Friends of the East Broad Top
A nonprofit society dedicated to the preservation and restoration
of the East Broad Top Railroad National Historic Landmark

FEBT campaign begins third year

By Hank Inman, President
Friends of the East Broad Top

With this special edition of our newsletter, Friends of the East Broad Top starts the third year of our campaign to raise funds for our restoration and development programs. Since our campaign began in September 2001, we have attained notable success. With the contributions which FEBT members and other individuals interested in the preservation of the East Broad Top Railroad have provided, we have significantly advanced work on all of our projects. Our restoration work at Rockhill Furnace has succeeded beyond expectation. We are completing documentation of the endangered Saltillo Station building. We have progressed in our rehabilitation of our two historic buildings at Robertsdale. We have acquired interesting material for our museum collection. We have continued to reduce the debt we assumed for the first phase of our rehabilitation of the old Robertsdale post office. And we have purchased and returned home to the EBT two historic passenger cars.

We attained these achievements using the donations we received in the first two years of our fund–raising campaign. More information about our current projects, the work we have accomplished, and our plans for the future, can be found in the following pages. Here I want to discuss money. Let me be specific; below is a preliminary summary for the income our campaign has so far generated:

Contributions received since September 2001
Donated securities $8,029*
Donations received 134,860  
Pending matching contributions 300  
Total contributions: $143,189  
*Value of securities at time of donation.

Not all of this income can be applied to our restoration and development programs, however. The costs of printing, postage, advertising, and other expenses incurred for the first two years of our campaign total approximately $26,000. And we continue to hold the stock donated to us (its current value is about $6,200). Even so, we are extremely pleased to announce that our campaign has so far generated approximately $109,000 for our restoration and development projects.

How have we spent the money you and others have so generously contributed to FEBT? At the top of the next column you will find the answer to this question. This summary includes both funds actually spent and funds committed, through the end of 2003. (Committed funds are those needed to cover costs of contracted work and materials for which payment has not yet been made.) There are necessarily some uncertainties here, but this summary is as accurate as our current knowledge permits. Taking into account funds we obtained from other sources, you can see that slightly over $89,000 of the donations we have received has already been used or committed.

Restoration expenditures since September 2001
Robertsdale site survey $2,367  
Robertsdale depot 415  
Robertsdale post office 7,453  
Rockhill Furnace restoration 11,442  
Saltillo station documentation 8,240  
Combine no. 16 trucks 15,765*
Passenger cars nos. 18 and 29 52,300~
Museum collections 1,242  
Post office loan repayment 5,021  
Total funds expended: $104,245  
*includes $5,000 grant received from NHRS
~Includes $10,000 borrowed from life member account.

So where does this leave us? Last November our directors set 2003 budgets for each of our current projects, based on the results of our campaign’s first year and anticipated second–year contributions. While the funds available after two years provide approximately $20,000 beyond the immediate expenses of our restoration program, this does not meet the budget targets we set last year. These remaining budget allocations included an additional $18,000 for the next phase of work on the old post office, $15,000 toward establishing a workspace for the restoration of our passenger cars, and $7,500 for other projects. As it turns out, some of this work cannot be started until 2004, but our board of directors will need to adjust our projected spending for the rest of this year and when it sets our restoration program budget for 2004.

Clearly the third year of our fund–raising campaign is critical to the progress we will make on all of our restoration projects. With your support we can continue to pay for materials needed by the FEBT volunteers working at Robertsdale and Rockhill Furnace. With your support we can continue to pay for the contracted work necessary at Robertsdale. With your support we can continue our preliminary preparations for restoration of our passenger cars. With your support we can continue to acquire EBT–related material for our museum collection. With your support we can continue to repay our post office loan. To help, please send your tax–deductible donation to the following address:

FEBT Restoration Fund Treasurer
513 Shady Avenue, No. 12
Pittsburgh PA 15206–4447

Thank you for helping us get this far–and for contributing to the success of our campaign during the coming year!

Contributors who make donations of $50 or more before August 1, 2004, may receive an authorized reproduction of Frank Vietor’s original painting October Evening, Orbisonia. I take this opportunity to thank Frank and FEBT member David E. Graff, who owns this painting, for allowing us to use it for the third year of our fund raising campaign.

