In June Rex A. Smith, our general contractor, completed his portion of the contracted work for the final phase of our rehabilitation of the old Robertsdale post office. The work just completed includes the rubber-tile floor in the new public bathroom in the former rear addition, cabinets, and all plumbing and bathroom fixtures. Previously our contractor relocated a ventilation duct, repaired plaster on the inside faces of the block walls, reconstructed the first-floor rear addition, installed insulation under the first floor and an emergency second-floor escape ladder, and performed exterior concrete and masonry work. Our electrical contractor, FEBT member Charles A. Wootton, completed all rough electrical and telephone wiring last year; final electrical and lighting work will be addressed as our volunteers finish the ceilings and walls.
FEBT volunteers are handling the bulk of the remaining work. So far we have installed additional insulation, installed tongue-and-groove wood ceilings in all but the two main first floor rooms, covered the partition walls (except for wainscoting), painted new exterior trim, and started preparing and painting the ceilings and walls. Later this year we will begin installing metal ceilings in the two main ground-floor rooms; preparing and installing the wood wainscoting; and reinstalling, repairing, and painting all interior trim. We plan to obtain custom-fabricated wood doors for the exterior and the new public bathroom. (The new exterior doors will match the building's original doors and replace salvage doors we installed as an interim measure 12 years ago.) We have engaged a contractor to install the alarm system panel and components when all other work has been completed. Meanwhile our volunteers have installed the alarm system wiring and boxes, based on our alarm contractor's design.
Assuming the necessary funding is available, we now expect to complete work by the end of this year or early in 2010. All work is based on plans and specifications developed by historical architect John R. Bowie and meets the US Secretary of Interior's standards for rehabilitation of historic structures.
This phase of our rehabilitation of the old post office started in 2006 and completes a project that began in 1995. In earlier work we focused on the building's exterior, its structural integrity, and heating and air-conditioning systems. Like the work now under way, the earlier work was handled by a combination of contractors and FEBT volunteers.
When current work is completed, the old post office will become our primary museum building at Robertsdale, providing space on the ground floor for exhibits and our museum shop. Upstairs we will have space to organize and store our collections, making them more accessible to FEBT members and others with an interest in the East Broad Top Railroad.
Repairing the roofs of several buildings at the East Broad Top Railroad's historic Rockhill Furnace shop complex is one of the tasks our volunteers are addressing in their 2009 restoration work. Work on the windows, walls, and floors of the main shop building continues. Inside the boiler room, successful repairs to the roof framing has allowed the removal of "temporary" cribbing installed 20 years ago. In our car restoration facility work has started on repairs to the wood frame and end platforms of EBT combine no. 14. We also plan to rehabilitate the doors into the locomotive coaling tipple and undertake further repairs at the locomotive sand tower and bin.
In May, historical architect John R. Bowie completed his work on five sheets of measured drawings, part of our documentation of the East Broad Top Railroad's last enclosed water tank at Coles Station. Later this year, we will transmit these drawings, together with large-format photographs, photo captions, and field notes, to the US National Park Service, where they will join other EBT materials in the Historic American Engineering Record in the Library of Congress. Grants from the Society for Industrial Archeology and the Amherst Railway Society helped underwrite this project.
Work on our reproduction passenger trucks is rapidly advancing; we anticipate that contracted work will be finished within the next several months. The Strasburg Rail Road is performing machine-work and assembling our two wood-frame passenger trucks, reproductions of original trucks from former East Broad Top Railroad coach no. 5. The new trucks are intended for the restoration of EBT combine no. 16, now stored at the New Jersey Museum of Transportation. After several extensions, FEBT will return the leased original trucks from coach no. 5 to the Tweetsie Railroad, the coach's present owner.
Although the formal fund-raising campaign we started in 2001 ended last December, the need for financial support for our restoration program has not. Our 2009 restoration budget is $79,605.62, including present commitments and allocations to current projects. This budget will be adjusted up or down to reflect the actual funds available during the second half of 2009. Donations from individuals provide the primary financial support for our restoration program. Please help us by sending your tax-deductible donation to this address:
Friends of the East Broad Top
Restoration Fund Treasurer
12-513 Shady Avenue
Pittsburgh PA 15206
All donors will receive written acknowledgements for contributions to our restoration fund.