29 June 2012

They came, they saw...and they gave!

Attendees of the Milwaukee Road Historical Association annual convention rolled into Potlatch in four buses this afternoon, and HPG members Jim West, Barb and Jack Coyner, and Bob and Marsha Olsen were on hand to greet them, as Karen Rohn staffed the bustling Company Store.  It was a lively group and we were happy to greet several HPG members among them, including Rob Lemke, who originally helped us purchase the depot, and past board members Tom Burg and Carl Sonner.  HPG President Kenny Cada and husband Dave were in the entourage, as were HPG Treasurer Don Somers, newsletter editor and board member Tom Hillebrant, and our newest and longest distance board member David Zuhn.  Many crowded into the Company Store to purchase items, and that generosity also was extended in the way of a $1000 check from the MRHA to the HPG!!!  Tom Burg, Kenny Cada and Dave Zuhn are pictured below with the check.

A MRHA Group Photo

The Company Store with board member Karen Rohn in charge of sales

Convention attendees also walked across the parking lot
to check out the developing PHS Museum quarters in City Hall

Joyce Gilmore paid a visit during the MRHA tour, and here she visits with HPG Chairman of the Board Jim West. Joyce's late husband Tom and their sons worked many years for the WI&M, and she brought several documents and mementos to share with us.  It will be fun to look them over in more detail.  Jack noted that long time WI&M employee Larry Smith also stopped by during the tour.


27 June 2012

Getting Ready for the MRHA

The Milwaukee Road Historical Association begins its annual convention in Moscow tomorrow, and on Friday the 200 attendees will be dropping by the depot for a look around. In preparation, Dan Crandall, Director of the Latah County Historical Society, set up an exhibit on the student trains that once shuttled students between northern and southern Idaho.  Also, volunteer crews have been working non-stop on the platform, as well as continuing to remove lath and plaster from the upstairs.  Kenny and Dave Cada had excellent help from the community service kids last Saturday, while Jim West, Bob Behal, Brian Magelky, Aaron Magelky and Bill Warner worked on the platform.  Thanks for all who show up to do this serious labor!

19 June 2012

Energizer Bunny Still Going Strong

Bob Behal has to be the Energizer Bunny in disguise!  He just keeps going and going.  Once again, he was down at the depot today, working away non-stop on the platform.  We can probably thank the University of Idaho for some of our good fortune, because Bob says he can't carry his UI vacation time over, he has to use it up.  So he chooses to donate his time to getting that platform done. Bob found us only recently, saying he thought our project was "neat" and that he figured he should get involved.  His past volunteer work includes years of working for Habitat for Humanity in San Antonio and more recently on the Palouse.

Among other news, Dan Crandall of the Latah County Historical Society plans on being out in Potlatch tomorrow to set up an agriculture exhibit at the bank, and a new train exhibit at the depot.  We appreciate Dan's enthusiasm for the depot project, and his yearly contribution of a new exhibit for us.  This will definitely help us get ready for the Milwaukee Road Historical Association visit coming up next week.

Not to let any grass grow underfoot, Kenny Cada, Jim West and Karen Rohn are still planning a July 14 "Evening at the Depot" event, featuring three bands, a silent auction, homemade desserts and fun.  When we heard that Winco overbought Yellowtail Sauvignon Blanc, and was clearing it out at $1.68 per bottle, Kenny arranged to get a case for our evening event. Such a deal.  The July 14 evening replaces the speeders and will be considered our major fundraiser, so spread the word!  Admission will be $10, and already donations are coming in for the silent auction.

16 June 2012

Making Concrete Progress

Concrete was poured last Wednesday and by Friday, the ramp was welcoming visitors to the Company Store.  Don and Barb harvested the first two strawberries of the season out of the planters on the same day, while Kenny Cada added two dozen lavender plants to the dock landscaping on Saturday. The loading dock is definitely looking good!  Although we got word that the speeder event has fallen through for this year due to some unanticipated maintenance issues with the railroad, the depot will be inviting for any event we might schedule for July 14.  Stay tuned on that score! By the way, thanks to Caryn Brown and Kenny for ably handling the tasks of refunds for the advance ticket sales.  It's been tricky having to cancel the speeders, knowing how much everyone enjoys them.

Photos show the amount of progress at the depot in just a few days, much of it due to Bob Behal who seems to show up daily to keep things moving along.  His reward for his dedication on Saturday was a ride to Palouse in the locomotive with Joel King.  Bob was grinning ear to ear when he returned, noting that he'd been at the throttle for a while and had also gotten to sound the whistle.  An appropriate reward for his hard work.  Bob was joined for some of the day's work by Bill Warner, who has also been showing up on a regular basis.  Thanks guys...and thanks to Don Somers for working a double shift at the Company Store this weekend while Karen Rohn showed her art at Moscow's Artwalk Friday.

