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HDC News 2017

News Updates - 2017

January 2017
By Ron Dukarm

ARCHIVE COLLECTIONS - We continue to expand our archive collections and library. We now have over 6,000 square feet devoted to storing all the artifacts, books and photographs in our collection. Last month we were offered 4 skids of several thousand railroad movies from the Federal Railroad Administration in Pueblo, Colorado. These are from the 1970's and 1980's and will soon be arriving at the museum. We also received 4 boxes of hundreds of blue prints of PRR rail cars. The Erie Lackawanna Historical Society is more than doubling their space as their archive collection is expanding now that they have a permanent home at HDC. Soon they plan to staff their site so their collection will be accessible to the public. The Buffalo Irish Genealogy Society has over 30,000 RR employees entered into our data bases and is ready to add another 20,000. We have erected more shelving in the library and now have maxed out our space. We have had to take half the space from our confer-ence room to house new collections. We have received several grants for the library and are being considered for a major grant to allow interns to assist in archival activities.

BUILD IT - AND THEY WILL COME - This old adage is very true. In the past month we have been offered 5 historic rail cars - a burro crane, three flat cars and a PRR coal hopper. Archive collections constantly come in the doors. The Steel Plant Museum, the Erie Lackawanna Historical Society, the Buffalo Irish Genealogy Society and the Nickel Plate Society are all experiencing the same effect. All groups have asked for more space. In the case of rail cars, our ability to accept cars is limited more by funding than by space. Moving a car can run from $5,000 to $10,000. If you are interested in helping us save some of these historic cars and can fund these moves, please contact us.

CAMPUS ACTIVITIES - This past year we logged 6,441 hours of volunteer time devoted to the Heritage Discovery Center. This must be considered in light of the thousands of hours devoted to our other four sites at Williamsville Depot, Orchard Park Depot, our rail car excursions at the Medina Railroad Museum and our locomotive restoration activities in Hamburg, not to mention our two Train Shows. Many hours are devoted to maintaining our nine buildings, nearly 50,000 square feet of space and 20 acres of land at HDC. All this is done by volunteers. Now we are planning to install a new HVAC system in the Don Owens Center and are planning a major private sector investment in 10 acres of our property. The ELHS is planning a major investment in the Hospital Building. The new year looks to be a very busy one with major projects on the horizon.


February 2017
By Ron Dukarm

COMMUNITY OUTREACH - The Heritage Discovery Center continues to host local community events and has become the meeting place for all of our affiliate partners.
  • WNYRHS BOARD MEETING - 2/2/17 - The WNYRHS Board of Trustees held their monthly planning meeting and held their election of officers.
  • YACHT MEETING - 2/16/17 - HDC hosted the quarterly meeting of the China Light Yacht Club.
  • ELHS MEETING - 2/16/17 - The Erie Lackawanna Historical Society Archive Committee held their first organizing meeting.
  • OSC MEETING - 2/16/17 - Joe and Don met with Ontario Specialty Contracting concerning a potential land lease and sale.
DONATIONS - We have received the following donations of artifacts and supplies. Our sincere thanks to all our loyal supporters:
  • Federal Railroad Administration - donated thousands of railroad films from the Federal Railroad Administration test site in Pueblo, Colorado and will be a valuable addition to our archives. On 2/14/17, our Director of Collections, Stephen Kocsis helped unload the donation to the Society's library. The four pallets of movie film were delivered to the museum and unloaded to be placed in the Archive Storage Building. We also want to thank ABF Freight for the donation of the transportation of the nearly 4,000 pounds of movie film from Colorado to Buffalo.


  • Emil Walerko - donated 5 Walthers catalogs from various years, Howell Day "Red Ball" Cataloge, "The Brass Train Guide Book" by Dan Glasure, A 12 Volume set of - "The Next Station Will Be," "Horse Drawn Commercial Vehicles" by Dan Berkebile, "Railroad Currency" by John Muscalus, "Locomotive Quarterly" Vol II Number 1, "Erie Railroad, Rochester Division" by William Reed Gordon, "King Coal" by Stan Cohen, autographed by Stan, "Railroad Days" by Louis C. Langone and a reproduction of "The Erie Railways and its Branches" by Henry F. Walling. Thank You Emil!

WORK ACCOMPLISHED
  • HOUSEKEEPING - 2/16/17 - Barb and Tony did surface cleaning. Barb delivered items for the Train Show. Barb also had keys made up for the ELHS Archive Committee.

  • ARCHIVE BUILDING - 2/14/17 - Ron and Nestor picked up propane for our forklift. Marty got the forklift started. Steve operated forklift and took 4 pallets of Railroad films off the ABF tractor trailer. Nestor, Tony, Marty and Steve placed films in Archive Building.

  • LIBRARY - 2/14/17 - Pat, John and Bob worked on library projects.
    2/4/16 - Ed worked on Erie RR personnel records. Barb O. and Bob C. started painting Don's office.


  • March 2017
    By Joe Kocsis

             This year is shaping up to be very busy with several long-awaited projects planned to bring to completion over the summer. Late last year we received a RFP from a very respected local developer and we are in the process of finalizing the agreements with them. We hope to be able to formally announce our participation in this joint venture later this month. There is a tremendous amount of development occurring within a short distance of our museum site and now we will be able to become part of the renaissance of this neighborhood. The project on our parcel along the Buffalo River will include a restaurant and up to 150,000 square feet of new warehousing and light manufacturing buildings. Once the agreements are finalized, we will be able to make a formal announcement. The deal is expected to provide the Society and museum with a continuing revenue stream over the next 20 years. Our project, along with the other neighborhood development initiatives, will certainly bring added attention to the Heritage Discovery Center.

    Additional projects planned for this year are to move our donated 90-ton crane to the site within the next month or so and use it to place the five cars now at the HDC onto the display track. We will need to build an additional 40 feet of track to accommodate our two boxcars, tank car, and two cabooses. In addition, the HVAC work on the Don Owens Center will be completed by May 1st as well, finally solving our persistent roof leaks through the rusted-out 34 year old rooftop unit. We will also be working to correct our parking lot drainage issues once the backhoe is returned from repairs. As a result of the development deal, we will be losing some valuable storage space for the Society, however we are currently getting quotes on a building to be built behind the museum to replace this lost storage and plan to begin construction later this summer.

    COMMUNITY OUTREACH - The Heritage Discovery Center continues to host local community events and has become the meeting place for all of our affiliate partners.
    • STEEL PLANT MUSEUM - 1st WEDNESDAY EVENT - 3/1/17 - Bill Donohue, a local author, spoke about Buffalo and the Civil War. Mr. Donohue imagined the lives of his great grandfather and great uncle, veterans of the Civil War.
    • WNYRHS BOARD MEETING - 3/2/17 - The WNYRHS Board of Trustees held their monthly planning meeting and held their election of officers.
    • WNYRHS PUBLIC MEETING - 3/16/17 - The WNYRHS held their March Public Meeting. Society member, Geno Dailey, gave a well received program covering a personal record-breaking 11 train Amtrak trip he completed in September 2016. The trip covered rides on the The Lake Shore Limited (3x), City Of New Orleans, Crescent (2x), Piedmont, Carolinian, North-east Regional, Pennsylvanian, and Capitol Limited!

    Contact Us: Orchard Park - 716-662-7002       Williamsville - 716-633-7002
    WNYHDC Inc., 100 Lee Street, Buffalo, New York  14210 - 716-821-9360
    All Donations to the Heritage Discovery Center are Tax-Deductable!

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