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

Rockhill Furnace Work Session: May 24-26, 2003

The third Rockhill work session of 2003 was held May 24-25-26. We had 14 volunteers on Saturday, 15 on Sunday and 5 on Monday. Fred Kuhns set a new distance record by coming from Memphis, TN to work with us.

Those taking part included Fred Kuhns, Bob Goldby, Bud Goldby, Bob Reffner, Wade Woodcock, Shawn Stauffer, Bill Adams, Charlie Wootton, Dan Horting, Steve Jacobs, Cathy Ott, Al Smith, Jim Bacon, Jane Clarke, Pete Clarke, Bill Miller, Dennis Marquette, Al Smith, and Lee Rainey.

Clean Up

Coach #8 window work
Wade Woodcock works on repairing window trim on coach #8.

Cathy Ott organized the First Annual Right-of-Way Trash Pickup Walk, netting an astounding eleven very full bags of bottles, cans, paper and other litter along the track to Colgate Grove. Additional large quantities of modern-day trash were removed from the shops. Bill Adams organized all our tools and non-lumber supplies into storage bins, imposing a much-needed logic on our materials. Other volunteers did the same with our various lumber supplies and millwork. This had the dual effect of simplifying the future issuing of lumber for various projects and the clean-up of the machine shop in anticipation of opening-day tours. The volunteers also hauled away the debris left from the previous work on the shop floor and generator room roof.

 

Windows

New glass rack
Bob Goldby and Bob Reffner work on the new glass storage rack.

The window crew, led by Bill Adams and Bob Goldby, completed the planned work on the track side of the car shop, bringing to a conclusion a project begun last summer. They then moved to the electrical shop and made major progress on the windows of the east and north sides.

 

Car Shop

Siding sanding
Wade Woodcock works on sanding the raised grain on the siding.
Siding ready
At the end of the session siding is ready for priming.

Under the leadership of Pete and Jane Clarke, the doors and the north wall of the car shop were scraped and sanded to prepare them for painting, but the wet weather prevented any actual paint work.

 

Shop Roof

We continued the fabrication of the additional roofing ladders we need, and brought to the site a load of corrugated iron roofing formerly stored in the Mt. Union engine house.

Boiler House

Jim Bacon brought an additional 200 bricks from Ohio, and secured the remaining masonry supplies we need. A team also used the new scaffolding to inspect the roof. A plan for temporary roof repairs was developed, and the necessary materials were brought to the site.

Electrical Shop

Siding repairs
The corner siding is in, but more work is in progress. Steve Jacobs and Lee Rainey pull up the rotted remains of the platform for later reconstruction.
Siding repairs
At the end of the session siding repair was well underway.

This small building displays a diverse range of architectural styles, to put it politely. (The east side is drop siding, the north is sheathed in slab clapboard, the west side is board and batten, and the south end is batten over tarpaper! The building was also enlarged at least twice in its lifetime.) We created and hung a new door using reproduction material, and made extensive siding repairs with our reproduction siding to the north and east sides. This building will require about two more days of carpenter and window work to get the three wooden sides ready for power washing and painting.

This building poses an interesting historical problem. Over the doors are metal plates that were formerly stenciled with lettering. We know that at various times they said "no smoking" and "smoking prohibited." Does anyone have dated photos that would give a clue as to what wording was used in what era?

 

Section House

Shed rebuilding
A swarm of volunteers works away on the Section House.
Shed rebuilding
The new deck is in place and the studs are going up.
Shed rebuilding
The shed as it looked after the session.

In an amazing build-a-thon, a crew led by Charlie Wootton removed the siding from the shed, numbering it for re-application in the same fashion. Then the old floor was removed and the usable timber salvaged from the underframe. (It contained some nice oak 4x10s!) Concrete-block footers were placed at a proper level, and a new underframe for the front shed was fabricated, using a mix of new lumber and parts of the original building. The bottom layer of old flooring was relaid and then studs were installed to support the roof. An amazing little hydraulic jack supplied by Al Smith allowed us to lower the roof into place, resulting in a level, straight front building for the first time in many years. The temporary braces were then removed and the lumber was salvaged for reuse. Everyone who worked on the project (we had about ten people doing various tasks) stared at the now-level structure when we were done and said "We can't believe we did all that in one day!" At future sessions, we will tie the new front floor to the rear shed, do some final leveling and straightening, rehang the front doors, and then reapply the siding and a top layer of flooring.

 

General Railroad News

The railroad employees will be installing new ties on the Runk Road bridge this week. We marveled at the complexity of the massive bridge ties they had prepared, each of which is mortised and tapered specifically to fit in a specific location.

 

Our next session will be held on June 28-29.

Lee Rainey,
Rockhill Restoration Coordinator

You can view other photos of this work session at Bill Adams' EBT Pictorial



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