Work on several FEBT Restoration Program projects concluded after the December 1999 FEBT Newsletter was printed. Following is a brief review of our various initiatives, concentrating on work completed at the end of 1999.
In December Robertsdale contractor Robbie Love completed all work related to the installation of connections between the former East Broad Top Railroad Depot and the new Wood–Broad Top–Wells Joint Municipal Authority water and sewage systems. This work, started in April, was delayed throughout the year while the authority and its prime contractor resolved problems with the new water treatment plant.
The new water and sewer connections also proved to be more difficult than we had hoped last year, when we made our preliminary preparations for these connections. As it turned out, the old sewage connection exited the Depot through a cast–iron soil pipe extending four feet straight down from underneath the toilet to run under the base of the concrete scale pit to... who knows where? Thus our contractor was forced to break though the concrete slab bathroom floor to remove the existing pipe and then to excavate a "tunnel" under a corner of the concrete pump base (between the scale pit and the front wall of the building) to install the new sewer service connection to the lateral line we had installed at the end of 1998.
While less complex, another section of the concrete slab floor had to be removed in the utility closet on the opposite side of the Depot so that the service connection to the new water line could be made through a new water meter installed at this location. While Robbie Love completed the sewer connection and floor repairs in the bathroom well before the start of the FEBT Museum's 1999 operating season, the water service connection waited on the acceptance of the new water treatment plant by the local authority. This in turn delayed the final repairs to the concrete floor to early December. The total cost of the work performed by Robbie Love for FEBT in 1999 was $1,500.00.
This winter FEBT member Sherwood Doughman is constructing two exterior benches for the Robertsdale Depot. These simple wood benches will replicate the benches that once supplied outdoor seating on the sidewalk "porch" at the end of the Depot facing Main Street. We invite FEBT members to visit the FEBT Museum this year to "test drive" the new benches.
At the last 1999 Robertsdale work session on October 30, FEBT member–volunteers William Adams and William E. Grant, Jr., installed a test aluminum threshold plate in the main exterior doorway and retractable interior door sweeps on the other three first–floor exterior doors of the Old Post Office. We will evaluate the effectiveness of the door sweeps this winter, but we already plan to install similar thresholds in the other three doorways when work sessions resume at Robertsdale this year. Bill and Bill also installed temporary weather–stripping and seals around all second floor windows and all exterior doors to ready the building for winter.
In December Huntingdon contractor Rex A. Smith performed maintenance and minor repairs to the roof and gutters of the Old Post Office. The cost of this work was $378.00.
The donations we received from FEBT members in December and January together with an additional donation we will receive in April give us more than half of the funds we will need to pay the remainder of $5,547.00 to be paid to Trail Tool for fabricating the journal boxes for the reproduction trucks for Passenger–Baggage Car No. 16. (See related story.) Based on anticipated contributions to the FEBT Restoration Fund during 2000, FEBT President Hank Inman and Vice President David S. Bucher, who is coordinating the truck project, plan to recommend to the Board of Directors that we not only complete our payment to Trail Tool for these truck components, but that this year FEBT should also obtain the bolster end caps and other minor metal parts needed for the truck frames, start assembly of the reproduction truck frames, and assemble the original truck frames leased from the Tweetsie Railroad (used as patterns for the reproduction trucks) and return them to North Carolina.
Work on our architectural documentation of the East Broad Top Railroad's station building at Saltillo was suspended with the onset of winter. This effort, coordinated by FEBT member and architect William E. Grant, Jr., will resume with the return of reasonable weather this spring. In the meantime, Bill is collecting photographs of the Saltillo Station to help us document the building's appearance over the years. Views showing the bay window, the rear, and ends of the station are particularly helpful. If you have photographs, slides, or other information that could assist us, please contact
William E. Grant, Jr.
1405 Windybush Road
Wilmington DE 19810
In late December Huntingdon contractor Rex A. Smith installed additional structural reinforcement recommended by Bill Grant to extend the short–term stability of the building. The cost of this additional bracing for the station's roof supporting framework was underwritten by FEBT member H. Conrad Meyer by arrangement with East Broad Top Railroad President and owner Joseph Kovalchick.