FEBT volunteers tackle major projects at EBT

Winter weather forced the cancellation of two work sessions planned for the end of 2002, but FEBT Rockhill Furnace work crew coordinator R. Lee Rainey reports that our 2003 work sessions at the EBT have expanded on the successful foundation we established last year. Thirty–nine FEBT members participated in our 2002 Rockhill Furnace work sessions, and it appears that more than twice that number will contribute their skills and labor during the nine work sessions Lee has planned for 2003. What have we accomplished this year? Far more than any of us imagined when FEBT resumed active restoration work at the EBT last year.

Removing a sash for repair
Christopher D. Coleman removes a window sash from the EBT machine shop building for repair.
Placing new ties
Charles Wootton, Michael R,. Greene, and Wade woodcock (left to right) insert a new tie at the EBT.

In May FEBT volunteers finished repairs started last year to the windows on the trackside of the car shop building and the doors and windows at the building’s north end. The doors and walls at the north end of the building were scraped, sanded and prepared for painting. This summer repairs were made to the building’s roof and the north wall was primed, ready for an application of "EBT red" paint in September.

Work on the roof of the main shop buildings started in March, at our first 2003 work session. Using especially fashioned roof ladders and the new scaffolding we purchased for our work at Rockhill Furnace, FEBT volunteers refastened and repaired damaged metal roofing; in some instances metal roofing from the Mount Union engine house, saved and stored by the EBT, was used for these repairs. Inside the machine shop FEBT volunteers and EBT employees replaced sections of wood flooring damaged by water entering through the leaking roof. In May repairs to the windows near the north entrance to the machine shop commenced. The water–damaged ceiling and roof of the generator room were removed, new rafters cut and installed, and new temporary roofing applied. Custom–milled wood ceiling has been obtained and will be installed in this room. Soffits, trim, window repairs, and paint will eventually complete work in this area of the main shop.

The exterior brick wall of the boiler house, also attached to the main shop buildings, presented more difficulties. Over many years water had infiltrated into the brick wall, disintegrating mortar, damaging the brick itself, and threatening collapse of the entire wall. Fortunately new FEBT member Bill Horton, a retired mason from Shade Gap, was recruited to tackle this project. In early May he inspected the wall and provided a list of materials he needed for its repair. This required, among other things, finding compatible brick—some of which FEBT member Jim Bacon brought to Rockhill Furnace from Ohio. It is impossible to overstate the importance of Bill’s repairs to the damaged masonry in this wall, which progressed throughout the summer. As work on the wall commenced, the new FEBT scaffolding was employed again to inspect and repair the roof of the boiler house. This work required replacing rotted sections of the rafters near the roof edge with new material and then applying new roof sheathing and asphalt roofing. Damaged areas on higher–up sections of the roof were patched and anti–bird screens reinstalled over the clerestory windows. Damaged material and rubble could then be removed from inside the boiler house, allowing access from the interior for the repairs to the brick wall.

Painting the buidlings
FEBT Rockhill Furnace work crew volunteers apply primer to the north wall of the EBT car shop building.
Salvaging glass
Walter Goldby (left) and Robert Goldby cut glass needed for window repairs in the EBT shop buildings.

In May repairs to the small electrician’s shop building also began in earnest. After a damaged section of the building’s foundation was discovered and repaired, our volunteers fabricated and hung a new wood door, using tongue–and–groove siding milled by FEBT member Charles Wootton. At present the building exhibits three types of wood siding: drop siding on the east wall, slab clapboard siding on the north wall, and board–and–batten siding on the west and south walls. Appropriate new wood siding and trim were applied to replace damaged sections of these walls during the June and August work sessions. July saw repairs to the windows completed, and repairs to the building’s roof were tackled in August. The exterior of the electrician’s shop was painted at the end of September, although some touch–up is still needed.

At the beginning of May temporary supports were fabricated and installed to carry the weight of the roof of the second section shed at the south end of the yard. Later that month Rockhill Furnace work crew volunteers removed the siding from the shed, numbering all pieces so they could be reinstalled in their previous locations. The failing front section of the building’s floor and foundation was then replaced with new concrete block footings and a new floor section assembled from original and new materials. After the new floor structure was positioned and leveled, the original wood subflooring was reinstalled and new stud walls inserted to support the roof. The new front floor section was subsequently tied into the existing rear section of the section shed. In September the original siding was reattached to the building, its doors repaired and rehung, and new flooring installed. Visitors who haven’t seen this building for a year or two may not be able to recognize it!

