Progress as told by Bob Rees
Getting Officially Organized
During the winter months of 2003, Oregon Depot Museum Inc. was formed as a corporate foundation to assume the responsibility of funding the Oregon depot restoration and perpetuate the depot as a museum. The corporation then applied for and received a 501c tax-exempt status from the Internal Revenue Service. This fall the City of Oregon gave the Oregon Depot Museum Inc. a 99-year lease on the Oregon CB&Q; Railroad Depot. The board of directors for the foundation is made up of business people from the City of Oregon and the board will now undertake the funding effort necessary for the completion of the restoration. Our legal services have been provided by donation from board member Eric Morrow of Smith, Hanson, Harn, Morrow & Floski Attorneys at Law. Banking services for the foundation are being provided by Stillman Banc Corp, who will also help administer our endowment fund when the time is appropriate.
Retired railroader and railroad artist Jack Carson painted a water color painting (shown above) of the Oregon depot, and has donated it to the foundation. We have 16″ x 24″ prints of the painting available for a $30 donation which includes shipping and handling. It can be ordered from Oregon Depot Museum Inc, PO Box 311, Oregon, IL 61061.
Continuing the repairs
As spring arrived we hired Brian Hermes owner of B&R; Plaster to repair all of the water damaged exterior stucco. He restored the surface using the same materials and technique used with the original construction. This has vastly improved the appearance of the exterior of the Oregon depot.
Brian was again hired to repair the interior plaster that had been damaged by the leaking roof and he did an excellent job of restoration. The ticket office floor must be replaced and the ticket window reinstalled, then Brian will return to complete all of the plaster restoration.
Board member and volunteer Mervel Wood had taken the ticket counter, cabinet and the original desk to his home woodworking shop and restored them using as much of the original wood as possible. They had been severely damaged by water from the leaking roof. The ticket counter itself was completely destroyed and Mervel duplicated the counter out of oak with all of the ornate detail.
In addition to his considerable time spent this summer scraping and painting, volunteer Dennis Kern scrubbed the terrazzo floor with a powered buffing machine, successfully removing several more layers of grime. It is now possible to see the intricate designs in the waiting room floor.
This fall, we again enjoyed the return of the Oregon alumni for a week of work, and they continued the effort to remove the paint from the beautiful oak woodwork in the depot. This has been a hard, dirty effort and most of it has now been completed. As they did last year, the City sponsored a dinner for the alums as a reward for their labors. There were six couples who traveled from several parts of the country. This gathering is becoming an annual event, and provides the participants with the pleasures of working on the depot, renewing friendships, and socializing.
Making use of our depot
The city of Oregon has donated a rack of folding chairs and some tables from their surplus inventory and we now have them available for functions at the Oregon depot. The first such function this summer was a monthly meeting of the North Western Illinois Chapter of the National Railroad Historical Society. There were about 50 members in attendance and there was some train watching, a picnic and a slide program that went well into the night. The depot is now open for all City festivities, and next spring the depot will be open for the Burlington Route Historical Society spring meet to be held at the Oregon Coliseum.
During the Autumn On Parade Festival at Oregon we had the depot open for visitors and we had a pleasant surprise when six CB&Q; employees used the opportunity to get together at the depot and renew old friendships. The group will be returning for the Burlington Route Historical Society spring meet April of 2004, and will have a round table discussion about their experiences working for the Q.
Decorating for the holidays
The depot again had a beautiful Christmas tree decorated in the waiting room throughout the holiday season. Sinnissippi Tree Farms has donated a tree for each of the past three years. This is a tradition that we hope will continue into the years ahead.
Wishing ALL of our supporters a happiest of New Years!