FEBT Restoration Fund Treasurer Nancy E. Jacqmin reports that, as of February 5, 45 FEBT members have contributed a total of $2,280.00 to the FEBT Restoration Fund in year–end donations. Together with an additional donation FEBT will receive in April from Microsoft (see below), these donations provide more than half of the funds required to pay the remainder of the fabrication cost of the journal boxes for the reproduction trucks for FEBT's EBT Passenger–Baggage Combination No. 16.
Here we would like to thank the following FEBT members whose donations Nancy received: Edward J. Adamchik, Wayne Baldwin, William C. Belt, Robert Brown, Kenneth L. Buchen, Steven M. Chorkawy, Peter A. Clarke, David H. Cushwa, James P. Daniels, Wouter deNie, Ian Donaldson, Sherwood Doughman, Warren A. Dryden, William F. Etchberger, Pat Fahey, David E. Graff, Geoffrey H. Hamway, Harold L. Hoeppner, Paul Hoffman, Seth C. Houck, Jack Hutter, Michael P. Joynt, John T. Keene, Ashley Kennedy, Maynard J. Lautenslager, Richard L. Linder, Charles T. Mahan, Jr., James G. Mersereau, James R. Montgomery, Michael J. Murphy, Ronald L. Pearson, James N. Purman, R. Lee Rainey, Bernard E. Rumker, Douglas Schleef, James W. Seville, Shawn E. Stauffer, Dennis R. Straub, William Toikka, Jerry Trovillion, Fred H. Voelcker, Jr., Sam W. Wilder, Andrew P. Wittenborn, Edward J. Wood, and Randall H. Young.
Contributions to the FEBT Restoration Fund are always welcome. Please mail these donations to
FEBT Restoration Fund
c/o Nancy E. Jacqmin
513 Shady Avenue, Apt. 12
Pittsburgh PA 15206
At the beginning of February Microsoft informed FEBT that in April we would receive a significant donation for our restoration program from the Microsoft Matching Gift Program, based on 1999 payroll–deduction donations made by FEBT member and Microsoft employee William Blomgren. By making this donation through his employer's corporate giving program, Bill doubled the amount of this 1999 contribution to FEBT. As a not–for–profit corporation with tax-exempt status under Section 501(c)(3) of the US Internal Revenue Code, Friends of the East Broad Top qualifies for many employer matching donation programs. If your employer has such a program, we will be happy to supply the information about FEBT your employer needs to match your contributions to FEBT.
Don Drawer, developer of a private narrow-gauge railroad near Fort Lupton, Colorado, and owner of an eclectic collection of narrow-gauge rolling stock, died in January. In recent years Mr. Drawer had suffered from a number of health problems. Among the items in the Drawer collection are two former East Broad Top Railroad passenger cars: Passenger-Baggage Combination No. 18 and Baggage-Express Car No. 29. Both cars were sold by the EBT in 1954 and were subsequently purchased by Mr. Drawer.
Since 1983 Friends of the East Broad Top has maintained direct and indirect contact with Mr. Drawer. The FEBT members who over the years visited Fort Lupton or otherwise helped us monitor the condition of the two EBT passenger cars include Gary R. Altschuler, Glenn E. Christensen, Robert Farquharson, Mallory Hope Ferrell, and Robert W. Richardson. More recently Lindsey Ashby, president and general manager of the Georgetown Loop Railroad, has served as our contact with Mr. Drawer.
It is our understanding that the Drawer family intends to maintain Mr. Drawer's collection and continue development of his railroad at the Fort Lupton site.
Acting Manager John R. Snyder reports that the reorganization of plans, drawings, and prints at the FEBT Company Store is nearing completion, and these items should soon again be available. A complete list of prints, drawings, and plans available from the FEBT Company Store will be circulated to FEBT members later this year.
John has ordered additional copies of the Historic American Buildings Survey-Historic American Engineering Record publictions dealing with topics related to the East Broad Top Railroad. These publications are Lola M. Bennett's The Company Towns of the Rockhill Iron and Coal Company: Robertsdale and Woodvale (1990), Nancy S. Shedd's Huntingdon County, Pennsylvania: An Inventory of Historic Engineering and Industrial Sites(1991), and Kim E. Wallace's Brickyard Towns: A History of Refractories Industry Communities in South-Central Pennsylvania (1993). Copies of these softcover books and Full Steam Ahead (1995), the report summarizing a consultants' proposal for the restoration and development of the East Broad Top Railroad, can be purchased from the FEBT Company Store and at the FEBT Musuem in Robertsdale.
