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Williamsville Depot 2017

by Hal Douglass

January - February 2017

         Its hard to believe that winter is nearly over and spring is close by. A few early robins have been sighted in the area, but the juncos have not yet departed for Northern Canada, suggesting that "Old Man Winter" has still a few more events planned.

While we all know what a young man's thoughts turn to in spring, a preservationist's thoughts turn to "where are we going to get the funds for the projects we have planned for this year?" It's an ambitious list: repair of the roof and dormer windows on the windward side of the passenger waiting and freight rooms; purchase of and moving a 40-foot boxcar to the site to provide storage and eventually a workroom allowing the clearing of the freight room for restoration and activities; and replacing the now condemned wood stove and relining the chimney to provide a semblance of warmth in the building in the spring and fall.

         Yes, that is the same 40-foot Arcade & Attica boxcar mentioned in the last FLYER. It is still available, at the same cost and terms. Apparently, there is no great demand for 40-foot boxcars. But that is the size of boxcar that would have been placed on the siding in Williamsville when the depot was active. It is also about as large as we can fit in the currently available space.

Our schedule of events is equally ambitious. Of course, all members of the Western New York Railway Historical Society (and their friends, relatives and casual acquaintances) are cordially invited to participate.

For the Williamsville Depot, the fund-raising season began with our highly successful participation at the Train Show. March is quiet, but on April Fool's Day (April 1st), we have planned a spaghetti dinner from 5:00pm to 7:30pm at the Cleveland Hill Christian Church on Union Road at which time the Homewood Theater Production Group will offer an excerpt from this coming summer's presentation of "The Railroad Comes to Williamsville." Nine dollars gets one plate of spaghetti, meatballs, salad and a non-alcoholic beverage (beer and wine are $3 extra), along with the brief Homewood Theater performance. Later in April, the Homewood Players will present the production at the depot, April 21st, 22nd, 28th and 29th.

         For May (May 20th and 21st), there will be a two day "Garage Sale," plant and book sale, with a chicken barbeque Saturday the 20th. In June, we will be in "10,000 Villages" on Main Street in Williamsville. But the big event of the summer will be a repeat of the amazingly successful "TOUCH A TRUCK" on July 8th. Last year, this event brought in three times more people to the depot than we had ever expected.

         The tentative date for our annual "Cruise Night" will be the evening of July 24th. Homewood Theater will reprise with their performances of "The Railroad Comes to Williamsville" on August 11th, 12th, 18th and 19th, this time to be performed (weather permitting) on the loading dock we constructed last year.

         For the fall, events that are planned will be a "British Invasion" concert, a hayride and our annual "Friends of the Depot" (donors) Appreciation Night. We will finish the year with our Holiday Party for our workers, supporters and volunteers.

         As always, we welcome eager worker volunteers, particularly from Buffalo and the northern and eastern suburbs. Talk to Tom Stackhouse at a Society meeting. Or come join us at the Williamsville Depot every Sunday from 1:00pm - 4:00pm. Our steering committee meets usually at 4:00pm on the first Tuesday of the month, and beginning in April, our meetings will be at the depot. Come see what we have done so far in this restoration project, and join us as the project continues. The depot is located at the entrance to the Lehigh Trail off South Long Street in the Village of Williamsville. South Long Street at the first southward turn off of Main Street (Route 5) just east of the traffic light at North/South Forrest Street. You will see why the depot is one of the Village's hidden secrets.

The Depot Committee organized and staffed a Basket Raffle at the Winter Train Show to raise funds for the continued restoration efforts at the Williamsville Depot. There were well over 50 different prizes to take a chance on to win. It was reported that the basket raffle raised over $1,400 during the two days of the show. Thanks to all the members of the committee for all their efforts and hard work in making the basket raffle such a great success.

March - April 2017
by Hal Douglass

         Purchase of the boxcar was approved by the Western New York Railway Historical Society and the car is expected to arrive at the Williamsville Depot in within the next 2-3 months. The site is ready, the track is in place and the boxcar should be here before our "Touch a Truck" event in early July.

