By Hank Inman, President
Friends of the East Broad Top
With this special edition of our newsletter Friends of the East Broad Top announces the start of our second major fund–raising campaign. In 1993–1994 we successfully raised over $40,000.00 for our restoration program. Those funds were used to match a grant–and–loan award we received for the first phase of our rehabilitation of the old Robertsdale post office to begin fabrication of the wood and metal components required to put trucks under former East Broad Top Railroad combination car no. 16. Donations we have received in subsequent years have allowed us to sustain our work on these and other projects. However, it is now time to renew our efforts to raise the significant financial resources we need to move forward on the next stages of each of our current restoration projects; to retire the debt we assumed for the first phase of the post office work; and to develop our museum, its collections, and its operations. On the following pages we present brief summaries of the background, present status, and the work we hope to accomplish during the next phases of these efforts.
Among other things, you will observe that for the restoration program alone, the total amount we estimate we will need to tackle the next stages of our four current projects exceeds $150,000.00. The additional funds we anticipate using for development and debt retirement increase this total even more. Is it realistic for us to imagine that we can obtain these funds during the next three to five years?
Of course, our board of directors is committed to seeking available grant funding to support our restoration, museum, and other development activities. For example, we have submitted applications for the Trains Preservation Award each year it has been offered; this year we proposed to use the $10,000.00 award (if we receive it) to underwrite the cost of the engineering assessment of options for saving, rehabilitating, or reconstructing the Saltillo station building. But grant funding is not easy to obtain—what other sources of funding can we tap? In our current fund–raising campaign we plan for the first time to make a concerted effort to solicit donations from the larger railfan community. Through advertising in obvious rail–oriented publications and publicity distributed even more widely, we hope individuals who are not currently FEBT members will contribute funds to supplement the donations we receive from you and other FEBT members. As part of this effort, we have obtained permission from well–known artists like Ted Rose, John H. Coker, and Frank Vietor to use reproductions of original art featuring the East Broad Top Railroad in our fund–raising campaign.
But the key to the success of our campaign, as in all of our programs and activities, is the support we will receive from you and other FEBT members. All hope of obtaining the financial resources we need within the time–frame in which these resources can be profitably employed rests on those of us who, as FEBT members, are committed to the preservation and restoration of the East Broad Top Railroad. Each component piece of the EBT we can save, preserve, or restore whether single artifact, railroad car, or building means that a part of the EBT's unique history and heritage will survive for the future. And with each piece of the EBT we preserve for the future, we move closer to our larger goal: the preservation and restoration of the entire railroad.
As you and other FEBT members know, some of what we propose to accomplish in the next several years will put us within sight of completing work on projects like the rehabilitation of the two Robertsdale buildings for museum use. On the other hand, some of what we propose serves as only the next step toward longer–range finish–lines. After the reproduction trucks have been assembled we have the structural repair and restoration of combine no. 16 itself to tackle. If our engineering consultant recommends one or more feasible options for saving the station building at Saltillo and suitable arrangements can be negotiated with the East Broad Top Railroad that would allow us to undertake this work, we will then have to determine how to proceed. In the meantime we know what we need to do now; the only real issue we face is how to pay for this work.
How will our board of directors allocate the funds we receive during this campaign? Some items require attention now. Somehow each month our treasurer will need to forward the payment required by our loan repayment schedule. The engineering assessment of the Saltillo station building must be started this fall if we hope to realize any opportunity to undertake further work aimed at saving this historic building. If the donations we receive within the next several months indicate that we can reasonably expect to meet these expenses, our directors will then determine, based on the funds likely to be available in each coming year, what specific work on each of our tasks can be funded.
As in any long–distance race, a good start to our campaign is crucial. Of course we will keep you informed of our progress throughout the campaign: progress both in terms of the funds we obtain and in the work these funds permit us to accomplish. On behalf of the directors and officers of Friends of the East Broad Top, I invite you to join us in this effort. Please forward your contributions to Nancy E. Jacqmin, FEBT restoration fund treasurer, at the following address:
Friends of the East Broad Top
Restoration Fund Treasurer
513 Shady Avenue, No. 12
Pittsburgh PA 15206–4447
With your participation I am certain our campaign will succeed. Thank you in advance for your support.
