On November 13 volunteers who, with the permission of EBT General Manager Stanley Hall, were making repairs to the exterior of the East Broad Top Railroad's Coles Station water tank discovered that vandals had entered the tank house and removed boards from the enclosed wood tank. According to Stanley Hall six to eight boards were stolen, and at least one additional board was damaged when the others were removed. The damage occurred sometime between inspection of the Coles Station tank house this spring and efforts this fall to secure this historic structure.
The stolen boards are cedar, approximately seven feet long, and slightly curved (like barrel staves) to match the 16–foot diameter of the circular water tank. The boards have "EBT RR" and the construction date, manufacturer's name, and tank code marked on them.
The water tank at Coles Station is the last existing example of the EBT's enclosed wood water tanks, which supplied water for the railroad's steam locomotives at various points along the EBT. (The water tanks were enclosed to keep the water inside from freezing during the winter.) Structures like the Coles Station water tank once stood at Mount Union, Saltillo, Shade Gap, and Robertsdale. The water tank at Coles Station is located on the EBT right–of–way between the EBT's operating headquarters in Rockhill Furnace and the FEBT Museum in Robertsdale; it stands within the boundaries of the East Broad Top Railroad US National Historic Landmark.
Minor repairs were made to the tank supporting structure inside the Coles Station tank house in March 1999. More recently volunteers Frank Shoop, Mark Gutshall, Henry Long, and Richard Morgan have repaired the roof and walls of the pumphouse attached to the rear of the water tank and secured the window openings in the tank house and pumphouse. FEBT hopes to assist the EBT with reconstructing the damaged wood tank and with other needed repairs to the Coles Station water tank. Discussions between FEBT and the EBT concerning possible arrangements that would allow FEBT–sponsored repairs to and maintenance of the water tank at Coles Station were initiated in 1998 and have continued intermittently since.
The East Broad Top Railroad and Friends of the East Broad Top are together offering a $750.00 reward for the return of the stolen tank boards or for information leading to the identification and prosecution of the person or persons responsible. If you have any knowledge that can help us recover these pieces of the EBT's heritage, please contact
The East Broad Top Railroad
Telephone: (814) 447–3011
FAX: (814) 447–3256
Friends of the East Broad Top
Telephone: (301) 482–1136
Joseph Kovalchick, president and owner of the East Broad Top Railroad, has given permission for the installation of additional reinforcement inside the East Broad Top Railroad's station building at Saltillo. This work will be performed by Huntingdon contractor Rex A. Smith, working for FEBT member H. Conrad Meyer, under the same conditions that governed the initial stabilization of this historic building in March 1999.
The new bracing was recommended by FEBT member and architect William E. Grant, Jr., after his August visit to the Saltillo Station to start FEBT's complete documentation of the building. The new work includes installation of a post in the freight room to provide additional support for a new roof beam installed in March, additional diagonal cross bracing to strengthen the new roof supports installed in March, and additional bracing to support the original roof rafters. This work is intended to extend the short–term stability of the existing structure.
The FEBT Saltillo Station documentation project continued in October, when Bill Grant supervised measurement of the interior of the Saltillo station's freight section; further documentation work will continue in 2000.
The Nominating Committee asks FEBT members to submit the names of potential candidates for nomination and election as directors of Friends of the East Broad Top, Inc. In the upcoming election, to be held during the first quarter of 2000, FEBT members will elect five of the nine members of the Board of Directors. The seats up for election are now occupied by Reginald Arford, David C. Brightbill, Thomas A. Diehl, Jr., Ron Morgan, and Craig A. Williams. The four remaining Board positions not up for election during the current election cycle will be the subject of the 2001 election; David S. Bucher, Henry F. Inman, Deane E. Mellander, and John R. Snyder now hold these seats. (Robert Farquharson will replace Deane E. Mellander in January.)
