Shelburne Falls Trolley Museum
The Official Shelburne Falls Trolley Museum
Winter 1997 by Tony Jewell
It is amazing at just how much time it really takes to make a museum functional.
Just thoughts on a wall. But it's all true. We, the SFTM, have been around for what seems to be seven very very long years. We've seen a lot of people come and go. And while we're still chugging away, you know it don't come easy.
The times are not super in the non profit world. Good volunteers are at a premium and are typically burned out with all the demands that their volunteer starved communities put on them. Donation dollars are extremely tight.
In this holiday season, that is supposed to be a time of sharing and giving, think for a moment about just how valuable a few moments of your time could be to your local charity or museum.
For example, here at the Shelburne Falls Trolley Museum we have 80 dues paying members but only a dozen are what we might call active participants. Just ten more pairs of hands would effectively double our output which could translate into, if nothing else, a far more timely updating of our web site newsletter!!!!
So what else is new beyond the moaning and groaning??
Starting with the car, ie Number Ten. The structural work is all completed. The new siding has been installed, and looks terrific The roof has been completely replaced and the new canvas was installed just last week, 11/25, with the help of Smitty Mazzei from Seashore Trolley Museum. Thanks Smitty.
Flexible Track was recently reinstalled in the car barn in anticipation of the arrival of the rebuilt Taylor MCB trucks in January.
These trucks, in case you hadn't heard, came from the good folks at the Wannamaker, Kempton, and Southern Railroad out in Allentown PA way. They spent part of their post trolley life as the trucks for a shop locomotive of Mack truck ancestry. Now they are in the capable but frequently overworked hands of the estimable Bruce Thain in Guilford Ct.
In the mean time, we have secured all the rest of the controllers, trolley poles, and other related electrical mechanical material.
Current restoration scheduling
thinking is thusly.
We recently secured another $50,000 grant from Mass Highway to complete the restorations. A variety of problems related to the initial evaluation viz a viz the actual car conditions encountered meant that we were faced with cutting corners or acquiring more funds.
Thanks to the folks at Mass Highway with a special nod to Mark Massery we are getting extra funding allowing us to have a first class job.
For those of you with a quirky sense of historic justice, it's a little ironic that the Mass Highway department is funding our project. For, you see, back in 1926, it was the state highway department that forced the closure of the SF&C. At that time, the state required the trolley line to relocate its right of way in order to allow for the construction of a new highway to serve the mills in Colrain.
Before I move away from number 10 I would be remiss in failing to mention the names of the two individuals who are doing, have done all the carpentry to date, and will continue, Tom Kehoe and Ed Brady. Basically these guys were two very good cabinet maker carpenters but the two of them, primarily due to deprived childhoods, didn't know a Brill truck from an Autocar when they started.
If you come out our way, you'll see that they've come a long way and have done some really first class work that is as good or better than any other trolley restoration work in the country.
Now that the restoration is moving towards completion where is the museum going to be??? Well I wish I knew. I can say that for the next three years it's going to be in the Buckland railroad yard. Beyond that is the subject of a new study that we hope will start some time in January. It looks like we'll be operational somewhere in Shelburne Falls but there is still a chance that we'll take an option for a static display in Colrain.
We are in the midst of having an intern come on board. Steve Gardner is a Hampshire College man with a serious rail affection affliction and a major in the Acoustics of Music. Steve's work for us is going to center around improving the museum administration, providing linkage with local youth, and studying the dynamics of integrating a trolley museum into a vintage late 19th century village in the late twentieth century. Needless to say we, I especially, await Steve's arrival with palms and kudos.
We have reopened the museum gift shop and exposition gallery at our current new home in the Buckland railroad yard. We don't have much to sell as yet but we're working on it. If you're around, please give us a visit and all your credit cards.
It appears that we will be acquiring a steam locomotive. This industrial switcher used to operate in the Three Rivers Mass area and will be available for switching the yard if and when that fantasy becomes possible. And, just to show you that we're always scheming, we are also in the midst of negotiating for a little Whitcomb from the same geographic area.
In 1998, look for us to have a rail fan day in the fall, a membership dinner in may, and a few surprises in between!
And have yourselves a trolley happy holiday!!!
14 Depot Street Shelburne Falls MA 01370        413-625-9443       firstname.lastname@example.org