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The Orange Empire Trolley Museum found a new home on an abandoned railroad right-of-way just outside of rural Perris, California, some 70 miles southeast of Los Angeles. Except for a small two-room farmhouse and a rock dugout dating from the 1880s, the site was a lonely, semi-desert field. There was no running water, no indoor plumbing, not much of anything but trolley cars and youthful enthusiasm.

The early years at Perris were a time of intense activity, though mostly on weekends, as almost all of the participants worked regular weekday jobs. Track was hurriedly extended as more and more trolleys arrived, eventually evolving into a yard arrangement. The few visitors that found the place thought of it as “the trolley farm” and this moniker would stay with the Museum for years to come. By late 1959 a used Cummins diesel generator power plant was acquired and set up to provide the 600 volt DC electricity for trolley car operation. Overhead wire followed and operations were soon possible on a short stretch of track.