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

Authenticity in restoration

By Hank Inman, President Friends of the East Broad Top

Without fanfare, in 2010 our restoration program made a small but significant advance in the authenticity of our work. In the restoration of historic artifacts and buildings, authenticity means using exact materials and historically appropriate methods to replace missing components or effect repairs. To properly appreciate our accomplishment, I ask you to examine the photograph reproduced below. Here Dave Richards, a skilled machinist and one of our regular volunteers at Rockhill Furnace, fabricates metal parts needed for our restoration of one of the East Broad Top Railroad combination baggage-passenger cars. The significance of Dave's work is simple: He is using one of the lathes in the EBT's Rockhill Furnace machine shop. True, Dave is driving the lathe from a small, portable engine rather than the overhead line-shaft. But the fact remains that he is employing historic EBT shop machinery to reproduce metal components for the trucks of a historic EBT passenger car.

Machining parts
Machinist at Work: Dave Richards uses a lathe in the East Broad Top Railroad's historic Rockhill Furnace machine shop to fabricate truck components needed for our restoration of one of the EBT's combination baggage-passenger cars.
William L. Adams photo

Elsewhere in this brief newsletter other photographs illustrate the progress our restoration volunteers are currently making at both Robertsdale and Rockhill Furnace. Except for occasional grants, we purchase the materials we use for all of this work with the contributions you and others have donated to our restoration fund. Because of your past generosity, we have not needed to solicit donations for our 2010 restoration efforts. However, we will need additional resources to continue our progress as we look ahead to 2011.

Please support our restoration work by sending your tax deductible donation to us at he following address:

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

Work progresses at Robertsdale, Rockhill Furnace

In 2010 FEBT volunteers continued to advance our restoration work at both Rockhill Furnace and Robertsdale. Here's a summary of what we've been doing.

In Rockhill Furnace, FEBT volunteers working on the boiler house removed - from below - the damaged rafters and roof from three sides of the boiler house roof. The supporting framework for the ventilation cupola was repaired, too, as new rafters, subroofing, and metal roofing were installed. The last roof panel will be replaced in 2011.

Repairing side frames
Andrew H. Van Scyoc (left) and David A. Phillips make repairs to the side framing of EBT combination baggage-passenger car no. 14.
Henry F. Inman photo

The FEBT volunteers repairing the exterior walls and windows of the main shop complex ran into unexpected difficulties this year when they started work on the southern portion of the west wall of the locomotive shop. Severe deterioration to the sills and posts supporting this section of wall required immediate reinforcement so the necessary repairs could be tackled. These repairs restore structural integrity to this portion of the building. Repairs to the windows in this section of the main shop continued in 2010, despite the need to undertake the unanticipated structural repairs. Work on the south end of the building will continue next year. Meanwhile, our work at the locomotive coaling tipple at the south end of the Rockhill Furnace yard advanced with installation of a new metal roof over the concrete coal bin.

In 2010 FEBT volunteers working on the restoration of EBT combination baggage-passenger car no. 14 repaired existing wood posts in the combine's side framing and inserted new material where needed. Installation of exterior siding should begin in 2011. This year repairs began on the car's metal and wood seat frames, which will eventually be covered with the new rattan upholstery cloth we purchased earlier this year. Repairs to the combine's trucks are also in progress.

FEBT volunteers began restoration of EBT steel boxcar no. 174 this year, focusing their immediate efforts on replacing the car's wood roof framing and subroofing. Metal roof sheathing will be applied in the future, but in the meantime the car should be sufficiently weather-tight to allow us to use it for storage. Additional work is under way on the brake gear for our reproduction woodframe passenger trucks. Our friends at the Strasburg Rail Road will fabricate the metal components needed for this work, which will continue in 2011.

In Robertsdale FEBT volunteers made further progress on our rehabilitation of the old post office, one of our two museum buildings. This year we concentrated on installing trim and painting the upstairs walls, windows, doors, and trim. Downstairs we painted and installed metal ceiling in the two main rooms. Work on interior trim and painting will continue over the winter. Replacing the wood wainscoting in the ground floor rooms and stairwell and installing new exterior doors will complete most of our remaining work. This will allow our electrical and alarm-system contractors to finish their work in 2011, so that our museum operations can finally be transferred to this building from the Robertsdale station.

New Roof
David G. Dietz (left) and Charles A. Wootton work on new roof framing for EBT steel boxcar no. 174.
Henry F. Inman photo
Aerial painting
Two stories up, Barbara L. Morgan works on the cupola on the reconstructed roof above the EBT shop boiler house.
William L. Adams photo
Working on the trim
Jane A. Rutledge (left) and Robert Goldby repair windows inside the sheet-metal wing of the EBT's Rockhill Furnace shop complex.
Henry F. Inman photo
Preparing a door
David G. Dietz prepares one of the interior doors of the old Robertsdale post office for painting.
Henry F. Inman photo

Bracing for locomotive shop wall

Wall braces
Two of the heavy timber braces temporarily attached to the wall's exterior while repairs were under way are shown here..
Hank Inman photo

As our Rockhill Furnace volunteers worked their way to the south end of the East Broad Top Railroad's main shop complex, their focus was on repairing the wall sheathing and windows. What they found, however, was severe deterioration of the sills supporting the posts holding up this section of the building's walls. The damage was extensive enough that the entire wall section floated free of its base, so that one person pressing on the wall could displace it. 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. Effective January 1, 2009, FEBT regular membership costs $35.00 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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