Our supply of an earlier study conducted by the US National Park Service, Study of Alternatives: East Broad Top Railroad (1990) was exhausted last year. Copies of this book will be restocked at both the FEBT Museum and the Company Store, if this title is still in print. Contact John or check the FEBT web site for more information.
John advises all FEBT members that he is continuing to honor sale prices for orders of certain overstocked back issues of the Timber Transfer. The sale of these back issues was announced last summer and was to have concluded August 31, 1999. Because our inventory of the back issues then on sale is still greater than necessary, John has extended indefinitely the sale on these issues only. If you don't have the sales announcement from last summer, you can obtain a copy from John by sending a self–addressed, stamped (55–cent) envelope to him at the address given below.
Several FEBT members have contacted John to ask if the FEBT Company Store plans to carry the new audio compact disk recording featuring the East Broad Top Railroad recently introduced by Green Frog Productions. Based on John's preliminary discussions with Green Frog, it appears that the reduced discount Green Frog is quoting retailers for its CD recordings may make offering the EBT CD for sale to FEBT members at the usual member discount unfeasible. John is pursuing this matter with Green Frog, and he promises to let FEBT members know the result of these discussions as soon as possible.
Interested FEBT members can view an up–to–date FEBT Company Store Catalog on line at the FEBT web site: www.febt.org. The current 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, while John has been able to address almost all of the problems FEBT members have reported with orders caught in the sudden transfer of Company Store operations from Baltimore to Hershey last September, we want to make sure that all such problems have been discovered and resolved with as few further delays as possible. Please contact John directly if you have an incomplete or unfilled order for merchandise from the FEBT Company Store, if any past payment to the Company Store never cleared your bank, or if your order was returned to you when the Baltimore post office box set up as the previous Company Store mailing address was closed. Because we have not yet successfully recovered all sales and financial records from the previous manager of the Company Store, John reminds FEBT members he will need a complete list of what you ordered and a copy of your canceled check so he can rectify any remaining problems with past FEBT Company Store transactions.
In the December 1999 FEBT Newsletter we neglected to mention that in November the Board of Directors elected David S. Bucher to succeed Deane E. Mellander as FEBT Vice President. Dave will serve the remainder of Deane's term of office, until the Board elects new officers at its 2000 organizing meeting.
Dave has served several terms as a FEBT director and has coordinated the FEBT Combine No. 16 truck reproduction project since its inception. Dave and his family live in the Philadelphia metropolitan area, where Dave works for the Federal government.
FEBT members Patricia J. Nape and Christopher D. Coleman organized a FEBT display table at the Buckeye Model Train and Railroad Artifacts Show held in Columbus, Ohio, on December 18, 1999. There Pat and Chris distributed information about the East Broad Top Railroad and Friends of the East Broad Top.
The organizers of the Twentieth National Narrow Gauge Convention, to be held August 30 to September 2, 2000, in Saint Louis, Missouri, have provided a table in the manufacturers display area to FEBT. If you're planning to attend this convention or live in the Saint Louis area and would like to help us set up our display table, please contact
Hank Inman, FEBT President
2016 A Park Avenue
Richmond VA 23220
We also invite you to contact Hank if you're planning to attend other train shows or conventions during the coming year and are interested in setting up a display table or distributing EBT and FEBT information.
FEBT members are requested to vote to elect five persons to the nine member Board of Directors of Friends of the East Broad Top, Inc., using the ballots included with this newsletter. All FEBT members holding regular, family, sustaining, life, senior, student, and basic memberships are eligible to vote in this election. The directors chosen by FEBT members in this election will serve two–year terms of office.
The Nominating Committee for this election cycle, consisting of Robert Farquharson (chairman), William E. Grant, Jr., and R. Lee Rainey, received only the names of the five incumbent directors holding seats up for election as potential nominees, so only these five candidates are listed on the official ballot. However, write–in votes are permitted, and space on the ballot has been provided for such votes.
As in the past, the five candidates were asked to provide information for distribution to FEBT members for this election. Each candidate was asked to provide a written statement of 100 words or less summarizing his or her past and present contributions to Friends of the East Broad Top and indicating what he or she would do if elected. These responses are reproduced below (minimally edited), in the order in which the candidates' names appear on the official ballot. (The order in which candidates are listed here and on the ballot was determined by randomization.) An asterisk (*) denotes an incumbent director running for reelection.