ROBERT W. RICHARDSON
BELLEFONTE PA 16823
Dear Friend of the East Broad Top,
East Broad Top Railroad 2–8–2 no. 17 rolling past the depot at Orbisonia Station, trailing a coal consist tailed by a combine to be spotted just clear of the crossing! Ted Rose's painting Mount Union Train has captured a scene once familiar to those of us fortunate to have explored the East Broad Top long ago. This image brings back memories of a dew–dampened platform, the odor of coal smoke mingled with escaping steam, wispy remnants of morning fog, the tall stacks of that now unique shop, crew members waiting for the run to Mount Union, a passenger or two, and sacks of mail ready to become the temporary wards of the conductor. Though it's daylight the locomotive's headlight is on and the station lights brighten the scene. It was a time when it seemed all over Pennsylvania coal trains rumbled from the mines to feed countless industries. Now the Broad Top coal mines are almost forgotten, and only a few miles of the East Broad Top's rails are shiny.
Friends of the East Broad Top is committed to preserving more than these memories of other times. You, I, and the other members of Friends of the East Broad Top have undertaken the rehabilitation of the Robertsdale depot and the old post office building. We have financed the construction of "new" trucks for combine no. 16. Volunteers are working to expand museum operations at Robertsdale. Others have undertaken preliminary work needed to preserve the Saltillo station and the unique Coles Station water tank. FEBT members have contributed many hours of hard work in these endeavors. But volunteer efforts and good intentions are not enough. Most relics of our railroad past, be they rolling stock or structures, cost more to preserve, maintain, and protect than their original cost. Hence this appeal to all friends of this little railroad for donations to support further work on these and other efforts to preserve the heritage and history of the East Broad Top Railroad.
My first encounter with the East Broad Top Railroad was some sixty years ago. The first buildings I saw were the depot and post office at Robertsdale, so I suppose I have a personal desire to see them preserved. The M–1 gas–electric car I boarded that day in Robertsdale still operates at the East Broad Top Railroad, and I'm encouraged by the hard–working volunteers who have spent so many hours and so many days laboring at Robertsdale.
So here is your opportunity, however distant you may be from Broad Top Mountain and the East Broad Top Railroad, to "volunteer" your own financial support for this work. And the reproduction of "Mount Union Train" you receive as a reward for contributing to the Friends of the East Broad Top campaign will allow you to share the memories so skillfully captured by Ted Rose, too.
Cofounder and long–time executive director of the Colorado Railroad Museum, FEBT member Robert W. Richardson has made frequent contributions to support our restoration program. Since his retirement and relocation to Pennsylvania in 1991 he has been a regular visitor to the East Broad Top Railroad and FEBT Museum.
What has our restoration program accomplished so far? Here we review the status and plans for each of our current restoration projects; summaries of two projects under consideration are also described.
Assembly of reproduction trucks, including wheels and axles, is the next step in our restoration of combine no. 16. The total estimated cost for this work: $50,000.00.
Background: The origin of the East Broad Top Railroad's combination passenger–baggage car no. 16 is obscure. According to EBT historians Lee Rainey and Frank Kyper, this car was one of three combination cars on the EBT's 1916 roster; these cars were purchased by the EBT between 1873 and 1885. Combine no. 16 was rebuilt at least once by the EBT. It was retired from service in 1941, stripped of its trucks, brake equipment, and other metal components, and sold for use as a storage shed. Eventually it was acquired by the New Jersey Museum of Transportation. In February 1988 Friends of the East Broad Top leased the combine from the New Jersey museum for 99 years, with the object of returning the car to the East Broad Top Railroad fully restored to operating condition. The car is currently stored under cover at the museum's facility in Allaire State Park.
What we've done so far: FEBT volunteers started work on the combine at Allaire in 1987. Material was removed from the car's interior, and the car's metal roof sheathing and sections of molding, letterboard, and side sheathing were removed to permit inspection. One of the combine's roof ribs was removed to serve as a pattern for new ribs needed to replace those damaged by rot and deterioration. FEBT member Sherwood Doughman repaired and reconstructed sashes for the combine's windows and clerestory. FEBT member William E. Grant, Jr., prepared measured drawings of the car.