Now that we will have a caboose and boxcar, what we need is a small diesel locomotive to complete this exhibit of a short local train. Of course, the locomotive will, of necessity, be one compatible with Lehigh Valley equipment, so that it will resemble something that might have passed the Williamsville Depot or have switched the small yard that was behind the station.

Members of the Depot Steering Committee will first check with the WNYRHS Trustees to see if any of the equipment owned by the Society might fit the bill before searching far and wide to assess what might be available elsewhere. Of course, since our diesel will only be a cosmetic restoration, no engine with potential for full restoration to active service will be considered. Politically, both the Village of Williamsville Mayor and the Town of Amherst Supervisor have strongly "suggested" that an engine should be a priority.

A pending "land swap" between the Village and a private developer could bring the old Lehigh Valley section house and crew quarters on to public land, raising the possibility that this structure might become part of the Depot Historic Site. After initial preparation by the Village, a joint collaboration between the Village and the Depot Steering Committee might bring the Section House to a level where it might be used by both for various events without being a fiscal drain on the Society.

Fund-raising event are progressing nicely. Patrons at a very successful Spaghetti Dinner were treated to a brief presentation by Marty Bauer's Homewood Theater featuring a couple of scenes from their production of "The Railroad Comes to Williamsville", which allowed for the sale
of a few advance tickets. The weekends of April 22nd & 23rd and again on the 29th & 30th, featured four presentations of the show in the Williamsville Depot, which were well attended. Attendance has been up since the Homewood Theater Players moved from the old Williamsville Meeting House to the Depot. The Spaghetti Dinner also featured a Chinese Auction with a great assortment of baskets to bid on. All proceeds from the auction will be used for further restoration of the Depot.

On Saturday and Sunday, May 20th and 21st, we are holding a combined "Garage Sale, used Book Sale and Plant Sale."   This is an update of the "Flea Market and Book Sale" that we have held in the past, extended too two days after we accidentally found last year as we were trying to clean up on Sunday, that a considerable number of sales could be made on the second day. This year on Saturday, in addition to the usual Hot Dogs and soda, we will have a number of Krolick's BBQ chicken dinners to sell for take-out or consumption under the tent.

Activities for the early summer include a public relations event at "10,000 Villages" on Main Street in the Village on Thursday, June 15th. The following weekend, Saturday June 24th, will feature  "PET EXPO" at the Williamsville Lehigh Valley Depot with rescue groups, law enforcement K-9 dogs, groomers, trainers and others. But the big event of the summer will be a repeat of  "TOUCH-A-TRUCK" on Saturday, July 8th. Your $7.00 admission fee includes a Hot Dog, Chips, Drink and Ice cream! Kids of all ages can explore Fire Trucks, Police Cars, Military Vehicles, Construction Vehicles and Cranes.This time, we will be ready for the huge turnout
of patrons that caught us off guard last year. Two weeks later we will bring back our popular "Cruise Night" at the Williamsville Lehigh Valley Depot on Monday, July24th. All members of the WNYRHS and their families and friends are cordially invited to all of the events at the Williamsville Depot. We look forward to seeing you this summer.

May 2017
by Hal Douglass

         On Saturday May 20th vendors were at the Depot before 8:00am to set up their tables and displays. Although we had cool start by the afternoon the sky's had cleared and we had a high of 65'. We had crafts, plants, books, household items and even some furniture. Visitors to the Depot enjoyed "Krolick's Chicken BBQ" from 11:00am - 2:00pm on our new loading dock deck. We thank everyone who came to this event to help make it another big success!

The Williamsville Depot Committee is looking for people interested in the following: Construction & Maintenance, event planning, tour guides, marketing, data base management and finance/budget knowledge. We would welcome any and all help you may have to offer.

Call the Depot at 716-633-7002 or   eMail Marty V.   Thank You!

This page was last updated: March 23rd, 2017

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