08 June 2012

Lots Happening at Depot Today

 Doug Wasankari and crew were back in town today, making plenty of progress, along with our HPG stalwart Bob Behal, who was right in there helping on things. Bob has recently also been working on the caboose.  Bob, thanks for all you have done for the HPG lately!

 Meanwhile, Karen Rohn was back in the Company Store,
keeping weekend hours. 
The store is open Fridays and Saturdays, 11 am to 3 pm,
with Don Somers working the Saturday shift.  Thanks, both of you, for keeping up the store!

07 June 2012

He's Back...

Doug Wasankari and his crew came back to the depot today to get started on the footings for the new platform on the east side of the building. Of course Doug and the boys are not newbies when it comes to working on the depot, as they were the main event when restoration began in earnest in 2007.  This blog has pictures of those earlier days.  Doug said his actual interest and involvement with the depot began even before the building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places, way back in the 1970s, when he bid on some work. He always seems to be pleased to be back in town, and we value his expertise. This time around, he pointed out that the going was anything but easy as he excavated for the footings.  Seems he ran into some large chunks of concrete. Doug and the boys will be back tomorrow, so stay tuned!

06 June 2012

A Message from the Boss

Hello there fellow HPG-ers and Depot Volunteers!

The materials for the east depot platform have been ordered and all the lumber should arrive in Potlatch on Friday. This is being paid for with money granted by US Bank to the HPG over the past three years for this specific purpose.

Doug Wasankari and crew will be onsite tomorrow to begin work on the platform post foundations. Former Habitat for Humanity leader, HPG member, and X5 Caboose project chair, Bob Behal, will be onsite to help Doug do layout, and to observe the work.

Atlas Sand & Rock will donate half the concrete for extending the west platform south 10' and north 20' to the street. We also need a sidewalk and stair case pads. We would appreciate the help building the forms this weekend, and pouring and finishing the concrete next week.

When we finish with the platform and concrete work, we'll have an Elite pressure treated wood platform in Merlot stain, picture-frame trimmed with Driftwood stain (Hey! I didn't name the colors!!) that will extend out from the depot 9' on the north and east sides, with a diagonal staircase on the NE corner and a square staircase on the SE corner. The platform will extend only 4 1/2 feet on the south end, with a 4 1/2 foot wide sidewalk from the house track to the west platform.

And this is only the beginning of many substantial improvements that can be accomplished in the near future with your help.

On Saturday, we will have several community service youths from Moscow available to perform labor for us, as needed. Besides their supervisors, we will need one of us to help direct their work parties and keep them on task. In addition to moving materials for building the platform, or for working on the X5, we need the salvaged depot wood moved from the annex into the lean-to. Bob has built some storage racks for storing this old wood. I've also asked the City for use of their semi-trailer van for lath storage--more toting.
While the kids tote, we will need someone to direct their sorting of the old wood so it is stacked well and unsalvageable wood is tossed onto the STMA log car for disposal. No matter your skill level, there is something you can accomplish that will assist our tasks and further our mission. And you might have fun,too!
Last weekend, Kenny and Caryn were working in the second floor, with Bill Warner and Jon Anderson assisting. Bob Behal and I were outside figuring workplans for the platform and the X5, when Joel King stopped his locomotive at the platform and offered cab rides to Kennedy Ford. Kenny, Bob,and Bill clamored into the cab, took turns at the throttle, and returned a half an hour later all smiles.
It's not all work at the depot. A course, you ain't gonna know unless you show! Even if you put in an hour, it makes a difference. Thanks for reading this. See you Saturday? I look forward to it!

04 June 2012

Volunteers Make Steady Progress

It's as if some stealth workers have invaded the depot and done amazing things while no one is looking! A stroll through the depot today showed just how much work has been accomplished over the past two weeks.  As I escorted Ryon Ownbey around the upstairs, we could only marvel at the sheer brute force needed to deal with the massive amounts of lath and plaster needing to be removed.  This work isn't for sissies!  Ryon, who is relocating to Potlatch and staying with his grandmother, Phyllis Rohn Ownbey, will be working on a documentary about Potlatch.  Seeing the depot gave him a feel for the determination and pride in local history that still exist in town, and also acquainted him with the historic depot in which his other grandmother once worked. As we toured City Hall, Ryon also met Dave Cada, who is presumed to be one of the stealth workers, along with his wife Kenny.  In the future, don't be surprised if you see Ryon poking around the depot, asking people their ties to the building, and perhaps filming them in action. 

For the next few weeks, the work continues on removing the lath and plaster (and you can see how much there is in just one room!) and project boss Jim West promises volunteers can burn a lot of calories if they show up this Saturday.  Doug Wasankari was also around last Saturday to talk about starting the concrete work in preparation for building the new platform.  As if that isn't enough activity, crews are also busy working on the caboose!  Hats off to our wonderful volunteers who will be cited by name when and if we can catch them in action!!!

By the way, don't forget that advance tickets for the speeder event went on sale today at US Bank and Potlatch City Hall!  The annual speeder event will be July 14!!!!