FEBT recognized that obtaining suitable trucks for use under the combine was a major obstacle to restoring the car to operating condition. After exploring various alternatives, in December 1990 FEBT executed a lease with the Tweetsie Railroad which allowed us to use the original U–pedestal, wood–frame trucks from former EBT coach no. 5 as patterns for reproduction trucks for combine no. 16. In October 1992 FEBT members Vagel C. Keller and Rick C. Shoup transported these leased trucks from Blowing Rock, North Carolina, to a contractor near Elkton, Maryland. There the trucks from coach no. 5 were disassembled and cleaned. FEBT member David S. Bucher, who has served as the coordinator of our work on the reproduction trucks for combine no. 16, then obtained estimates for fabricating and manufacturing the various wood and metal parts we needed.
We obtained the journal boxes, the last major components for the reproduction trucks in 1999. Unfortunately the final cost of the completed journal boxes was approximately twice what was originally estimated. Donations we received from FEBT members in our 1999 and 2000 end–of–year solicitations allowed us to complete payment for the journal boxes earlier this year. We also have commissioned the fabrication of several additional minor metal pieces needed when the trucks are assembled. Ignoring a $1,000.00 bond given to the Tweetsie Railroad to guarantee the safe return of the leased trucks from coach no. 5, FEBT has to date spent or committed a total of $23,088.65 on the reproduction trucks for combine no. 16. This total includes $20,530.63 for wood and metal components for the reproduction trucks and $2,558.03 for transportation, disassembly, and cleaning the trucks leased from the Tweetsie Railroad. (The value of labor contributed by various FEBT members to this project is not included in this total.)
The next step: Earlier this year Dave Bucher discussed assembling the reproduction trucks with Linn Moedinger at the Strasburg Rail Road. Based on this discussion, the cost to assemble the reproduction trucks for combine no. 16 (including reassembly of the leased trucks from coach no. 5) is currently estimated to be $25,000.00. Before assembly can begin, however, we need to obtain the wheel–and–axle sets for the reproduction trucks; these are currently estimated to cost $13,000.00. Transportation and other expenses are likely to add $2,000.00 to the estimated costs for the trucks, yielding an estimate of $50,000.00 for the total cost of the next phase of work on combine no. 16.
Completion of final exterior work and all interior work needed to allow full use of first floor museum comprise the next phase of our rehabilitation of the old Robertsdale post office. The estimated total cost for this work: $55,000.00.
Background: The old post office building in the company town of Robertsdale was constructed circa 1916 by the Rockhill Iron and Coal Company. As built, the first floor of the building housed the town's post office and a two–chair barber shop, while the second–floor constructed as an apartment was used for a variety of purposes. In the late 1960s and early 1970s the building briefly served as the location of various small–scale commercial enterprises. In December 1987 Friends of the East Broad Top purchased the old post office and its lot for $11,000.00, using funds provided by an anonymous benefactor for this purpose.
What we've done so far: In 1994 a second application for grant support led to the award of a combined matching grant and loan from the Southwestern Pennsylvania Heritage Preservation Commission for the first phase of our rehabilitation of this historic building. After several delays, work on this project started in 1996. At the conclusion of work in February 1998, a new fiber–cement shingle roof had been applied; eaves and ridge ventilators, gutters and drainpipes installed; the chimney disassembled and reconstructed; extensive exterior and interior work to improve drainage completed; the exterior walls repaired and two "missing" section of block wall restored; a new first floor and its supporting structure installed; new interior staircase installed; existing wood windows repaired and new custom wood window sashes fabricated and installed where needed, and salvage wood exterior doors installed; installation of rough plumbing completed; second–floor balcony reconstructed; reinforcement for second–floor supporting structure installed; insulation installed in attic and under new first floor; existing first–floor partition wall framing repaired and reinstalled, and interior walls on first and second–floor mechanical rooms completed; electrical service connection and construction wiring completed; and independent first and second–floor heating and air conditioning systems installed. The total cost of this work was $81,857.75. FEBT paid these costs using the $20,000.00 SPHPC loan; the $20,000.00 SPHPC grant; a $2,100.00 grant from the Potomac Chapter, National Railway Historical Society; $10,665.64 in donated professional services, project administration, and administrative expenses; $5,536.50 in labor donated by FEBT members; $561.10 in donated materials; and $22,994.51 in donations contributed by FEBT members.
