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 the second year of our fund–raising campaign. Thanks to the generosity of FEBT members, railfans, and other donors supporting our efforts to preserve and restore unique pieces of the history of the East Broad Top Railroad, we received over $86,000 in donations during the first year of our campaign. These donations include $1,803.21 in contributions from corporate matching gift programs but do not reflect an additional $1,250 in matching contributions we expect to obtain for donations we received before August 31. Nor does this total reflect 200 shares of Pfizer common stock—with a current value of approximately $6,000—given to us in March. During its first year, the costs of our campaign—including advertising, publicity, printing, and postage— totaled slightly less than $14,000. Thus, aside from the donated securities which we continue to hold, we obtained over $72,000 which we have applied and will commit to achieve our restoration and development goals.`
With your support, we have purchased and returned passenger cars 18 and 29 to the East Broad Top Railroad.
With your support, we have resumed onsite restoration work at Rockhill Furnace after a hiatus of 17 years.
With your support, we will be able to use a 2002 National Railway Historical Society heritage grant to purchase wheels and axles for East Broad Top Railroad combine no. 16.
With your support, we have refined our plans for the next phases of work on our museum buildings at Roberts dale.
With your support, we are in position to determine if and how to proceed with further work on the East Broad Top Railroad station building at Saltillo.
More information about all of our restoration projects—including funds allocated and needed—can be found on the following pages.
Just as your response to the first year of our fund–raising campaign surpassed our expectations, we must realize we have only taken the first step. We must maintain this momentum if we are to continue our progress. Once again, on behalf of your directors, officers, and fellow–members of Friends of the East Broad Top, I ask for your continued support. Please send your contributions to the following address:
Friends of the East Broad Top
Restoration Fund Treasurer
513 Shady Avenue, No. 12
Pittsburgh PA 15206–4447
But wait—there's more! This year we are providing reproductions of FEBT member John H. Coker's painting Afternoon Call as tangible expressions of our appreciation for every donation of $50 or more which we receive by August 31, 2003.
On September 5, East Broad Top Railroad baggage–passenger combine no. 18 and baggage–express car no. 29 returned to the East Broad Top Railroad. In July Friends of the East Broad Top purchased the two cars at the auction of the assets of the Sun down and Southern Railroad in Fort Lupton, Colorado. Transportation of the two historic wood passenger cars was handled by Venezia Enterprises, Inc.
Concerned about the deteriorated condition of the two EBT cars, we engaged Michael J. Venezia to inspect the two passenger cars the week before the auction. Only after Mike's assessment did our directors agree to attempt to purchase one or both cars. As reported in the last FEBT Newsletter, FEBT director Robert R. Farquharson acted as our agent at the Colorado auction, and we successfully purchased both cars. On August 30 Mike Venezia flew to Colorado, and the next day he, with three associates and help from two FEBT members, started five days of tedious work to prepare the two fragile nineteenth–century wood passenger cars for their trip to Pennsylvania. The preparation and loading of combine no. 18 proceeded relatively smoothly, but the awkward position of no. 29 at the site forced Mike to rent a crane at the last minute to lift this car onto its trailer. (Mike had hoped to avoid using a crane entirely, since he was afraid the EBT cars could easily fall apart if lifted.) After all this, only an uneventful drive along I–70 to Pennsylvania and the EBT remained.
Of course, what we have accomplished so far is only the first—and easiest—part of the process. The East Broad Top Railroad has agreed to provide temporary storage space for our two "new" passenger cars inside the car shop building at Rockhill Furnace. We are now exploring with the EBT the possibility of erecting a storage building of our own on EBT property which would allow us to store and work on combine no. 18 and baggage–express car no. 29—as well as combine 16 when we move it to the EBT. Information and a budget for this project will be forthcoming. Work on the cars cannot actually begin until this facility is constructed and we have assessed the condition of the two passenger cars.
Combine no. 18 was one of three passenger cars the EBT acquired in 1885. Probably constructed in 1891, baggage–express car no. 29 was purchased by the railroad in 1916. The EBT sold off the bulk of its passenger equipment as passenger traffic declined in the 1940s and 1950s—including the two cars we purchased in July. Subsequently they joined an eclectic collection of narrow–gauge rolling stork acquired for a planned theme park and tourist railroad north of Denver.