FEBT Directors are responsible for the management and governance of Friends of the East Broad Top. The president, vice president, and secretary are elected annually by the Board from among its members. Among other duties, directors maintain oversight over the work of all FEBT officers and staff volunteers; develop and enforce policy guidelines for all operations and activities; direct the preparation and submission of reports required by applicable Federal and state laws and regulations; set fund–raising goals and support fund–raising efforts; and determine budget priorities and spending limits.
Any individual FEBT member in good standing is eligible for nomination by the Nominating Committee, whose chairman and members select the final slate of nominees presented to FEBT members for election as directors. (Individual members include regular, family, sustaining, life, student, senior, and basic FEBT members.) However, a member in good standing may also qualify for automatic inclusion in the final slate of nominees if he or she submits a nominating petition signed by 100 FEBT members in good standing.
The members of the Nominating Committee for the 2000 election cycle are Robert Farquharson (chairman), William E. Grant, Jr., and R. Lee Rainey. The names of potential nominees and nominating petitions must be submitted to
Robert Farquharson, Chairman
FEBT Nominating Committee
5132 Piper Glen Drive
Charlotte NC 28277–0389
Telephone: (704) 846–8447
The deadline for submitting names of potential candidates for nomination to the Nominating Committee is January 15, 2000. Nominating petitions must be received no later than January 25, 2000.
Nomination and election of directors are governed by the corporate bylaws of Friends of the East Broad Top, Inc. FEBT members may obtain copies of the FEBT articles of incorporation and bylaws by sending a 55–cent stamped, self–addressed envelope to
John R. Snyder, FEBT Secretary
12 Pheasant Drive
Hershey PA 17033–9792
In recent months two new directors have been elected to fill vacant seats on the Board of Directors of Friends of the East Broad Top. In September Ron Morgan was elected to fill the vacancy created by the death of George W. Shaffer in 1998. At the November meeting of the Board, Thomas A. Diehl, Jr., was elected to fill the vacant position caused by the October resignation of Robert J. Wolny. As specified by our corporate bylaws, Ron and Tom will serve the remainder of the original terms of office for the positions to which they were elected; thus both will come up for election in early 2000.
Ron Morgan's name will be familiar to most FEBT members. Ron is the author or coauthor of numerous publications devoted to the history and folklore of the Broad Top region of Pennsylvania, including chapters contributed to the EBT railfan book Along the East Broad Top (1987), and a biography of longtime EBT General Manager Roy C. Wilburn (1995). A lifelong resident of Robertsdale, Ron admits he was actually born in New Grenada, at the base of Broad Top Mountain. Ron's Robertsdale background has proved particularly helpful to FEBT during our work on the Old Post Office: As a youngster Ron took accordion lessons from a traveling instructor in this building!
Ron's grandfather and great–grandfather worked as miners in the Rockhill Coal Company's coal mines. During World War II Ron's grandfather worked for the EBT as a tunnel watchman. A member of FEBT since the late 1980s, Ron was one of the founders of the Broad Top Area Coal Miners Historical Society, which since 1990 he has served as president and executive director. Professionally, Ron is a reporter and southern Huntingdon County bureau chief for The Daily News of Huntingdon.
Most FEBT members will recognize Tom Diehl from his work with the FEBT Oral History Program, which he has coordinated since February 1998; several of Tom's interviews have been published in the Timber Transfer. An HO–scale model railroader since the 1960s, Tom first visited the EBT in 1968; since he was too young to drive himself he had to convince his parents to go along! Tom has been an active member of the Robertsdale work crew from the beginning of our rehabilitation of the Old Post Office.
Tom resides in Stroundsburg, Pennsylvania, where he works as a civilian electronics technician for the US Army. Tom is married with three children. His older son is in the Navy, and his daughter is a student at Penn State's Altoona campus. Chad, his younger son, enthusiastically accompanies his father to work sessions at Robertsdale, oral history interviews, and frequent visits to the EBT.
