30 June 2010

Introducing Blackbird Station at the Depot

The Depot's new tenants Julie Kerr and Karen Rohn are getting ready to open for business and the shop looks very nice. Karen has created some great posters and Julie's line of gifts is inviting. Today some of the residents of Good Samaritan Village in Moscow will stop by for a visit, and hopefully among them will be Malcolm Renfrew, who grew up in Potlatch and went on to become a renowned scientist.

Meanwhile the preparations continue for our July 10 speeder event, with Jack and Don wielding the weedwhackers, Brian and Aaron concentrating on trim and finishing touches in the hallway, and Barb doing general cleanup. Brian is starting to set up the Company Store, and displays in the freight room will be rearranged. So much to do--always. Still hoping for a few more volunteers, but glad that Webb French and sons and Dave Brady have stepped forward as our latest recruits. One new item for speeder days is the uncovering of the caboose so we can have it available for visitors. We also have the Idaho State Historical Society wanting a tour of things the day before Potlatch Days. And did we mention that W&I Railway President Stan Patterson has pledged the arrival of the SP "Black Widow" just in time for speeders? Oh and the Hog Heaven Big Band will be belting out tunes on speeder day too. This band is top notch, so bring your dancin' shoes on July 10.

29 June 2010

The Speeders Are Coming--Count Down to July 10

JULY 10 9 am to 5 pm, dinner in evening
Speeder Rides
Music on the Bennett Boxcar Stage
Hog Heaven Big Band and other bands
Mo Bandy's Barbecue (Dinner Tickets on sale for $12)
Washington & Idaho Railway's "Black Widow" Locomotive on exhibit
Historic WI&M Caboose available for tours
Hand-crafted gifts, art studio, event posters
Silent Auction for Sunday Rides to Moscow
New Roundtrip Rides Added between Potlatch and Palouse
Presale Tickets Now available at US Bank in Potlatch!
$45 for adults, $25 for kids 12 and under PRESALE PRICE
$40 for adults, $20 for kids on the day of the event
Presale tickets guarantee you a ride
Show up at the Potlatch Depot at 9 am to purchase tickets the day of the event
First Come First Served
Shorter Rides between Potlatch and Princeton
or Potlatch and Kennedy Ford
$15 for adults, $10 for 12 and under PRESALE PRICE
$10 for adults, $5 for kids on the day of the event
First Come First Served, Tickets on Sale at 9 am in Potlatch
New Palouse Rides
Some Round Trips Available from Palouse to Potlatch
Tickets on sale at Palouse RV Park at 11 am July 10
First Come First Served
Also shorter rides in Palouse between 11:15 am and 1:15 pm
$5 for adults, $3 kids 12 and under
All tickets in Palouse available the day of the event--No Presale
Tickets on sale from 11 am to 1:15 pm
at Palouse RV Park
All children 8 and under must be accompanied by an adult
Join us in Potlatch for a tour of the newly rehabilitated main floor interiors and the exhibits in the freight room. Also don't forget to check out the new business Blackbird Station at the Depot!

24 June 2010

Depot Provides Sentimental Journey

Ted Runberg (pictured above looking at photos in the freight room) came to Potlatch yesterday to revisit some of his roots and decided the depot should be his first stop. Having grown up in the rural Potlatch area, Ted knew the depot well, and he used to offload automobiles for Stapleton Motors as they came in by train. He also delivered milk and cream as a teen. Ted's interest in the depot goes beyond memories however. He's an advocate for restoring significant historical buildings, and his son Brian recently restored the Beardmore Building in Priest River. Working with his son in promoting Priest River as both a good hometown and worthwhile tourist stop, Ted feels Potlatch offers the same amenities. As he toured the new Blackbird Station at the Depot, he mentioned that the Beardmore Building had similar retail appeal and they'd installed a wine bar there, as well. He wondered if the same type of business could work at the depot. He says the wine bar in Priest River is only open from Thursday to Saturday, but that it's well patronized and popular, drawing people that don't always do the tavern scene. Food for thought as the Depot gains traction as a new business in town.