The total expended so far on this project is $52,300, which includes our purchase of the two cars and our payment to Venezia Enterprises for their transportation. Of this amount, $42,300 came from donations received during the first year of our fund–raising campaign, while the remaining $10,000 was temporarily borrowed from our reserve account. Unreimbursed expenses incurred by FEBT officers and staff volunteers and $750 in materials and labor contributed by the East Broad Top Railroad are not included in this total.
Progress in the development of our museum and its collection continues steadily—although not at the pace we would prefer. Of course, the fact that the rehabilitation of both of our Robertsdale buildings is incomplete hinders what we can readily accomplish there. However, since August 2001 we have acquired by purchase or donation additional copy negatives for EBT photographs in the Ryan–Alexander collection; the icetongs used by the EBT at its Rockhill Furnace icehouse; and one of the EBT's tunnel–door indicator lights. Museum equipment we have purchased in this period includes two tables; various display materials; and fire extinguishers, smoke and gas detectors for the old post office. Our dilapidated office desk has been replaced with a much nicer wood desk donated to us in April. The total amount we have expended since last August for collections and museum equipment is $1,081.93.
Meanwhile FEBT member W. George Cook is advancing his documentation of our Ryan–Alexander photograph collection. In addition to compiling a complete index for the collection, George is making a reference print from each negative and testing computer file formats for scanned images he has created from a subset of the collection. We currently estimate that the cost of the materials George will use on this project will total several hundred dollars. While we cannot yet say when digital images or photographic prints from these negatives may be available to FEBT members or qualified historians, we hope suitable arrangements can be made in the not–so–distant future. We plan to base similar documentation of other materials in our hands on the careful work George is now undertaking for us.
Depending on the primary purpose of the expenditure, expenses incurred for the development of our museum and its collections are paid using donations contributed by museum visitors and funds from our operating, restoration, and development ac counts.
We take this opportunity to remind you that the deadline for obtaining one of our authorized reproductions of Ted Rose's Mount Union Train was August 31, 2002. The reproductions of this painting that remain in our hands may be offered again at the conclusion of our present fund–raising campaign. Until then, a limited number of reproductions of Mount Union Train may be available—for the usual donation of $50 or more—at some special events and shows. Our restoration fund treasurer cannot make exceptions to this policy, so please don't ask!
In April the East Broad Top Railroad invited members of Friends of the East Broad Top to resume onsite repairs to the railroad's historic Rockhill Furnace yard and shop complex. By agreement with EBT general manager Stanley G. Hall, our volunteers have tackled tasks intended to assist the EBT in maintaining a safe and secure site for visitors and to help prevent—to the extent available resources permit—further deterioration of the shop buildings and their contents. All work our volunteers undertake is work the employees of the railroad cannot perform, given the other demands on their time. In 2002 work sessions at Rockhill Furnace have been held on June 8–9, July 13–14, and August 10–11 and 24–25. A September work session is scheduled, and FEBT project coordinator R. Lee Rainey reports that he may plan additional work for the upcoming winter to prepare for work sessions in 2003.
According to Lee, all work on the small storage shed at the south end of the yard will be finished at the end of September. After volunteers from FEBT and the EBT stabilized and reinforced the building's foundation in late April, Lee's work crew replaced the missing south and east walls of the building, obtained custom–milled wood siding to restore the missing and damaged sections of the exterior siding, repaired the roof, and fabricated replacements for missing doors and window sashes. By the end of this month, weather permitting, the building should be wearing at least two coats of new "EBT red" paint.
Work on the window and doors in the east and north walls of the car shop building is also nearly completed. The windows, in particular, required a great deal of effort. Most of the glass was broken and many of the wood sashes had badly deteriorated in these large windows—each window has three sashes and each sash has nine 12" x 16" panes. Damaged sashes have been repaired or replaced with others borrowed from windows now "inside" the interconnected shop buildings. Work crew volunteers then primed the sashes; reglazed the windows; painted all window sashes, frames, and trim; and replaced the protective wire screen over the repaired windows. Steel cables and turnbuckles have been installed to remove warps from the doors into the north end of the building. At the September work session FEBT volunteers will replace part of the building's concrete foundation and repair the heavy wood post it supports so that the door at that location hangs correctly and operates properly.