FEBT volunteers who wanted to experience "real" railroad restoration had their chance during several of our 2003 work sessions at Rockhill Furnace. With occasional assistance from the EBT and Railways to Yesterday, FEBT members dug out and removed over 100 damaged ties under yard track no. 3, inserted replacement ties, and spiked the rails to the new ties; the track can now be used. During the August work session the FEBT track crew worked with counterparts from RTY to repair track at the south end of the yard that provides narrow–gauge access to the RTY car barn, so that the EBT’s M–1 gas–electric motorcar could be moved into the car barn for repairs to the coupling between its engine and generator.

At the railroad’s 2003 Appreciation Day celebration on August 9, EBT owner and president Joseph Kovalchick provided a clear signal of the success we have achieved with our work these past two years at Rockhill Furnace. During one of the guided shop tours FEBT conducted that day Mr. Kovalchick publicly recognized the contributions which FEBT volunteers have made to the railroad. In comments he asked Lee to pass on to our volunteers, he stated: "No one knows exactly what the future holds for the EBT, but you are doing everything you can to save it. Thank you very much."

FEBT’s work at Rockhill Furnace is performed with the permission and cooperation of the East Broad Top Railroad; it is organized and conducted as a concrete demonstration of our dedication to the preservation and restoration of the EBT as a historic resource of national significance. The work our volunteers provide is intended to preserve and maintain endangered historic attributes of the railroad which the EBT’s operating employees cannot undertake themselves; the EBT retains all control over its property and railroad operations.

Work on rehabilitation of FEBT Museum buildings at Robertsdale continues to advance

Progress is continuing on the rehabilitation of our historic two buildings in Robertsdale, reports FEBT president Hank Inman, who coordinates our Robertsdale work crew. Some work, like the new storm windows and screens we obtained for the second–floor windows of the old post office, is immediately visible. Other work, like the preparation of specifications for the next rounds of work on the post office and the former EBT depot or organizing our museum collections, is not as obvious. Here’s where we are.

Installing a screen
Paul Chandeysson installs a new wood–frame screen in one of the windows in the old post office.
M–1 in Robertsdale
EBT gas–electric motorcar M–1 at the Robertsdqle depot in the 1950s.
Photograph by John Krause, FEBT collection (Saylor negative no. 127)

Work on the enlarged survey plan of the entire FEBT museum site, a project initiated last year, has now been completed. As part of the initial phase of our rehabilitation of the old post office, we arranged for Huntingdon County engineer and surveyor Gary L. Young to produce a site plan for the lot on which the post office sits and to design appropriate drainage improvements. Our contractor installed the surface and underground drains Gary’s plan called for, but we delayed the final grading and surfacing he recommended until we could develop a more comprehensive plan for the entire museum site. In early 2002, with the cooperation of the East Broad Top Railroad, we commissioned Gary to make the additional site measurements needed to create a detailed picture of the existing landscape around our two buildings, including adjacent property owned by the EBT. Gary’s untimely death several months later put this project on hold.

Fortunately John Young and Timothy G. Zdrosky, who have continued the surveying side of Gary’s business, indicated they were still committed to completing our survey—but their work on our survey would have to wait on their other projects. Early this year it was finally our turn, but then Mother Nature decided to intervene. At first the problem was snow: At one point last winter the pile of snow covering the ground between our buildings was at least eight feet high! When the snow finally melted, rain became the problem. The field measurements for our survey, which should have taken little more than a single day to compile, eventually required a series of brief visits to our museum site between daily rain storms. And as Tim Zdrosky confesses, on at least one occasion he recorded site measurements while carrying his umbrella! At the end of July Tim had provided a preliminary copy of his survey plan to FEBT for review; several minor revisions suggested by FEBT member and architect William E. Grant, Jr., were added to the plan, and in September our new site plan was finished.

