Looking back at 2018 was quite an eye-opener. We accomplished a great deal during that time. In particular, we saw great progress on our restoration process with the inclusion of a grant from the Land & Community Heritage Investment Program (LCHIP) organization which, coupled with a matching grant from the State of New Hampshire, allowed us to contract with Gordon T Burke and Sons to continue the restoration work on the sides of stalls one, two, and four, and the backs of stalls three and four. The grant money came in later than expected, but Burke was able to redo the side of stall one, retaining much of the existing siding while repairing sills along the rear area where the extension had been done. Much of the wood at the bottom was rotted and replaced. They also replaced the old plywood in the windows and repaired damage to the sills to allow installation of plywood sheets held in by molding to secure the structure from the weather. Our driveway, which had been in the works for a few years, was put in and a gate onto Route 302 installed and protected by a locked chain. Work was not quite done on the side of stall four when the weather precluded doing anything until spring (I am told by Brian Lombard, who, while retired from the NH DOT, is still working with us to get this part of the project completed). The cost of materials went up from the time we requested the grants until the work started, so we are going to have to reduce the amount of work done, concentrating the remainder of our current efforts on securing the rear side of stall two. The plywood in place on the backs of stalls three and four is is good enough shape to hold until we can move on to developing and reconstructing the machine shop against that wall.
We developed a plan for the entire complex, breaking the restoration down into smaller projects to allow us to bring the complete building back and to effect the transition of some initial displays to be in keeping with our plan to create a functioning museum on the site. This will include adding electrical service to the building (could possibly go under the Mountain Division tracks rather than overhead), to either add water and toilets to the facility or put in State Park style outdoor toilets in keeping with the typical State of New Hampshire state facility toilets. We also will look at having a complete historical archaeological survey done of the property to allow us to put in a walking trail with signage that will allow visitors to take short walks to sites on the property where various facilities once stood.
On the building itself, we need to complete the restoration of the side of stall two (we have received an additional $2000 grant from the Mass Bay RRE group to help with this), to do a building plan with an architect to allow reconstruction of the machine shop and office structures, keeping them consistent with the structures that were originally there, and to repair the front main doors, one of which needs a new bottom stile (the bottom part of the door…a tenon which went between it and the vertical rail of the door is sheared off and needs to be replaced). We need to add tracks back into stall one to allow movement of our display railroad equipment to be moved inside for restoration and to keep further deterioration from happening. There are windows at the tops of the front doors which need to be replaced to allow light into the building. And, we need to develop a parking plan for visitors around the front of the structure with handicap access included.
In conclusion, I want to express my sincere thanks to all of the Board members, society members, and support organizations for their interest and participation in the process of bringing this wonderful structure back to life. I have had a great few years as your chief but feel that I have reached the age in my life where I want to move the process of my retiring from public service forward. I feel that younger minds and hearts need to have the chance to step up and provide the energy and passion necessary to keep the ball rolling, and so I step down.
As your outgoing President, I know we could not have achieved this without all of you being involved. Special thanks go out to Jill Edelman of the NH DOT. Brian Lombard, now retired from the NH DOT, our liaison with the construction companies, and George Born of LCHIP for their support and assistance in making this all happen. It is my intention to not only step down as President at this time but to also withdraw from active participation in the E Board to allow the new Vice President, if he is not a Board Member currently, to become one. I plan to continue with the Society as an advisor and as the Grant Writer so that we can assure access to future funding to achieve our goals.