By Hank Inman, President
Friends of the East Broad Top
As we start the sixth year of our fund–raising campaign, I am pleased to report that you and other donors contributed over $51,000 (including pending corporate matching contributions) during the fifth year of our fund raising campaign. Combined with the other contributions we have received since our campaign began in September 2001, we have raised approximately $225,000—taking account of the value of donated securities we continue to hold and our fund–raising costs—to support our restoration and development programs. During this time we have also received grants totaling $10,000 to support two of our restoration projects.
Given the success our fund–raising campaign has achieved, the reason we continue to ask for your financial support for our restoration and development programs may not be obvious. First, the membership payments and other similar income FEBT receives underwrite our day–to–day operations: the publication of our magazine and newsletter, the operation of our museum, our outreach programs, and administrative overhead. This income does not support our restoration efforts at Robertsdale and Rockhill Furnace. Instead, we rely on grants and the contributions we receive from donors like you to pay for the costs of our restoration program.
Second, the financial support we have received during the past five years has allowed us to enlarge our ambitions. We have added new projects as the resources available to us increased. When we started our campaign our restoration work at Rockhill Furnace was just beginning. We did not expect to purchase and return to the East Broad Top Railroad two historic wood passenger cars and an EBT–built motor car. We did not plan to assemble archival–quality measured drawings and other documentation for two of the East Broad Top Railroad's endangered buildings. We did not anticipate all the complications and additional costs of completing the next phase of developing our museum. We did not expect to obtain valuable photographic material and other items for our museum collections. But thanks to your contributions during the past five years we are on our way to accomplishing all this and more.
The contributions we receive during this year of our campaign will be used—together with funds now in hand—to cover the anticipated costs of our restoration program during the coming year. I believe our directors will focus our 2007 restoration spending on these areas: We will continue our successful restoration work at the East Broad Top Railroad's shop and yard complex at Rockhill Furnace. Next, we will complete our documentation of the EBT's water tank at Coles Station. Third. we will finally start to realize our plans for completing the rehabilitation of the old post office for our Robertsdale museum. Lastly, 1 expect us to resume work necessary if we are to move forward on the eventual restoration of our EBT passenger cars.
Because of your past generosity we have the funds on band to continue our work at Rockhill Furnace, Coles Station, and Robertsdale in 2007. However, the funds now on hand are not sufficient to pay for all the work we hope to accomplish next year, not to mention the work we must tackle in future years.
All of this means that we rely on the financial support that only you and other friends of the East Broad Top Railroad can provide. Please send your tax–deductible donation to the following address:
FEBT Restoration Fund Treasurer
513 Shady Avenue, No. 12
Pittsburgh PA 15206–4447
Contributors who make donations of $50 or more before August 31, 2007, are eligible to receive an authorized reproduction of Ted Rose's original painting Up the Creek.
Each year of our campaign I use this space to thank the artist and owner of the painting from which the art reproduction we offer to donors is derived. My usual brief acknowledgement would not, however, be sufficient this year. Ted Rose apparently painted Up the Creek to suit himself; this remarkable painting—previously unknown to us—was purchased and is held by a private owner in Santa Fe. FEBT member Petty Rose not only brought this painting to our attention, she borrowed it from its owner, Rob Roy, and arranged for James Hart, who handled Ted Rose's photography, to make the large format color transparency we needed for our art reproduction. Without her active assistance, we would indeed have been "up the creek." All of us at FEBT should be especially grateful to Polly, who fondly remembers her own visits to the East Broad Top Railroad, for allowing us to use this powerful painting for the sixth year of our fund raising campaign.
At Polly Rose's request, our reproduction of Up the Creek is smaller than the art reproductions we have offered donors in the previous years of our campaign. Our reproduction is actually larger than the original painting, which is quite small, but not so large as to diminish the dramatic impact of Up the Creek. In past years some donors have requested smaller reproductions, so we are happy to satisfy this preference while honoring Polly's wishes.
With the cooperation of the East Broad Top Railroad, in October 2006 Friends of the East Broad Top obtained the title to the former EBT station building in Robertsdale from S&S, the partnership that purchased the property from the railroad in 1987. The transfer of the station property to FEBT simplifies our control of our Robertsdale museum site and secures our possession and future development of the station building.
With funds provided by FEBT member Rick C. Shoup, FEBT in 1987 executed a 50 year lease for the station property and purchased the adjoining old post office. FEBT partially rehabilitated the station as part of the initial development of our Robertsdale museum, and since 1991 we have opened the station to the public on various seasonal schedules. Donation of the station property to FEBT under the terms of a side agreement which FEBT negotiated with S&S when we leased the station had been discussed in past years, but a right of first refusal retained by the EBT when S&S purchased the station complicated matters. Obviously we are pleased that the Robertsdale station is now formally ours, and we are grateful to the EBT and S&S for helping us complete this transaction.