23 June 2010

Bovill Run, Speeders...Fun at the Depot Continues

First, to clear up some confusion from the last posting about the Bovill Run. Jim West called this morning to chide me that I hadn't mentioned a stop at Bovill in the post. Well, yes, we did stop at Bovill, and no, I didn't get tangled up in the taverns! Bovill was indeed a great stop where we had lunch, listened to a good talk about the old days, compliments of Bob Denevan, then toured around town with Becky Kellom, past Bovill mayor. Overall, we are getting very positive feedback on the New Bovill Run, sponsored by the Latah County Historical Society. According to Earl Bennett, one of the tour guides, there will be another New Bovill Run in the fall.

Now we turn our attention to the Annual Speeder Event, scheduled for July 10 at the Depot.

7th Annual WI&M Ry HPG History Days

Potlatch Depot Saturday July 10

Speeder Rides, Music and Food 9 am - 4 pm

Jim West has been busy lining up music for the day and has the HOG HEAVEN BIG BAND as part of the action at the Benx boxcar stage. Jim has also secured a promise from W&I Railway President Stan Patterson that the Southern Pacific "Black Widow" F-Unit (Pictured above with Don Somers and Stan Patterson on the loading platform) will be on display. This is great news for railroad buffs. Blackbird Station at the Depot will also be open, as will the evolving museum in the freight room. With Don Somers currently riding the train back from the Milwaukee Road Historical Association's annual meeting, the team will be ready to go for the upcoming preparations and festivities. HPG Director Tom Burg coordinated the MR event, but will unfortunately not be here for speeder days this year. Tom has been generously sharing WI&M artifacts and memorabilia with us lately in preparation for the new museum, and we appreciate that. Tom, we will miss you on the loading dock this year!

One last piece of info. I am meeting with Ted Runberg at the Depot today, because he is curious to see how it looks. Seems Ted grew up in Potlatch, worked at the Depot unloading cars for Stapleton Motors in the old days, and now resides in Priest River where he is active in civic affairs. I met Ted when I went to Spokane last fall to accept an award for Jack from the Inland Northwest Partners, compliments of Paul Kimmell of Avista. Paul has been a Depot backer from the start and chose to honor Jack for his early work in getting Depot restoration in gear.

20 June 2010

New Bovill Run Puts Depot on Route

Mention "Bovill Run" around Latah County and most people shake their heads knowingly, though most hasten to add that THEY never went on the Bovill Run. The legendary drinking ritual was common among locals and college students, challenging participants to down a beer at each tavern on a loop from Moscow to Bovill and back again. The Bovill Run made for lots of good stories, and yesterday 50 people added their own re-enactment of the run, sans the drinking. The historical tour, dubbed The New Bovill Run, was sponsored by the Latah County Historical Society, with buses provided by Idaho Roadrunners. Earl Bennett and John Mix provided the running narrative on the trip that went from Moscow, to Potlatch, to Deary, then on to Troy before completing the loop at Moscow.
At Potlatch, the big focus was on the recently improved Potlatch depot, with displays in the freight room, thanks to the Potlatch Historical Society and HPG. Janice Vowels Johnson, a Princeton native, provided colorful memories of growing up around the company town, while Barb Coyner talked about the depot history and more recent HPG efforts to rehabilitate the 1906 structure. As people toured the depot, they were impressed by the countless volunteer hours and beautiful results, with most remarking on the stark changes to the floors. Our new tenants, Julie Kerr and Karen Rohn, threw out the welcome mat, offering a sneak preview of Blackbird Station at the Depot. Some stopped to buy Karen's commemorative poster of the Bovill Run, and many vowed they would be back for speeder days and the grand opening of Blackbird Station. All in all, chalk up a positive review for our new and improved depot and the New Bovill Run! And volunteers, take a bow for making a huge contribution to the history of the Company Town! By the way, many on the tour expressed an interest in seeing the gymnasium across the street restored. Now if only we could find some rich relative willing to take that on.

16 June 2010

Small Visitor Tours Depot

Things are looking good at the depot, despite the rain in Potlatch. Julie Kerr and Karen Rohn are now official tenants in the waiting room and ticket office, having signed the lease yesterday. Welcome Blackbird Station at the Depot! Now the fun begins as Julie and Karen add stock, arrange the rooms, and plan for the grand opening. They will offer a sneak peek during the New Bovill Run on Saturday morning. Meanwhile, another little visitor--a banded pigeon--got a sneak peek of the freight room as Barb put up historical exhibits for Saturday's tour. Barb will be joined by Janice Johnson as official tour guides for the Bovill Run group. And Karen will have her neat posters on display, specially priced for participants. Here's hoping there's good weather in store for Saturday, as the Potlatch City Wide Yard Sale also takes place that day. It's another good reason to be in Potlatch, so stop by the depot and say hello as you're hunting for bargains.