In April our board of directors allocated $4,000 for our work at Rockhill Furnace in 2002. As of the beginning of September, slightly more than $3,000 had been expended on materials and supplies—including lumber, milled wood siding, roofing materials, window glass, glazing materials, caulk, hardware, and paint. Additional funds may be committed to this project in November, depending on Lee's assessment of what tasks can be performed over the winter.
What additional work will we tackle in 2003? During the upcoming winter FEBT and the EBT will discuss what we accomplished in 2002 and determine where our efforts and resources can best be employed next year. In large measure this will depend on the funds we have on hand and the requirements of our other restoration projects. As Lee observes, there is no lack of possible projects we could address.
Previously FEBT volunteers engaged in restoration activities at the EBT's Rockhill Furnace shops and yard in 1983–1985.
Since last August work on our two museum buildings in Robertsdale has advanced on three fronts. First, FEBT volunteers have continued their work on the old post office and former East Broad Top Railroad depot. Second, architect and FEBT member William E. Grant, Jr., has refined our plans for completing our rehabilitation of the interior of the old post office. And third, as part of our submission of a grant application to the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, we have revised our plans and updated our budget for the next phase of work on the depot. Here's where we now stand.
In March, May, June, and September, members of the Robertsdale work crew handled routine maintenance in both buildings and continued work on the windows of the depot. After removing and reinstalling all interior sash molding—and a fair amount of the exterior molding, too—we believe work on the windows in this building is finally approaching completion. Because of the way the windows are constructed, the interior sash molding must be removed to remove and work on the upper and lower sashes. The molding was originally attached with nails, making the chore of removing and repositioning the molding each time a window needed work an uncertain process. Now this molding is attached to the surrounding window frames with brass screws, allowing us to tackle future window–work without losing the careful alignment of the guides we previously established. Some of the sashes will receive more attention when we repaint the inside faces of the windows and their trim.
Turning to the old post office, in April our board of directors agreed that we should finalize our plans for the interior of the building so that we can complete required formal reviews by the Bureau for Historic Preservation at PHMC and the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry. To obtain the grant and loan funds we were awarded for the first phase of our rehabilitation of this building, FEBT agreed that all work will satisfy standards established by the US Secretary of the Interior for rehabilitating historic buildings. The review by the Bureau for Historic Preservation is required to demonstrate that we continue to meet these standards. The review by the Department of Labor and Industry is required for our intended use of the building. This spring Bill Grant agreed to prepare the necessary plans and additional information needed for these reviews; his estimate for the cost of helping us handle the review by the Department of Labor and Industry—which will automatically require a formal appeal hearing—is approximately $2,000.
While revising earlier plans for the interior of this building, Bill came up with a new proposal for the handicapped–accessible bathroom we must install on the ground floor of the post office. Previous plans called for carving an increasingly large corner from the room that once served as a two–chair barber shop. We intend to use this room for our museum shop and information center, but placing a public bathroom in this location never really produced a satisfactory or useful configuration. Bill's new idea is to convert the concrete–block furnace room added to the rear of the building (apparently in the late 1950s or early 1960s) into our new public bathroom. This will require some additional work. For example, the existing concrete slab floor of the addition is higher than the floor inside the building, and there is now no direct access to the addition from the interior of the post office.
If approved during the required reviews, our new plan is to disassemble the addition entirely, saving the metal door and other salvageable materials, and to remove the concrete slab on which the existing addition sits. New concrete foundation sills will be poured to support the concrete–block walls of a completely reconstructed addition. On the outside the "new" addition will look no different, but a new floor and doorway will permit direct, level access from the interior of the post office. New plumbing, wiring, and appropriate fixtures will complete the conversion of this space to its new use. As Bill notes, this proposal solves another problem. The existing rear addition to the post office sits on a simple slab, poured without sills or footings under the walls. Since this provides inadequate support for the addition, a significant crack has developed at the external joint between the walls of the addition and the rear wall of the post office. The new configuration for the public bathroom allows us to fix this problem once and for all and dramatically improves the usefulness of the building.