In order to serve as a useful basis for planning the future development of our museum, the site plan incorporates all surface features around both of our Robertsdale buildings. The area covered extends from the alley north of the depot to Trough Creek south of the post office, and from the drainage ditch west of our buildings to the former Rockhill Iron and Coal Company office building on the east side of Main Street. Some features that are currently buried—like the walls of the track–scale pit—or now missing—like the rails that once ran over the scale—are also located on our plan.

Several years ago FEBT had Huntingdon contractor Rex A. Smith fabricate wood–frame storm windows for seven first–floor windows of the old post office. Security was the rationale for protecting only the first–floor windows; in winter we temporarily sealed the second floor windows with plastic film. While this helped control the cost of heating the building (to prevent deterioration that otherwise might occur), it did not allow us to work inside the post office during winter months very easily. Early this year we commissioned Rex to fabricate storm windows for the second–floor windows and to replace temporary covers installed in 1998 over the single–sash windows on the ground floor of the old post office. We minimized the cost of this work by allowing Rex to fit his work on our storm windows—and four screens for ventilating the upper floor in the summer—around his other jobs. The new storm windows and screens were ready at the end of June, and in July our Robertsdale work crew checked the windows and installed the four screens. One storm window required some additional attention, but by the end of August this had been taken care of.

Now that we can work inside the post office in comfort—without at the same time heating the great outdoors—we can move forward this winter on the work needed to finish the interior of the building. Once we negotiate our way past the necessary reviews by the Pennsylvania Bureau for Historic Preservation and the Department of Labor and Industry, we can relocate a ventilation duct, make needed repairs to the upper wood flooring, repair plaster on the inside faces of the block walls, convert the first–floor rear addition to a new public bathroom, complete the plumbing, and install all electrical wiring. We also need to fill in the air–conditioner opening in the north wall with matching concrete block, construct the sidewalk on the east and north sides of the building, and install the emergency escape ladder. The remaining work, like inserting insulation below the upper floor and in the stairwell wall, finishing the partition walls and ceilings, and cleaning and reinstalling the building’s wood wainscoting and trim, we can address once the other tasks have been completed. Some of this work will require contractors who know what they’re doing, but the remainder our volunteers should be able to handle.

Robertsdale Station survey
A portion of the new survey plan for the FEBT Museum.
Drawing by Timothy G. Zdrosky, P.L.S.

During the past year the focus of our work on the Robertsdale depot has been routine maintenance and repairs. This building currently holds our museum’s exhibits and gift shop, and we do not wish to begin the next phase of work here until we move our museum operations into the old post office. Nevertheless, in 2003 our Robertsdale work crew volunteers have repaired sections of the standing seam metal roof damaged last winter, inserted new exterior caulking around all windows and doors, replaced several dysfunctional window shades, and touched up interior and exterior paint. This winter Bill Grant and Hank Inman plan to work on specifications for the next phase of our rehabilitation of the depot. This will include installing a new standing–seam metal roof and repairs to the roof edges, fascia, and soffits; restoring the radiator heating system to operating condition; replacing an existing metal exterior door with an appropriate wood paneled door; and installing new electrical wiring and plumbing. This work may not be on our immediate horizon, but we need to start planning for it now.

The ultimate object of our museum is, of course, to illustrate and inform visitors about the history and heritage of the EBT, focusing on the work and lives of the men and women who worked for the railroad. Thus we are pleased that we have obtained several useful items for our museum collection during the past twelve months. In April and July, with assistance from FEBT members Peter A. Brill and James A. Vliet, we acquired EBT paper items and black–and–white photographic negatives from the collection of the late Robert F. Collins. More recently we completed our acquisition of EBT–related material from the Vince Ryan–Jack Alexander collection by purchasing the 35–mm color transparencies from this collection. In late 2002 we obtained collections of EBT black–and–white negatives and 35–mm slides from FEBT member Michael C. Mitzelfeld. This summer FEBT member W. George Cook completed his inventory of our Ryan–Alexander black–and–white negatives. We hope George and other volunteers will be able to help us inventory and organize some of our other museum materials this winter.