Meanwhile, we are in the final stages of revising the drawings and specifications for the final phase of our rehabilitation of the old Robertsdale post office. FEBT president Henry F. Inman is working with historical architect John R. Bowie on these requirements, and preliminary discussions with our contractors have begun. We expect electrical and interior work to stair this winter, with exterior work to begin in the spring of 2007. The contracted work will involve relocating a ventilation duct, repairing plaster on the inside faces of the block walls, converting the first–floor rear addition to a new public bathroom, completing all plumbing, and installing all electrical wiring and lighting. Our contractors will also fill in the air conditioner opening in the north wall with matching concrete block, construct sidewalks on the east and north sides of the building, and install an emergency escape ladder. We plan to obtain custom–fabricated wood doors for the exterior and, perhaps, to replace missing interior doors. Our plans call for FEBT volunteers to handle the bulk of the remaining work, which includes inserting new and replacement insulation, finishing the partition walls and ceilings, and cleaning and reinstalling the building's wood wainscoting and trim, and all painting. This work will start in 2007, but its progress depends in part on our contractors.
The windows of the East Broad Top Railroad's paint shop building in Rockhill Furnace have 51 sashes, and each window sash contains nine panes of glass. During, the past two years every one of these 459 glass panes has been removed, the wood sashes repaired, the original or replacement glass installed, and the repaired and repainted sashes inserted into the repaired and repainted wood window frames. Walking into this building, which Friends of the East Broad Top now leases from the EBT for our car restoration facility, is now a whole new experience. At the north end of the paint shop, our volunteers have constructed a reinforced concrete work pad, where heavy repairs can be performed. A new compressor and tank installed inside the paint shop building powers the pneumatic tools our volunteers use for our car restoration work.
Our repairs and improvements at the paint shop building provide just one example of the progress our volunteers continue to make at Rockhill Furnace. In the past year we have also completed our reconstruction of the coal bin adjacent to the shop boiler house. We have continued our repairs to the siding and windows on the north and west walls of the main shop complex, applying new red paint as we go. Our volunteers have converted the sand house into a secure storage area. The turntable received new paint after the EBT completed mechanical repairs.
Our rehabilitation of EBT steel hopper car no. 802 continues, as we discovered that the car's trucks required much more work than we expected. Our schedule for the restoration of EBT passenger–baggage car no. 14 has also been extended: Upon stripping the roof and siding front this car, our volunteers discovered extensive damage to the passenger car's internal framework. After consulting, advisors familiar with the problems of working on historic wood passenger cars, we believe we have developed a plan for undertaking the necessary structural repairs. In the meantime, our volunteers helped the EBT return a long out–of–service steel flatcar (probably no. 108) to operation, and we have repainted] and renewed the stenciled lettering on the steel hopper cars the railroad uses for its photo trains.
Our walk–behind pneumatic tie insertion machine, which we purchased used from the Wilmington & Western Railroad last winter, has significantly improved the pace of our track work in Rockhill Furnace. Using our "new" tie inserter, FEBT volunteers have repaired tracks leading to the turntable, the paint shop, and the south end of the main shop complex. As in past years, our volunteers also cut away more brush and overgrowth along yard tracks and Jordan Creek.
As much as our volunteers accomplished in 2006, FEBT Rockhill Furnace restoration coordinator R. Lee Rainey assures us that we still have plenty of work to do in 2007. The main shop complex, combine no. 14, and hopper car no. 802 will require more attention. And there's still plenty of red paint to apply!
During the past year historical architect John R. Bowie has continued his work on our documentation of the East Broad Top Railroad's last surviving enclosed water tank at Coles Station, located on an isolated segment of the EBT's right of way between Robertsdale and Rockhill Furnace. John made his first visit to the Coles Station site in October 2005. He made a second lengthy visit to Coles Station in April to make further measurements and supervise the large–format photography. Since then John has visited the site again several more times—most recently in October 2006—to fill in additional details as he completes work on preliminary versions of his drawings, which we expect to review later this year.
John's work for FEBT at Coles Station will yield detailed measured drawings showing the construction and purpose of the water tank, large–format black–and–white photographic negatives, photo captions, and field notes. The measured drawings and other materials John is providing to FEBT for this project will meet standards established by the Historic American Engineering Record (HAER). FEBT will eventually transmit this original material to HAER at the US National Park Service, after we obtain copies of this material for our own use. Ultimately the Coles Station water tank drawings, photographs, captions, and field sketches will join the other EBT–related HAER material in the Library of Congress.