As a member of the FEBT Board of Directors, Tom succeeds Bob Wolny. Bothered by lingering neck problems that have prevented his active participation in recent FEBT activities and operations, Bob decided to resign his seat on the Board in early October. Bob joined the Board in June 1995, when he was elected by the Board to fill a vacant position; in 1997 he was reelected to his present term. Bob also served as FEBT Secretary and chairman of the Fall Reunion Committee in 1997. When communicating Bob's resignation to the Board in November, FEBT President Hank Inman reported that Bob hoped to resume an active role in FEBT when his health improves.
Approximately 50 members attended the 1999 business meeting of Friends of the East Broad Top, held on October 8 at the Orbisonia Lions Hall. After introducing FEBT directors and officers, President Hank Inman summarized FEBT operations since October 1998. John Snyder, Secretary and Acting Manager of the Company Store, and Vice President Deane Mellander reported briefly on matters related to the FEBT Company Store. Hank then reviewed the draft 1998 accounting review report, noting again that this financial statement is based on our accountant's review (rather than an independent audit) of our financial records.
Questions raised and comments made by FEBT members who attended the meeting included the following: Michael Mitzelfeld urged FEBT to accelerate work on the production of a new videotape based on film available to FEBT in the EBT material obtained from the Ryan–Alexander collection. John Heitmann suggested that FEBT could save some printing and postage costs by offering FEBT members the option of electronic distribution of newsletters via the FEBT web site. In a discussion of FEBT's insurance coverage prompted by a question from Walter Goldby, Hank Inman noted that the current coverage for our Robertsdale properties is based on the approximate reproduction costs of rebuilding the Depot and Old Post Office, as determined in 1997 by a Huntingdon County real estate appraiser. Hank also reported that FEBT's property and commercial casualty insurance carrier is Lloyds of London. Robert Farquharson initiated a discussion of FEBT membership, during which FEBT Membership Coordinator Peter Clarke reported that FEBT had a total paid membership of 841 members; John Heitmann and Vagel C. Keller, Assistant Vice President, Member Services, offered additional comments before the meeting concluded.
Production of the issue of the Timber Transfer scheduled to be mailed to FEBT members at the end of September has been delayed. Editor Deane Mellander reports that this issue will be delivered to the printers this month, which means most members should receive it in late December or January. Deane plans to have the next issue of the Timber Transfer (usually mailed to FEBT members at the end of December) ready for mailing early in 2000.
Acting Manager John R. Snyder reports that, with one or two exceptions, full operation of the FEBT Company Store has resumed after its transfer to Hershey in September. While a number of issues related to the operation of the Company Store under previous manager Robert King remain to be resolved, John believes that most problems with lost or unfilled orders have been addressed. Unfortunately, John was unable to rescue some correspondence trapped in the Baltimore post office box that served as the previous mailing address for the Company Store, and these letters were returned to their senders at the end of November. Once again, John reminds FEBT members to contact him with questions or problems involving past orders, providing (if necessary) a copy of your check to confirm payment.
John's reorganization of the Company Store's inventory means that he can respond quickly to fill new orders he receives. FEBT members can now obtain most items previously available from the Company Store, including all back issues of The Timber Transfer. However, John reports that Hon3 C&BT Shops Vulcan trucks, HO FEBT Laconia Coach kits, and On3 C&BT Shops Hopper kits are out of stock. Orders for drawings will be delayed while John, with assistance from William E. Grant, Jr., gets this material organized for reproduction and sale. Plans, drawings, and prints should be available again in January.
Interested FEBT members can view an up–to–date FEBT Company Store Catalog on line at the FEBT web site: www.febt.org. The catalog can also be obtained for $2.50 (to cover printing and postage) from John at the following address:
FEBT Company Store
12 Pheasant Drive
Hershey PA 17033–9792
Finally, FEBT is looking for a volunteer who lives near Hershey who can help John maintain the Company Store inventory and fill mail orders. John estimates that several hours one or two days a month would be required. If you're interested in working with John as a FEBT Company Store volunteer, please contact John directly at the address stated above.