Since 1998 work performed (or in progress) by contractors and FEBT volunteers has included priming and painting all exterior wood trim, windows, and doors; the fabrication and installation of custom wood–frame storm windows to protect the first–floor windows; sanding, painting, and varnishing the wood first floor and staircase; and stripping, bundling, and tagging wood wainscotting from the first–floor interior walls. The materials and contracted work on the post office since 1998 has required total additional expenditures exceeding $6,300.00, bringing the current investment of FEBT and our members in this project to more than $99,157.75. (The value of labor contributed by our Robertsdale work crew since 1998 is not incorporated in this estimate.)
The next step: The work to be completed in the next phase of this project includes a concrete sidewalk along the front of the building; restoration of a final section and minor repairs to exterior block walls; fabrication and installation of custom wood–frame storm windows to protect remaining windows; restoration of original plaster applied to interior faces of concrete–block walls; cleaning, preparation, and reinstallation of wood wainscotting and trim on first–floor walls; installation of first–floor ceiling to replicate appearance of original metal ceiling; installation of all electrical wiring and lighting; and installation of finish plumbing and first–floor fixtures.
Installation of a new metal roof, gutters, and drainpipes; fabrication and installation of custom wood–frame storm windows; reconditioning of existing radiators and installation of a suitable furnace and controls; installation of additional electrical wiring and plumbing; and completion of other minor repairs to building's exterior and interior are needed to improve use of the former Robertsdale depot for our museum. Estimated total cost: $45,000.00.
Background: The existing station building in Robertsdale was erected by the East Broad Top Railroad circa 1914. Its use by the railroad ended with the suspension of common–carrier operations in 1956. In subsequent years the building was the location of a convenience store. Friends of the East Broad Top obtained control over this historic property through a 50–year lease executed in December 1987. The terms of the lease called for payment in advance of $12,500.00, representing 50 lease payments of $250.00 per year. The required payment was made using funds provided for this purpose by the same anonymous benefactor who contributed the funds used to purchase the nearby old post office building.
What we've done so far: In 1988 FEBT members started repairs to the metal roof and removed wall coverings and a suspended ceiling installed when the building was used as a convenience store. A water service connection and temporary plumbing was installed. During the next two years additional roof repairs were completed; windows repaired, reglazed, and protected with screens; the exterior of the building was painted; electrical service connection, circuit–breaker box, and wiring installed; and an oil–fired, warm–air furnace installed to provide interim heat to the building. (In 1994 it was estimated that the value of this work, mostly in the form of donated labor and materials, exceeded $25,000.00.) The completion of this and other work led to the opening of the FEBT Museum in the former depot in 1991.
In recent years work on this building has continued. Among other tasks, the interior (except for the baggage room) has been entirely repainted; all windows have been restored to operating condition; and various repairs have been made to the roof, eaves, fascia, soffits, and other parts of the building's exterior to provide a suitable environment for the current level of museum operations. A new water and sewage system serving Robertsdale required excavation and installation of new lateral connecting lines to the depot in 1998 and 1999. During the past three years the cost of these improvements and related building maintenance has exceeded $4,251.83. Ignoring the value of labor contributed since 1991, FEBT and our members have to date invested more than $41,751.83 in the rehabilitation of this building.
The next step: The work incorporated into the next phase of this project would substantially advance our rehabilitation of this historic building. When complete the building will be restored to its circa–1950 appearance and provide exhibition space for the FEBT Museum.
A consulting engineer familiar with the problems and requirements of working with endangered historic building will be commissioned to inspect the Saltillo station building, assess its present condition, and recommend feasible options for the long–term stabilization, rehabilitation, or reconstruction of this building. Friends of the East Broad Top will also obtain the necessary additional working drawings, specifications, and estimated budget for these recommended options, so that FEBT and the East Broad Top Railroad can realistically consider what can be done to save this historic structure. Estimated cost for this phase of the project: $10,000.00.
Background: The existing station building at Saltillo was apparently constructed in 1892, but extensively modified in 1908, 1909, and 1913. After the EBT ceased common–carrier operations in 1956 the building was used intermittently for storage. In 1998 deterioration of the roof and its supporting structure threatened failure of the roof framework and immanent collapse of the entire building.