Meanwhile, in April Bill Grant and FEBT president Hank Inman prepared a PHMC Keystone Historic Preservation Grant application encompassing most of the work required to complete the rehabilitation of the depot. Specific items of work include replacing the existing standing–seam metal roof (which unfortunately continues to deteriorate steadily) with a coated, standing–seam stainless steel roof; making needed repairs to the wood roof framework, roof edge, fascia, and soffit; replacing the existing electrical service mast, exterior, and interior wiring; installing a new furnace and refurbishing the original radiators and piping; replacing the nonhistoric exterior metal door and doorframe with a new wood door replicating the appearance of the original door; fabricating and installing wood storm windows and screens; installing new interior plumbing; restoring the missing section of the interior wall between the two waiting rooms; and making needed repairs to the existing metal ceiling. The budget Bill developed for this work is $70,200, which based on past experience we believe is a conservative estimate. If our application is successful, grant funds would cover half of this amount—leaving the remainder of the funding for us to provide.
Unfortunately, the sudden and unexpected death of local engineer Gary L. Young has delayed preparation of the expanded survey and ground plan of our Robertsdale museum site, which we engaged Gary to perform in March. The new plan will incorporate both buildings and record completed and planned improvements to the site. As part of our preparations for this survey, our volunteers found and marked the corners of the track–scale pit walls adjacent to the bay window of the station. We are exploring alternative arrangements so that this task can be completed by next spring. Our previous estimate for the cost of this work is $1,500, but obviously this may change.
So what is our strategy for future work at Robertsdale? If our grant application is successful, by January 2005 we will have advanced our rehabilitation of the depot to near completion. To allow this work to proceed we will move our museum operations to the first floor of the old post office; this will require us to complete at least the bathroom and first–floor electrical wiring in that building. If our grant application is not successful, we can revise and resubmit our application to PHMC; we can also seek other grants and awards for the work we have planned at Robertsdale. Whatever the situation, our directors will allocate the resources available to us in order to sustain coordinated progress on our Robertsdale buildings.
Both museum buildings date from just before World War I; both are constructed from rock–face cast concrete block. The EBT constructed its new Robertsdale station building circa 1914 to replace a small wood building located next to the Rockhill Iron and Coal Company store. The post office was erected by the mining company (which owned and controlled the EBT) circa 1916. After 1956 the station building housed a convenience store and game room; a succession of small businesses occupied the old post office building after Robertsdale's post office relocated to the mining company office building across the street. In December 1987 FEBT purchased the old post office and obtained a 50–year lease on the depot, using funds generously provided by FEBT member Rick C. Shoup. (A founding director of FEBT, Rick is one of our longtime benefactors. He is also the owner of John H. Coker's Afternoon Call. With Rick's and John's cooperation, we are using reproductions of this painting in the second year of our fund–raising campaign.) An agreement FEBT negotiated before executing our lease of the depot permits us to designate the donation of this property to some nonprofit entity of our choosing—including FEBT—while our lease is in effect.
Ignoring the value of labor and materials contributed by FEBT members, our investment in these two buildings currently stands at more than $99,100 for the post office and more than $41,750 for the depot.
Fabrication of the wheels and axles needed for East Broad Top Railroad passenger–baggage combination car no. 16 could begin before the end of 2002—thanks to a National Railway Historical Society heritage grant of $5,000 Friends of the East Broad Top was awarded in July. David S. Bucher, coordinator of our work on the reproduction trucks for combine no. 16, has contacted contractor ORX in Tipton, Pennsylvania, to work our the requirements for this work; he will present these details and final cost information to our board of directors for authorization in early November.
The four wheel–and–axle assemblies are expected to cost approximately $11,000, including necessary machining and transportation to Strasburg, Pennsylvania. Since 24" diameter wheels are no longer standard railroad equipment, the eight wheels we need will—practically speaking—be obtained as custom–cast parts. ORX has supplied three–foot gauge wheels–and–axles to other museums and railroads, so there should be no difficulty in completing the work we require within the time–frame established by the NRHS grant. Donations on hand from the first year of our fund–raising campaign should easily provide the additional funds needed to complete our purchase of the wheels and axles.