Next work planned for FEBT passenger cars

Since East Broad Top Railroad passenger cars nos. 18 and 29 arrived home in Rockhill Furnace in September 2002, work on FEBT’s passenger cars has been directed toward three short–term goals: We need to establish a secure workspace where we can tackle the restoration of our passenger cars; we need to determine as accurately as current conditions permit the present condition of the two cars we purchased last year; and we need to advance our fabrication of the reproduction trucks for East Broad Top Railroad combine no. 16 toward completion.

During the past twelve months FEBT and the EBT have explored various options for creating a suitable location at Rockhill Furnace where we can work on our passenger cars. We have considered the obvious idea of erecting our own building at some mutually convenient site within the railroad’s yard, and we discussed the possibility of leasing space within one of the railroad’s existing buildings. A formal proposal based on these discussions has been made to the EBT, and we are now waiting for the railroad’s response. If our proposal is accepted we will need to devote significant resources to this project, since we cannot start the restoration of any of our passenger cars without having an adequate, secure workspace with the necessary utility service and facilities. The EBT continues to allow us to store the two cars we purchased last year in the railroad’s car shop building at no cost to FEBT.

Bagga–express #29
EBT baggage–express car no. 29 in work–train service. The EBT purchased the car second–hand in 1916 and sold it in 1956. FEBT purchased the car and returned the car to the EBT in 2002.
FEBT collection (Ryan–Alexander negative no. 93)
Painting coach 8's roof
Robert Goldby (left) and Wade N. Woodcock paint the roof of EBT coach no. 8.

We are pleased to report that Linn Moedinger, chief mechanical officer of the Strasburg Rail Road, has agreed to inspect baggage–passenger combine no. 18 and baggage–express car no. 29 and assess their current physical and mechanical conditions. With this initial assessment in hand, we can start to determine what work must be done and establish the order in which the required tasks should proceed—once the necessary workspace has been established. We anticipate that Linn, accompanied by one or more FEBT volunteers, will undertake his inspection of the two passenger cars by the end of 2003.

In April David S. Bucher, who coordinates work on the reproduction trucks for combine no. 16, transported components for the reproduction trucks and the original trucks from former EBT coach no. 5 (which we have leased from the Tweetsie Railroad), to the Strasburg Rail Road. In early May FEBT contracted with the Strasburg Rail Road shops for the fabrication of the four wheel–and–axle assemblies needed for the reproduction trucks; we have also commissioned additional documentation and engineering work needed to assemble the "new" trucks and reassemble the leased original trucks. We had hoped to start assembly of the reproduction trucks in 2003, but our directors have delayed this work while we resolve questions related to our lease for combine no. 16 raised by the New Jersey Museum of Transportation. The body of the combine itself is still stored at the New Jersey museum.

In the meantime, some of our volunteers working at Rockhill Furnace have started practicing for work on our own passenger cars by making needed repairs to EBT coach no. 8. This work, coordinated by FEBT member Charles Wootton in consultation with EBT general manager Stanley G. Hall, started with the replacement of 14 damaged window sills. To accomplish this task, each window had to be completely disassembled, the rotted sill removed, the painted new sill installed, and the window put back together. Polyurethane caulk was then used to repair minor damage to the car’s roof, which was then completely repainted.

Saltillo station documentation nears completion

Historic architect John R. Bowie has completed initial versions of the measured drawings for the East Broad Top Railroad’s station building in Saltillo. At the end of July John provided copies of his preliminary drawings to FEBT for review; he is also sending copies of these drawings to Eric DeLony, chief of the Historic American Buildings Survey and Historic American Engineering Record (HAER), for his comments. John will incorporate corrections and revisions suggested by FEBT and HAER—as well as details of the building’s floor structure he will obtain from an additional site visit—in the final inked versions of his drawings. Assuming no complications arise, we expect completion of all work on this project by the end of 2003.

Section view of Saltillo station building, looking north; passenger waiting area to the left, station agent's office to the right.
Drawing by John R. Bowie, AIA

In November 2002 FEBT engaged John Bowie Associates to produce measured drawings and provide large–format photographs of this endangered EBT structure. All drawings and photographs are to meet HAER standards, so that this documentation of the Saltillo station can join the EBT HAER materials already in the US Library of Congress. John’s drawings represent the final stage of work that began in 1998. That year, with permission from the EBT, FEBT commissioned Huntingdon County engineer Gary L. Young to inspect the station building and recommend bracing and other reinforcement needed to keep the building standing. In 1999 FEBT member H. Conrad Meyer arranged with the EBT for contractor Rex A. Smith to install the ties and braces recommended by Gary and FEBT member and architect William E. Grant, Jr., inside the building. Bill and other FEBT volunteers then started to collect detailed measurements of the interior of the building.