What we've done so far: With the permission of the EBT, FEBT commissioned a local civil engineer to inspect the building and recommend ties and bracing needed to insure its short–term stabilization. Further discussions with the EBT led to the successful installation of these braces and ties in May 1999; additional bracing recommended by FEBT member and architect William E. Grant, Jr., was installed in December of that year. By agreement with the EBT, this contracted work was performed for, and its approximately $3,000.00 cost personally paid by, FEBT member H. Conrad Meyer. Starting in 1999, FEBT volunteers supervised by Bill Grant started to photograph, measure, and otherwise document details of the building's construction and the present condition of the station's interior. Almost complete, the goal of this effort is to produce as complete a record as possible of the existing building, with the intention that this information will serve as the basis for future work needed to save, rehabilitate, or reconstruct this unique historic structure.
The next step: As part of our commitment to doing what we can to preserve this building, we have recently offered to assume responsibility for pest control and site security in recent discussions with the EBT and representatives of the Saltillo borough council. Once the engineering assessment is in our hands, our discussions with the EBT about the future of the building can resume. However, the present condition of the station building suggests that unless the engineering and additional architectural work described above is completed by early 2002, it is highly unlikely that the building can be saved.
To conclude this discussion of our restoration program, brief descriptions of two projects under consideration for the future follow.
Background: The water tank at Coles Station is the last standing example of the EBT's enclosed water tanks. The present tank and building apparently date from the 1920s, replacing an earlier enclosed tank at this location. In the early 1960s the gasoline engine inside the pumphouse annex was removed by the railroad; the belt–driven pump used to move water supplied by a nearby spring to the elevated water storage tank was stolen by vandals several years ago.
What we've done so far: With the EBT's permission, in 1998 the engineer who inspected the Saltillo station building for FEBT also examined the Coles Station water tank. His report indicated that the water tank was in reasonably good condition, although he recommended that supplemental bracing be inserted to reinforce a joist near a damaged supporting post. This work was completed by the contractor who installed the ties and braces at Saltillo in May 1999.
In late 1999 volunteers working to secure the exterior of the water tank building discovered vandals had removed several staves from the wood water tank. FEBT has joined with the EBT to offer a $750.00 reward for information leading to the identification, arrest, and conviction of the persons responsible for this damage. FEBT has indicated to the EBT our interest in insuring the security of the water tank and our interest in eventually undertaking repairs needed to maintain the long–term survival of the water tank at Coles Station.
Background: The third locomotive to carry this number, standard–gauge 0–6–0 was constructed by the Baldwin Locomotive Works for the EBT in 1907 for switching duty at the coal preparation plant and interchange yard at Mount Union. In 1956 the locomotive was stored in the Mount Union enginehouse; it was sold in 1974 to the Whitewater Valley Railroad, a tourist operation in Connersville, Indiana. After operating for approximately ten years, the former EBT locomotive was partially disassembled for a never–completed overhaul.
What we've done so far: In June 1989 FEBT member Deane E. Mellander and consultant Linn Moedinger of the Strasburg Railroad visited Connersville to inspect no. 6. In his written report to FEBT, Linn made the following recommendation: "My conclusion is that the locomotive would make a fine static display and should be preserved, but returning it to service would be an extremely expensive proposition and may entail replacing major parts which would essentially devalue it as a historic piece." In 1999 the Whitewater Valley Railroad offered to sell locomotive no. 6 to FEBT, as is, for $15,000.00 indicating that the locomotive would be offered to the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania if FEBT chose not to purchase it. After consulting the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania, the FEBT board of directors declined to purchase no. 6 but encouraged the Whitewater Valley Railroad to pursue the proposed sale to the state railroad museum. In our discussions with the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania, FEBT has suggested that once the museum acquires this former EBT locomotive, FEBT members may provide volunteer labor and FEBT may be able to offer some financial support for the restoration of the locomotive for static display.
Based on the significant estimated cost to load and transport the former EBT 0–6–0 to Pennsylvania from its current location, late last year the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania informed the Whitewater Valley Railroad that it was interested in acquiring the locomotive but not at the $15,000.00 proposed purchase price. The director of the state railroad museum reports that to date he has received no response to the museum's counteroffer.