In the meantime, Dave reports that he will soon complete the process of transporting all the metal components we have had fabricated for the reproduction trucks to the shops of the Strasburg Rail Road. The wood truck frames and the original trucks from East Broad Top Railroad coach no. 5 are still stored in Maryland, but Dave is working on the arrangements for moving them to Strasburg, too. Strasburg Rail Road president Linn Moedinger has agreed to assemble the reproduction trucks (and reassemble the original trucks we have leased from the Tweetsie Railroad); our current estimate for this work is $25,000. Assuming that the necessary funds are on hand, assembly will start next year, when all components for the reproduction and original trucks have been delivered to Strasburg.
Dave reminds FEBT members that additional wood parts may be needed to reassemble the original trucks, which we must eventually return to the Tweetsie Railroad. The cost of these parts, the usual unexpected contingencies, and transportation will probably push the total budget for completing all work on the reproduction trucks to approximately $40,000.
Since 1990 we have expended or committed $23,088.65 to this project.
The body of combine no. 16, which we hold under a 99–year lease executed in 1988, is stored under cover at Allaire State Park, by arrangement with the New Jersey Museum of Transportation. Once we have finished work on the trucks, uniting the car body with its new trucks becomes the next step in the process of restoring this historic passenger car to operating condition on the East Broad Top Railroad. Combine no. 16 was purchased by the EBT in 1885—but whether the railroad obtained the car new or second—hand is unknown. The car was retired in 1941, stripped of its trucks, brake equipment, and other metal components, and sold for use as a storage shed.
With the cooperation of the East Broad Top Railroad, Friends of the East Broad Top continues to monitor the condition of the railroad's last remaining enclosed water tank at Coles Station. FEBT volunteers make periodic visits to the building, which is located on an isolated section of the railroad's right of way between Saltillo and Robertsdale. In May we repaired the hasp and lock on the door into the building. The hasp was apparently damaged by hunters or vandals last winter.
The basic fabric of the building remains in reasonably good condition. Thus we have not undertaken significant work at this location since 1999, when we arranged for an engineer to inspect the building, and a contractor installed some minor reinforcement for the tank supporting structure. Unfortunately, volunteers working at Coles Station in late 1999 discovered vandals had removed several staves from the wood water tank inside the building. At that time FEBT joined with the EBT to offer a $750 reward for information leading to the identification, arrest, and conviction of the persons responsible for this damage. To the best of our knowledge, no information about the perpetrators of this vandalism has ever surfaced.
In the future we hope to repair a broken wood post that supports the upper floor (and the water tank) and make additional improvements to secure the building and its site. This work will be considered more seriously as available funds, demands of our current projects, and our arrangements with the EBT permit.
The existing Coles Station water tank was apparently erected in the 1920s to replace an earlier water station at this site. The enclosed building kept the water stored inside from freezing during the winter. Prior to 1956, this facility—and similar water tanks which formerly stood at Mount Union, Shade Gap, Saltillo, and Robertsdale—provided water needed by the EBT's steam locomotives.
We are rapidly approaching the point where a decision about our future commitment to the East Broad Top Railroad station building at Saltillo must be made. By November we should have in our hands the information our directors need to determine the level of our future commitment to this project. One factor of obvious importance will be the funding we have available to support work in 2003 on this and our other restoration projects.
Last November we engaged Richard I. Ortega, a consulting engineer and architect with considerable experience working with endangered historic buildings, to examine the condition of the Saltillo station building and to recommend reasonable options for how it could be preserved, rehabilitated, or reconstructed. His preliminary written report, which our board of directors reviewed in April, contained no surprises. The board–on–board construction of the building's original exterior walls, the manner in which these walls were cut apart and reassembled when the building was placed on its present foundation, the inadequate support this foundation has provided, and damage caused by water entering the building through its deteriorated roof prevent preserving the building as it now stands by making repairs to the existing walls and roof. Mr. Ortega observes that the building could be disassembled and its doors, windows, interior, and other features of historical significance saved and attached to a new framework constructed on the existing foundation—after it has been suitably elevated and reinforced. The amount of material saved from the existing building for reuse would depend on how ambitious the attempted reconstruction would be and, of course, on the financial resources available.
