13 December 2015

Celebration Time

While the blog has been inactive for quite some time, volunteers at the Depot have not! The big news is that last week, the HPG received TWO grants: $5000 from Idaho Heritage Trust and $24,900 from the Inland Northwest Community Foundation. Yes, you are reading correctly that we now have over $30,000 to work with in getting the upstairs ready for tenants. I say over $30,000 because at the well-attended Beargrass concert last night, even more donations from generous attendees poured in! As Jim West has said enthusiastically, that means we can hire contractors to finish the upstairs work. No doubt Becca West likes the idea that Jim will not be wearing out his tired knees any further working on the various jobs upstairs.

The upstairs now seems close to being very classy office space. Walls are textured and painted in the hallway and many of the rooms, and some of the beautiful doors Jim found in Portland have been installed. Jesse Glassman is beginning work on the floors and a decision has been made to lay carpet in the hallway to cut costs. The carpet might also cut hallway noise, so it's a good choice. Jesse did the downstairs floors, so we have confidence the upstairs ones will be equally beautiful. And the light fixtures awaiting installation will cap off the upscale feel of the hallway and offices spaces.

Speaking of office spaces, one tenant is chomping at the bit to move in by year's end, although we aren't quite ready. He wants two spaces and another person has asked for space in the spring. The reality is that the dream of the Depot being an economic development incentive is now coming true! Just across the tracks, the new pellet mill is taking shape, meaning the old mill site is coming into its own. Having Karen Rohn and Blackbird back in the downstairs adds to the feeling that this part of downtown is coming together. The Company Store, currently located in the ticket office, has a few new items, by the way, including beautiful custom coffee mugs by Andy Sewell. How about some beer mugs next, featuring our great logo?

The Depot is enjoying more community support than ever before, and last night's Beargrass concert drew a packed house and plenty of good dancing in the freight room. As Shane and Alane Watkins and the band belted out a number of great songs - even some train songs- many people also asked to tour the upstairs to see what's happening. Now people are beginning to see what the HPG members have envisioned all along- a beautifully restored community hub, just like the old days! It's interesting that what was once planned as an elevated office in the freight room is now a great little stage for musical and theater venues!

This post would not be complete without some good words for the steady volunteers who have quietly done so many construction tasks to get us this far: Jim West, Bob Behal and Barb West have been mainstays, often assisted by Kenny and Dave Cada, Tim Moore and Bill Warner. There might be others who work quietly on days I have not visited, so my apologies if I have left anyone out. Elaine Johnson frequently shows up to help at events, and Hal Van De Vord helps Karen Rohn with Company Store duties. During the Company Town Christmas yesterday, Jim West also recruited Hal and Roger Ferrell to help with Jim's novel Junior Engineer School, which graduated a number of community kids who now know much more about trains the operation of model trains!

December 12th was quite a day in the HPG's history. Thank you to one and all who capped off a great week!

15 July 2015

Speeders Were Back in Town

Perfect weather helped make Speeder Day on July 11 another winner! Those little cars never cease to bring smiles and the rides to either Princeton or Wellesley were very much enjoyed!

Isn't it fun to see Roger Farrell piloting his very own speeder after all those years of working on the loading platform during speeder days?

And the model trains from Lewiston's club were a natural addition.

07 March 2015

Dramatic Photo by Area Photographer Bob Marr

Local photographer Bob Marr captured an amazing photo of the moon rising over Potlatch last night and look what's in the foreground. Our depot just makes the photo even that much better. Beautiful shot--enjoy!

27 February 2015

Trains Running Again!

Almost the end of February and good news, just in from Kenny Cada:

Exciting News!  After being closed for the past 6 months, the railway is open again!  A train went past the depot 30 minutes ago on its way to Bennett Lumber.  I heard it from my back yard and jumped in the car to be a train chaser.  I talked to Robin in her shop and she witnessed it go by.  I couldn't wait to tell all of you.

Today at the depot joining Bob were 4 additional people - Tim & Mary Moore, Barb West and myself.  We hope to see more of you there tomorrow!

Great to hear the trains are running again! Also, welcome to Tim and Mary Moore who have been coming down to the depot to work. More pictures coming soon. The progress at the depot is amazing!!!!

22 February 2015

New Meadows Depot Coming Along Nicely

Some years back when we were starting the depot project in Potlatch, Jack and I visited with the Adams County Historical Society as members dreamed of restoring the Pacific and Idaho Northern Railway depot at New Meadows. Stopping at the depot on my way home from Boise, I peeked through the window and was amazed at the progress! There's a nicely refurbished downstairs with its ticket window, interpretive exhibits and railroad era furnishings. Out front is a flag pole with a seating area and nice memorial showing donor names on brass plaques. The whole scene exhibits progress and determination, the same kind we see at our own WIM depot. Check out the website at www.historicpindepot.com

14 February 2015

Upstairs work really in high gear

It's been quite a while since we have posted some pictures of the upstairs work at the depot, but today we caught Bob Behal, Barb West and student volunteer Jacob Ownbey working away on the staircase and the upstairs. Above, Bob is stabilizing stair tread, shoring up the old staircase that once saw lots of loggers and millworkers tromping up and down those stairs. The staircase will really be beautiful when Bob works his magic on it!

Jacob Ownbey, pictured above, is volunteering his time as part of a school project. We are so happy to have him working with us.

Don't let Barb West's serious face fool you. She still smiles most of the time, despite being slave labor on many weekends!! That's what happens when you are related to Jim West, our fearless leader, who is also usually around on these intense work days. Thank you Jim for continuing to shepherd the crew. We hope your knees are holding out! And by the way, that is Mark Schilling with Barb. He has plenty of building talents, but we still haven't convinced him to come and join us. Maybe we don't pay enough!!!

Here's a look at one end of the hallway, with much of the sheetrock in place. Yes, there is lots to do yet, but this is significant progress. YES!!!

Another glimpse of the upstairs with new sheetrock in place.  Interestingly enough, the state planners for the Idaho Heritage Conference have chosen to tour Potlatch precisely because of the ongoing work on the old depot. Officials at Idaho Heritage Trust and the State Historic Preservation Office know about the loyal and determined volunteers at Potlatch and have once again asked that the depot story be told at the conference. The previous conference, two years ago, also hailed the Potlatch depot project. This year's conference is slated for late September and will be based in Moscow.

And one last shot of Bob Behal, volunteer extraordinaire. You gotta love the candid shots. Bob is amazing for not only his dedication, but his building solutions, especially as he tackles that "seasoned" staircase! Thanks Bob. That staircase is going to be a crown jewel of the depot.

04 August 2014

Finally rid of the pesky pole...

For some, it's probably a small thing having an unused utility pole still standing when it's no longer necessary. In the case of said pole, it's been blocking progress at the depot because of its location, right in the way of the second story window we hope to use for unloading sheetrock.  Today the pole came down! Thank you, Frontier-hired contractors. Now a boom truck can unload the heavier materials right where they belong and more work can start on the second floor. Not that anyone is over-anxious about working in the 90-degree-plus heat! And speaking of work, here's another look (picture below) at those gorgeous doors Jim West hauled over from Portland last week. Thanks to Bob Behal, Barb West, Mike West, Hal VandeVord and Jim West for doing the job of carting all the materials out of the U-Haul. The bottom picture shows Barb doing some of the heavy lifting, which she often does! And thanks Karen Rohn for snapping the pictures and helping too!