groups. Since the abandonment of the charter and bylaws we’ve had no dues, structure, or other onerous requirements. To get on “The List” so you don't have to sign in at meetings, you need to (1) be an adult, (2) attend three meetings (whether in-person or monthly video conference) as announced on the Facebook page, in the Groups.io list and calendar, and in the #calendar channel on Discord, and (3) be active (attend a meeting or participate in a Wamalug event) within 6 months of your last activity.
Bret Harris is our representative in the LEGO Ambassador Network. Constantine Hannaher is keeper of “The List” and webmaster for The History of Wamalug at its Original URL.
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