One of our options—whether or not we make the commitment required to reconstruct the building ourselves—is to insure that a permanent record of the existing building is created, using the information our volunteers assembled in 1999, 2000, and 2001. When consulted about this option, Eric DeLony, chief of the Historic American Engineering Record, advised us that the small scale of this project ruled out our arranging for a HAER site team to assemble this record for the Saltillo station. However, Mr. DeLony indicated that HAER would happily accept this material if we wished to obtain it and donate it to HAER. This contributed material would eventually be deposited in the Library of Congress as a supplement the East Broad Top Railroad material previously assembled by HAER.
At the recommendation of both Mr. DeLony and Mr. Ortega, we have discussed this work with John Bowie, a Pennsylvania architect who, before establishing his current practice, worked at HAER for ten years. Mr. Bowie has expressed interest in this project, and he is now preparing a written proposal (which other things would include preparing measured architectural drawings and obtaining large–format photographs of the station's exterior) for our directors to consider. Based on his review of the information we provided to Mr. Ortega last year and the availability of the detailed measurements and photographs our volunteers have already obtained. Mr. Bowie's preliminary estimate for the cost this work is $6,000.
Mr. Bowie has also offered to prepare a proposal for developing the design, plans, and budget that would be required to take the next logical step: actually attempting to reconstruct the station building. Such a proposal, combined with estimates for the cost of safely disassembling the existing building and storing the materials saved from it on the site could serve as the basis for a grant application seeking funds for this initial work. For example, the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission offers matching grants of up to $15,000 for historic preservation projects like this. (The deadline for submitting an application for this type of grant is December 1.)
We have explored with the East Broad Top Railroad the possibility of leasing the Saltillo station building. We have discussed the issues we would have to address and the obligations we would have to assume to pursue further work at Saltillo with the representatives of the Saltillo borough council, the EBT, and PHMC. All have offered us encouragement and support of various kinds if we decide to pursue this project further. In November our directors will determine whether we can undertake the commit ment that will be necessary to insure a future or some sort for the Saltillo station. In large part this decision will be based on the financial resources we are likely to have available to us in 2003 and future years.
The Saltillo station building 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 and immanent collapse of the entire building. With the permission of the railroad, FEBT member Conrad Meyer underwrote the cost of installing braces and ties to stabilize the station in 1999. That year FEBT member and architect William E. Grant, Jr., began coordinating our documentation of the existing building. Our volunteers continue to monitor the condition and security of the station building.
Ignoring the value of labor contributed by Bill Grant and the other FEBT volunteers who have helped us as members of the Saltillo station documentation project, since 1999 FEBT and its members have expended approximately $5,000 for stabilization and documentation of this building.
Currently Friends of the East Broad Top must deal with two types of indebtedness. Our external debt consists of the remainder of the ten–year loan we received for the first phase of our rehabilitation of the old Robertsdale post office. Secondly, there is our internal debt: In June our board of directors authorized the withdrawal of $10,000 from our life member (contingency or reserve) account to cover part of the costs we incurred to "bring home" East Broad Top Railroad passenger cars 18 and 29. This summary presents up–to–date information about each of these financial obligations.
For the work we completed in early 1998 on the old post office, the Southwestern Pennsylvania Heritage Preservation Com mission awarded us a $20,000 grant and a $20,000 low–interest loan. As of the beginning of this month, we have made 53 of 120 monthly payments of $193.12 each to the Allegheny Heritage Development Corporation, with whom the formal agreement for the loan portion of this award was executed. The annual interest rate for this loan is three percent. The total amount we have so far repaid includes $8,100.02 in principal and $2,135.34 in interest. Thus the balance of the loan remaining is $11,899.98, with an additional $1,039.27 in interest due if we continue to make the required payments on schedule. In the calendar year 2003, we must make 12 loan payments totaling $3,317.44; of this amount $2,002.57 represents the repayment of principal and $314.87 the payment of interest.
The $10,000 we temporarily borrowed from the FEBT life member account leaves $5,733.60 in our contingency fund. Our directors took this action because the donations we received specifically designated for the return of passenger cars 18 and 29 fell short of the actual resources required, and this temporary transfer retained more funds in our restoration account for possible allocation to our other projects. While our directors did not establish a repayment schedule for returning these "borrowed" funds to our reserve account, good financial practice calls for completing this repayment as quickly as possible.