I have been involved, directly or indirectly, with planning for the COMPLETE restoration of the EBT since the mid–1960s. I became active in FEBT on a limited basis during the mid–1980s and helped establish the Broad Top Area Coal Miners Historical Society Museum at Robertsdale in 1990. Since that time I have worked closely with FEBT and numerous other local, county, state, and regional/national groups in "partnership" activities that supported EBT and Broad Top area historic preservation and travel promotion endeavors. If elected to the FEBT Board I will continue to work toward these goals. As many know, I strongly support limited restoration activities at Robertsdale and Wood while the larger EBT project is mapped out. I feel FEBT and the coal miners museum can cooperate in bringing about a number of interpretive activities at Robertsdale and Wood related to the EBT and coal mining.
I have served two terms on the FEBT Board and have provided additional help to the organization when time permits. I have served 16 years on the Board of Directors of Railways to Yesterday; I have also served as RTY secretary for 10 years. I am currently RTY restoration chairman and have recently completed the restoration of an open trolley as well as rebuilding and painting a 100–year–old Washington DC snow sweeper. My goal as FEBT director would be to continuing working with FEBT officers and other directors to strengthen our relationship with the EBT. In the past I have contributed to the FEBT Board the time I had available, and I will continue to do the same in the future.
I intend to work with the current and new Board members to help improve relations between FEBT and the management of the East Broad Top Railroad to help return us to the point where we are welcome on the property in an official capacity, possibly even returning to the point where we will be providing work crews for various projects on the active portion of the railroad. I hope to see us live up to our name and truly become "FRIENDS of the East Broad Top."
I am a FEBT life member. I have helped in the past with various functions, such as assisting in staffing FEBT displays at national narrow gauge conventions around the country. I have enjoyed helping as a Fall Reunion volunteer working with the FEBT Company Store for the past several years. My family and I have been restoration volunteers on both the Robertsdale and Combine No. 16 projects. If elected my hope is that I can use the management skills gained from years of business experience to assist the FEBT Board in developing the vision of the organization as a whole.
I first went to the EBT as a babe in arms and have been interested ever since. I joined FEBT at its beginning, have participated in all its restoration projects, and have written several historical articles for the Timber Transfer. I am involved in several "living history" organizations and was a tour guide a four different museums. I have seen historical sites preserved well, and badly. As curator of the FEBT Museum and a member of the Board, I can suggest successes to follow and problems to avoid. As a director I would continue to work for an accurately restored EBT.
Gary L. Booher has again kindly agreed to serve as judge and count the ballots for this election. All 1999 election ballots must be mailed to FEBT Directors Election, c/o Gary L. Booher, Election Judge, P. O. Box 111, Rockhill Furnace PA 17249. Only ballots received by March 15, 2000 can be counted.
The 2000 FEBT Early Bird Exporation on Saturday and Sunday, April 8–9, starts this year's calendar of FEBT events. Organized again by FEBT member Christopher D. Coleman, the 2000 Early Bird Exploration will focus on the two ends of the East Broad Top Railroad. On Saturday the FEBT members who join Chris will start by exploring Wood(vale), the former company town developed in the 1890s by the Rockhill Iron and Coal Company. Chris's guided visits to publicly–accessible sections of the EBT right–of–way will conclude on Sunday with a visit to Mount Union, where the coal mined at Woodvale and Robertsdale was transported by the EBT for use at the refractory brick plants or transfer to the Pennsylvania Railroad.
Further information about this FEBT–sponsored event can be found on the registration form inside this newsletter. All registration forms and inquiries about the 2000 Early Bird Exploration should be directed to
FEBT Early Bird Exploration
c/o Christopher D. Coleman
114 East Oakland Avenue
Columbus OH 43201–1279
Telephone: (614)&nbs;267–6397 (evenings)
The 2000 FEBT Summer Celebration, marking the start of operations on the East Broad Top Railroad and the FEBT Museum in Robertsdale, will take place on Saturday and Sunday, June 3–4.
On Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, October 6–8, FEBT will hold its Eighteenth Fall Reunion in conjunction with the East Broad Top Railroad's 2000 Fall Spectacular.
Information about these future events, the 2000 FEBT Museum schedule, and the dates of volunteer work sessions will be announced in future issues of the FEBT Newsletter.