13 June 2010

Little Annoyances Impede Progress

We're posting a photo of the depot during the locomotive move in 1989 as a reminder of just how far we've come in efforts to restore the historic Potlatch depot. As interior work winds down on the north end of the building, it's the petty stuff that seems to creep in. Like the door between the ticket office and the hallway being off 1/8 inch. This was just enough to postpone moving day for Karen Rohn and Julie Kerr as they seek to open their new business BLACKBIRD STATION (at the Depot). Brian Magelky, one of the HPG board members and a steady volunteer these past three months, remembers our optimism that this interior should only take three weeks. Yeah, right! Things never go according to plan, but if the HPG had known three weeks would become three months, would members have ever stepped forth to move ahead? Likely not. But now on June 13, it appears Karen and Julie can start moving in their inventory.

Giving credit where credit is due, here's a review of the team that has brought us to this point: Jim West, project manager, has been in Potlatch nearly every weekend, putting up sheetrock, hammering, measuring, doing everything but enjoying weekends at home with his family. Sometimes he brought his family, including wife Becca, daughters Tori and Delaney, brother Mike West, and sister-in-law Barb West. Then there's HPG vice-president Brian Magelky, who has driven out from Moscow nearly every weekday and most Saturdays, as well, sometimes bringing son Aaron, a proud HPG member. Brian is a skilled cabinetmaker so tackling the uneven and rough construction in the depot has taxed his patience at times, but he's been a steady and appreciated presence. Then there's past HPG president and current treasurer Don Somers who has been on the ladders, patching holes and improving the walls, and doing whatever else has been necessary. That contribution is huge. Current HPG president Jack Coyner faithfully tended to insulation chores on the second floor, sacrificing a pair of glasses in the whole effort. He's ridden herd on electricians and plumbers, coordinated efforts with volunteers and tenants, and covered a variety of other construction chores not exactly in his line of expertise. This group of volunteers has been the backbone of getting things done. Additionally, Karen Rohn, Julie Kerr and Mike Bryngelson have thrown in countless hours of sweat equity on behalf of Blackbird Station. In a nutshell, we defied the experts who said we needed a half million dollars to get things shaped up in the interiors. The monies left over from the 2007 redo paid for electricity and plumbing, insulation, phone service, and all kinds of building materials and fixtures. We're not done yet, but this week Blackbird Station can finally move into new quarters. We wish this venture every success! And thank you for bearing with us as the HPG steps into uncharted waters as landlords. Volunteers in this case probably never thought this would be one of the duties!

08 June 2010

The End is in Sight! New Beginnings Ahead!

The train came through today. And a visitor stopped by from Anacortes, telling Brian and Jack about the days his mother lived in Palouse and rode the train to Potlatch to take music lessons. She'd stay overnight at the music teacher's house, then ride the train back to Palouse the next day. Later she was considered so good at piano and organ that she played for the silent movies in Palouse.
What a great day to be in the depot, listening to stories from the past and hearing the train whistle as the locomotive headed to Princeton! It's those moments that make all the work worth it. Once again today Brian worked on the trim and doors, as Julie wielded the paintbrush. Meanwhile Jack has been steadily holed up in the freight room, working on the endless to-do list there. Last night Jack tested the outdoor lights and found they lit up the place just fine. Progress! With Karen filling the outdoor planters with soil and lugging in more display items, it is feeling more and more real that the depot will soon be alive with business. Blackbird Station at the Depot Coming Soon!!!!!!

05 June 2010

Tying Up Loose Ends

And Jim wonders why his knees hurt. As project manager on this phase of depot rehab, he's been the main worker, horsing sheetrock around, nailing up beadboard, and doing whatever it takes. Most days he enjoys help from Don, Brian and Jack (Aaron, Tori, Mike, Julie, Karen, and Mike and Barb West too), but this weekend was a solo performance. Jim also brought the bus depot sign, a wooden beauty that will look very nice on the outside of the depot. We are getting there, and next week Julie and Karen should be moving in, once Brian hangs the last door. The doors are looking good, by the way. And thanks Jim for giving up another weekend when you could've been outside in the nice weather. We appreciate all your efforts and talent.