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WILLIAMSVILLE - 2017 UPDATES




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Williamsville Depot 2017

ALONG THE LEHIGH TRAIL - 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 at the Williamsville Lehigh Valley Depot, WNYRHS members were particularly busy. Our annual mid-May flea market (now called a "Garage Sale") and Book Sale has been accompanied for the past two years by a very successful Plant Sale. And the plant sale again this year was a major success. For the first time, we added a "Krolick's Chicken BBQ" dinner sale. We started small and sold out! But we had plenty of hotdogs and chips for those who came too late. This year, we continued the "Garage Sale" into Sunday, based on the beneficial but unintended consequences of our experience last year, and found that also to be a worthwhile move.


June 2017
by Hal Douglass

On June 24th, we hosted a pet fair sponsored by the "Ten Lives Club." There were several cat and dog rescue groups, services, and appropriate vendors on the Williamsville Depot grounds. We took this opportunity to sell hotdogs, chips, water and soda, and once again offered "Krolick's Chicken BBQ" dinners, and again, we sold out! Two days prior to the pet fair, we had a display table in the village at the "Ten Thousand Villages" emporium. There, we handed out information on the activities at the Depot including the pet expo.


Final preparations are being made for our big "Touch-a-Truck" event being held on July 8th, from 10am to 3pm. Admission is just $7 per person and includes a hotdog, chips, drink & ice cream. Come get up close to big and little trucks from every type of business.

As it has been in the past, we are holding our annual "Cruise Night" on the evening of July 24th, from 4 PM until dusk. The event usually features twenty or more antique cars and trucks, many of which were built before World War 2. It has always been a real success.

As I write this, we are anxiously awaiting the arrival of our box car, to be delivered by Winter's Rigging and placed on the already prepared track. To make space, we had to move the caboose a few feet. Both cars will have electrical connections (as the caboose does now) and will be covered by more security cameras. We must clean the caboose and get it ready to receive construction tools, supplies and restoration items for storage which are currently stored in the freight room and in the relatively inaccessible attic over the passenger waiting room.

Space in the freight room is needed for the Homewood Theater production of "The Homewood Theater Goes on Vacation," which will run at the depot for four successive nights at 7:30pm, August 17-20. Tickets are $8 for adults, $6 for seniors and $4 for small children. Marty Bauer tells us that the size of the cast has been increased for this production. In past years, the Homewood Theater has played on Fridays and Saturdays on two weekends in August, but conflicts with other activities in the Village have prevented that. Thus, they will try a single four-day run.

July 2017
by Hal Douglass
"Touch-a-Truck" Comes to the Williamsville Depot

On Saturday July 8th, the 2nd Annual "Touch-a-Truck" event was held under beautiful sunny skies at the Williamsville Lehigh Valley Depot. Over 800 young and old were able to view over 30 vehicles of all shapes and sizes and even a helicopter. The kids couldn't wait to get behind the wheel of the big trucks and honk their horns or sirens.

Thanks to Tony's Tree And Landscaping Inc for thier donation of the banners and for bringing all their equipment to the depot. Thanks to Sahlen's Hot Dogs for the donation of the hotdogs and providing the grills. Thanks also to Di Camillo Baking Co., Inc. for the baked goods and a great bigs thanks to all the depot volunteers who staffed the event.

"Touch-a-Truck" would have not been as successful as it was without the generosity of all the local businesses and organizations that donated their equipment and staff to the event. Below in no particular order are some of the vehicles that everyone was able to enjoy. Thank You for all your support!


On the morning of July 11th, our Lehigh Valley caboose at the Williamsville Lehigh Valley Depot gained a new friend. Winters Rigging delivered the recently purchased boxcar to the depot. The car has an interesting history as it was originally built for the New Haven Railroad and later acquired by the Arcade & Attica Railroad for use in the Borden's milk service. They were sold off in 1974 or so and used for storage. We are still researching the original numbers and making a decision as to how to restore the car. Stop by the Williamsville Depot on any Sunday from 1pm-4pm to see the new acquisition. To make space, we had to move the caboose a few feet. Both cars will have electrical connections (as the caboose does now) and will be covered by more security cameras. We must clean the caboose and get it ready to receive construction tools, supplies and restoration items for storage, currently in the freight room or in the relatively inaccessible attic over the passenger waiting room.


The space in the freight room is needed for the Homewood Theater production of "The Homewood Theater Goes on Vacation," which will run at the depot for four successive nights at 7:30, August 17-20. Tickets are $8 for adults, $6 for seniors and $4 for small children. Marty Bauer tells us that the size of the cast has been increased for this production. In past years, the Homewood Theater has played on Fridays and Saturdays on two weekends in August, but conflicts with other activities in the Village have prevented that. Thus, they will try a single four-day run.

Sundays in August will feature music at the depot. Shortly after Labor Day, "The British Invasion" will reprise last year's music session. We plan to close out the summer season with a hay ride on September 23rd and 24th. In between these scheduled events, we will be working on the boxcar, fixing up the interior and painting it outside. We hope to have primer and a first coat of paint applied before the snow flies.

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: July 14th, 2017

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