Saltillo station in the mid–1950s.
Photograph by John Krause, FEBT collection (Saylor negative no. 193)

Realizing that a more detailed engineering inspection of the building was necessary to develop any plan to save and preserve the Saltillo station, in November 2001 FEBT engaged engineer and architect Richard I. Ortega to inspect the building, assess its condition, and recommend possible plans for its preservation. Because of the structural damage the building had already suffered, the conclusions Ortega reached in his 2002 report were not encouraging. At this stage FEBT directors determined that we should concentrate our efforts on preserving as much accurate information about the building as possible, since it appeared that saving the building itself was becoming increasingly unlikely. Conversations with Rick Ortega, HABS/HAER chief DeLony, and various individuals at the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission led FEBT to discuss assembling HAER–standard documentation of the Saltillo station with John Bowie last year, and John subsequently started work on the project.

Using exterior measurements provided by FEBT president Henry F. Inman, detailed interior measurement and photographs assembled by Bill Grant and FEBT member William Adams, historic photographs, and information gathered from his own visits to Saltillo, John has produced five sheets of measured drawings for the station building, following the format and standards set by HAER. The first sheet introduces the project, locates the station using maps of Saltillo and the EBT, and provides space for a brief history of the building which FEBT director and EBT historian R. Lee Rainey has agreed to contribute. The other four sheets present a detailed ground plan of the building, two cross–sectional views, four exterior elevations, and full–size details for windows and doors, together with additional interior views.

Keeping track of FEBT debts: what we owe

As of October 2003, Friends of the East Broad Top will have made 66 of 120 monthly payments of $192.13 each to the Allegheny Heritage Development Corporation toward repayment of the $20,000 low–interest loan we received for the first phase of our rehabilitation of the old Robertsdale post office. The annual interest rate for this loan is three percent. The total amount we have so far repaid includes $10,255.99 in principal and $2,489.93 in interest. Thus the balance of the loan remaining is $9,744.01. (This does not include, of course, the additional interest due.) During the 2004 calendar year we are scheduled to make 12 loan payments totaling $2,317.44; of this amount $2,063.48 represents the repayment of principal and $253.96 the payment of interest.

In addition to the debt we assumed for previous work on the old post office, in 2002 our directors authorized borrowing $10,000 from the FEBT life member (contingency or reserve) account to cover part of the cost of purchasing and transporting East Broad Top Railroad passenger cars nos. 18 and 29 "back home" to the EBT. Our directors took this action because the donations we had received for the return of these passenger cars fell short of the actual resources required. While our board of directors has not yet established a schedule for returning these borrowed funds to our reserve account, we will eventually have to do so.

John H. Coker art reproduction no longer available for donations mailed to FEBT

We take this opportunity to remind you that the deadline for obtaining one of our authorized reproductions of John H. Coker’s Afternoon Call was August 31, 2003. The reproductions of this painting that remain in our hands, like those of Ted Rose’s Mount Union Train remaining from the first year of our campaign, will be offered again at the conclusion of our present fund–raising campaign. Until then, a few reproductions of Afternoon Call and Mount Union Train may be available—for the usual donation of $50 or more—at some special shows or events. Our restoration fund treasurer cannot make exceptions to this policy, so please don’t ask! EBT herald

This newsletter is a publication of Friends of the East Broad Top, Inc., a nonprofit educational and historical society dedicated to the preservation and restoration of the East Broad Top Railroad, a US National Historic Landmark located in Huntingdon County, Pennsylvania. As of the date of this newsletter, FEBT regular membership costs $30.00 per twelve months; other memberships are available. For more information please consult the FEBT web site at Friends of the East Broad Top, Inc., holds events and work sessions on the property of the East Broad Top Railroad and Coal Company by arrangement with the East Broad Top Railroad. However, the East Broad Top Railroad and Coal Company retains its right to restrict or deny access of any person to its property at any time and for any reason

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