One of the challenges FEBT faces is the successful development of our museum including its collections and operations. Ten years ago FEBT first opened our museum in the partly rehabilitated former East Broad Top Railroad depot in Robertsdale. Since that time we have moved from having the museum open only during special events to regular weekend operation from June through mid–October each year. We still have much further to go, and our continuing efforts to improve the quality of both our museum and its operation requires more than our present level of funding allows. Additional resources you provide to FEBT in the course of this campaign will allow us to develop our museum, its collections, and its operations in the following ways.
The FEBT Museum site in Robertsdale incorporates two historic buildings: the former East Broad Top Railroad station and old post office. While it is natural at this stage to focus our primary efforts on the two buildings, completion of our museum site will require additional work. The lot surrounding the post office must be graded and resurfaced to insure that surface runoff is properly directed to the storm sewer rather than into our rehabilitated building! (Our estimate for the cost of this work is approximately $10,000.00.) Eventually we plan to restore at least in appearance the track–scale platform in front of the depot. The museum site will also need signs and other visitor amenities.
As the development of our museum site continues, we will certainly encounter other expenses needed to complete or enhance the appearance and operation of our museum. For example, last year FEBT allocated $163.89 for our share of the materials used to reconstruct the pedestrian bridge over Trough Creek. This bridge provides direct access between our museum site and the museum operated by the Broad Top Area Coal Miners Historical Society in Robertsdale's Reality Theater.
Most of the artifacts now held by our museum were donated or loaned to FEBT for this purpose. However, several items now in our collection were purchased, and it seems reasonable to suppose that we will augment the existing collection by future additional purchases. For example, in 1990 we purchased the EBT handcar in our collection for $5,000.00. In more recent years, we have expended $2,674.00 to acquire two sets of historic photo negatives, master copies of the drawings produced by the Historic American Engineering Record for the EBT's Rockhill Furnace shops complex, and a bound volume of EBT locomotive service reports from 1949.
In addition to the cost of acquisition, artifacts intended for archival preservation or museum display require appropriate care and presentation. As we complete work on the exhibition space in our two buildings we will need to obtain professional assistance to design and construct permanent displays for items in our museum collection. We will also need to continue our current efforts to catalog and preserve documents, photos, and other archival materials, so that they can eventually be used by FEBT members and other qualified persons interested in the history of the East Broad Top Railroad. While the costs of these future activities cannot now be determined, it makes sense for us to start planning for them now.
As our efforts to improve the physical attributes of our museum continue, we must not forget that we will incur higher operating expenses as our museum evolves. Costs for utilities have increased substantially during the past several years, and we expect these and other operating costs to continue to rise. To develop operations at our museum we anticipate we will incur additional advertising, insurance, and other administrative expenses. Since the income our museum now produces does not cover current overhead and operating costs, we expect that we will have to continue to depend on other sources of funding to support the operation of our museum both now and in the future. For this reason we encourage FEBT members to help us meet these expenses through donations earmarked for the development of and support for operation of the FEBT Museum
Obtaining financial support for our museum (and restoration program) has its own costs. Sources of grant funding must be identified, applications prepared and submitted, and any grants successfully obtained must be properly administered. Fund–raising efforts like our current campaign require payments for printing, postage, and other costs. Thus another use for the donations we receive for "development" is to defray these costs. For example, to encourage donations from railfans and others who are not FEBT members we are advertising in obvious railfan magazines; these advertisements and similar efforts to attract publicity will require significant financial resources during the course of our current campaign. Several FEBT members have underwritten the startup costs of this campaign we hope you and other FEBT members will provide the funding necessary to keep it going!
To complete repayment of the loan Friends of the East Broad Top received for work on the old Robertsdale post office we need a total of $15,449.60 to make 80 scheduled monthly loan payments due between now and 2008.
Background: In 1994 the Southwestern Pennsylvania Heritage Preservation Commission awarded FEBT a matching grant and loan totaling $40,000.00 for the first phase of our rehabilitation of the old post office in Robertsdale. In February 1998 FEBT executed the formal note for the $20,000.00 loan portion of this award. The terms of this loan called for the repayment of the loan principal plus three percent annual interest in 120 monthly payments of $193.12 each over the course of the next ten years. As of August 2001 we have completed 40 of these loan payments, leaving $13,987.08 of the original principal and $1,462.52 in additional interest to be paid. Thus in each of the next 80 months we will need the resources to make the scheduled payment of $193.12.