David S. Bucher, who is coordinating our work on the trucks for former East Broad Top Combination Passenger–Baggage Car No. 16, had good news and bad news to report at the November meeting of the FEBT Board of Directors. The good news is that, after many delays, our contractor has completed all work on the journal boxes, the last major component needed for the reproduction truck frames. The bad news is that the final cost for these parts is $11,547.00, approximately $4,000.00 more than their projected cost when work started in 1997.
Dave explains that Trail Tool Company discovered, once work began, that the journal boxes required far more labor to manufacture than estimated. The more labor–intensive fabrication also required an extra year to complete. Trail Tool, who has manufactured most of the metal components needed for the Combine No. 16 truck frames, readily agreed to accept our payment for the journal boxes in several installments. As authorized by the Board of Directors in November, FEBT Treasurer William T. Wheeler has already transmitted our initial payment of $6,000.00 to Trail Tool. The Board plans to pay the remainder in 2000.
Our long–planned major fund–raising campaign, which among its goals includes funds needed to assemble the reproduction truck frames for Combine No. 16, will start next year. Meanwhile, we hope many FEBT members will include FEBT in their celebrations of the "new millennium" with donations to the FEBT Restoration Fund. The new mailing address for these donations is
FEBT Restoration Fund Treasurer
513 Shady Avenue, Apt. 12
Pittsburgh PA 15206
In September FEBT Vice President Deane E. Mellander informed the Board of Directors of his resignation as an officer and director of Friends of the East Broad Top, effective at the end of 1999. One of the five founding directors of FEBT, Deane has served continuously as a member of the Board since 1983. Over the years Deane has also at one time or another been president, chairman of the board, vice president, and secretary of FEBT.
Currently Deane also serves as editor of the Timber Transfer and Restoration Fund Treasurer. Deane notes that, for now, he plans to continue to edit the Timber Transfer, and he will remain active in Friends of the East Broad Top. Deane celebrated the 1999 Thanksgiving holiday by getting married, and we know that all FEBT members will join us in extending our best wishes to Deane and his new wife Cassandra.
At its November meeting the Board of Directors elected Robert Farquharson to serve as director for the remainder of Deane's term of office (through 2000). With FEBT membership number 3, Bob is one of FEBT's first members. Bob participated in early FEBT work sessions at the EBT Rockhill Furnace shops, and he continues to be an active supporter of the FEBT's restoration program and generous contributor to the FEBT Restoration Fund. Bob's interest in preservation of EBT artifacts extends beyond the railroad. Together with John Corson, Bob is developing a growing collection of historic commercial vehicles restored to replicate buses and trucks once operated by the East Broad Top Railroad's transit subsidiary. Last year Bob organized a campaign (ultimately unsuccessful) to relocate to the EBT and refurbish for exhibit a Page dragline excavator similar to the machine once used in the strip mines served by the EBT during the last years of its common–carrier operations.
Although an Indiana native, Bob considers himself a Pennsylvanian, since he grew up in the Philadelphia area and attended Penn State as an undergraduate. An emergency medicine physician, Bob is 47 and lives in Charlotte, North Carolina, with his wife and two sons.
With the concurrence of the Board of Directors, Nancy E. Jacqmin has been appointed by FEBT President Hank Inman to succeed Deane as FEBT Restoration Fund Treasurer. A FEBT member since the early 1990s, Nancy has worked as a volunteer at the FEBT Museum at Robertsdale and assisted FEBT Membership Office operations. As a member of the Fall Reunion work group, Nancy has organized and supervised the FEBT Museum Sunday open house at FEBT Fall Reunions since 1996. Nancy is also a frequent contributor to the FEBT Restoration and Operating Funds. Dedicated to the Green Bay Packers and Pittsburgh Pirates as well as to the East Broad Top Railroad, Nancy is a resident of Pittsburgh, where she is a member of the faculty at Carlow College.