The water tank at Coles Station dates from the early 1920s, when it was constructed to replace an earlier water tank at this location. The tank structure consists of an elevated round wood tub style tank supported by heavy wood joists on framed wood bents. The tank and its supporting framework are enclosed in a two–story wood–frame building. A one–story annex extending from the rear wall formerly housed a belt driven pump and its gasoline engine. Water from a nearby spring was pumped from a cistern under the annex to the tank, where train crews could use a counterweighted spout to deliver water to the tenders of the EBT's steam locomotives.
In 2006 FEBT successfully applied for a third grant to support our documentation of the EBT's Coles Station water tank. This grant of $1,000.00 from the Amherst Railway Society, together with the grants we received in 2005 for this project from the Society for Industrial Archeology ($3,000.00) and the Amherst Railway Society ($1,000.00), will cover almost half of the expected cost of this project.
Earlier this year we transmitted the original drawings, photographs, and other documentation notes for the EBT's station building at Saltillo to HAER. FEBT has retained archival copies of John's measured drawings and archival prints and copy negatives from the large–format photographs, which will be held in our own museum collections.
As of October 2000, Friends of the East Broad Top has made 103 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 $16,789.46 in principal and $3,101.90 in interest. Thus the balance of the loan remaining is $3,395.17. (This does not include, of course, the additional interest due.) During the 2007 calendar year we are scheduled to make 12 loan payments totaling $2,317 44; of this amount $2,257.56 represents the repayment of principal and $59.88 the payment of interest. FEBT will make he final payment for this loan in early 2008.
In addition to the debt we assumed for previous work on the old post office, in 2002 our directors authorized borrowing $10,000.00 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.
In August 2004 our directors agreed that, starting that year, $2,500.00 of the contributions we receive each year to support our restoration and development programs will be used to "repay" these borrowed funds, until the entire $10,000.00 has been returned to the FEBT life member account. So far $5,000.00 has been repaid, and $2,500.00 more will be repaid in December 2006. The fourth of these payments to the FEBT life member account will be incorporated into our 2007 budget, and thus at the end of next year the total amount borrowed from the FEBT life member account will be repaid.
On August 19, 2006, the East Broad Top Railroad's home–built inspection motor car M–3 made a triumphant return to the railroad for its public debut during the EBT's 2006 Homecoming/Appreciation Day Celebration. The EBT constructed this historic motor car in the 1920s using a Nash engine and drive–train. Used to inspect and repair the railroad's right–of–way until the railroad suspended common–carrier operations in 1956, the M–3 was stored out of service for many years. In 2005 FEBT volunteers stripped the motor car to its frame and started to completely rebuild it. The M–3 project differed from others in our restoration program in that there was never any formal budget. Instead, interested FEBT members (and other supporters of the project) contributed to FEBT the parts and materials which M–3 restoration coordinator Larry M. Freeman determined were necessary as work progressed.
Our current fund–raising, campaign will conclude in 2008. During the final year of this campaign we will again offer donors the art reproductions available in earlier years. If you missed the chance to obtain one of these reproductions, or just want another one, your opportunity is coming! Starting in September 2007, donors who contribute $50 or more can choose to receive one of the six reproductions we have used during this campaign: Ted Rose's Mount Union Train (2001/2), John H. Coker's Afternoon Call (2002/3), Frank Victor's October Evening, Orbisonia (2003/4), John H. Coker's Leaving Robertsdale, Pennsylvania (2004/5), Ted Rose's On the Hill (2005/6), and Ted Rose's Up the Creek (2006/7). We may also offer some special token of appreciation to donors who already have all six reproductions. All art reproductions remaining in our hands after August 31, 2008, will be destroyed.
As noted elsewhere in this newsletter, our fund–raising campaign has allowed us to achieve far more than we originally expected. This success has been based on the cooperation of the artists and owners of the six original paintings of the East Broad Top Railroad used for our campaign, and we take this occasion to again thank them for their help.
We remind you that the deadline for obtaining one of our authorized reproductions of Ted Rose's On the Hill was August 31, 2006, Until October we honored requests for this reproduction accompanying donations we received after that date because of the delay in announcing the start of the sixth year of our campaign. Remaining reproductions of this painting will be offered again from September 2007 through August 2008. Until then, a few reproductions of On the Hill; Leaving Robertsdale, Pennsylvania; October Evening, Orbisonia; Afternoon Call; and Mount Union Train may be available for the usual donation of $50 or more—at some special shows or events. If and when these reproductions may be available depends on many factors, so we make no promises.
Our restoration fund treasurer cannot make exceptions to this policy, so please don't ask!