Station project on track
Volunteers key to renovation efforts
Station photos http://www.bucyrustelegraphforum.com/ne ... 21222.html
BUCYRUS -- "For, indeed, the greatest glory of a building is not in its stones, or in its gold. Its glory is in its Age."
Victorian writer John Ruskin's "The Seven Lamps of Architecture" thus describes how a building embodies the memory of past ages of humanity.
It was in this spirit that the members of the Bucyrus Preservation Society and the Bucyrus Station Association took to the project of restoring Bucyrus' own Toledo and Ohio Central Passenger Rail Depot when they formed in April 2001.
"It's probably one of the best (examples of Victorian-style stations) in the country," said Jim Croneis of the historic landmark located at 700 E. Rensselaer St., which during the past year has seen its shell transformed from derelict to reminiscent of its former glory, and is well on its way to becoming the transportation and industrial museum its restorers envision.
"It's a building that reflects the strength of the people of Bucyrus," added Croneis, secretary of the preservation society, launching into a descriptive history of how the station and the important railway it compliments came to be through the efforts of the Bucyrus people.
The station, built in 1892, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Photos, perhaps, best narrate the latest chapter of the restoration efforts: At the start of 2005, the building, which had been used by Hord's plumbing company for decades, had fallen into neglect. The bricks and stone were blackened by years of train soot, most of the original windows had been broken or removed and boarded over, and inside walls had been torn down, woodwork removed and the fireplaces dismantled.
By December, the cooperative efforts of architects and local craftsmen and the generous contributions of donors had provided for the major steps in structural restoration and the recovery of the outer shell's former regalia, complete with solid copper ridge cap, louvered shutters, copper-lined wooden box-gutter system and 25 stained-glass windows.
The windows, created locally by Bill Snyder, have since all sold for recognition, 24 at $2,500 apiece and the 8-foot ticket booth window at $7,500.
"A lot of people have opened up their pocketbooks and given freely," said Dave Pirnstill, president of the preservation society.
To date, the society has received private donations from at least 35 community members and organizations, and more than 37 individuals or businesses have given in-kind donations ranging from labor to office equipment and computers to construction equipment and supplies. The society has also received grants from the Gannett and Bucyrus Area Community foundations and the Community Development Block and Cynthia Woods Mitchell grants.
"If we hadn't had the volunteers ... it probably would have cost about three times as much as we already invested in it," said Pirnstill. Roughly $175,000 had been raised for the project, he estimated.
A smaller building from Plymouth Street, believed by some to be a train station itself, was relocated to the station's lot and has been converted to a gift shop and office building for the Bucyrus Preservation Society. Recycled building materials used in the project include the tile floor and doors from the Crawford County Courthouse renovation, wainscoting from the remodeling of an East Warren Street home and stone from the former Crawford County Jail. Over 25 individuals, businesses and organizations contributed material, labor and/or equipment to this project.
The preservation society and the Bucyrus Area Community Foundation, through a matching grant, have also established a $20,000 endowment fund for ongoing operating expenses of the station and museum.
Pirnstill said future plans for the next five to 10 years include the reconstruction of the former division manager's office, which will be used as a community activity center, and a new platform and an outdoor play and picnic area.
Pirnstill said there was some speculation about whether the Bucyrus station would ever be made a stopping place for passenger trains again. "We'll be ready for it if they do," he said.
The restoration of the main station will continue into 2005, with the focus turning to aggressive work on inner structures, such as the station's twin hearths and the installation of wood paneling that is currently being built in the local basements of volunteer carpenters.
Croneis said that he would like to begin showing some railroad films from a collection that includes 20 of Thomas Edison's original 2-minute films, something that may one day be shown in a theater area that will be part of the museum.
"This will be a place where you'll get an education," Pirnstill said.
Coppersmith Steve Schifer, who crafted the 8-foot copper finial to top the station's turret, said the structure will be placed in the spring.
"I've enjoyed it," said Schifer, who has spent countless volunteer hours working on the building.
He said he was asked to join the restoration efforts by Rob Neff Jr., Bucyrus City law director and vice president of the preservation society, but had already heard about it from Ben Anslow.
Croneis said Anslow, who passed away Tuesday but left behind a watercolor print of the station that has been incorporated into the BPS logo, was the "one-man preservation society" pushing to get the T&OC restoration project off the ground about seven years ago. "It was through his efforts that this was begun."
The Bucyrus Preservation Society is in need of monetary donations as well as skilled and unskilled volunteers, said President Dave Pirnstill. For more information, contact Jim Croneis at 419-562-9855, or send contributions to:
The Bucyrus Preservation Society
700 E. Rensselaer St.
P.O. Box 144
Bucyrus, Ohio 44820
Timeline of key steps in the restoration of the T&OC Station:
The Bucyrus Preservation Society and Bucyrus Station Association are formed in April; the BPS takes ownership of the property and grounds of the Depot.
The society's Web site, http://www.bucyrus-preservation.org, is developed with the help of the Media Class at Bucyrus High School.
Volunteers clean 100 years of filth from the basement, clean the station and establish a work area in the add-on garage north of the building.
The station is secured for the winter of 2001-2002.
Basic planning is done and the old plumbing company materials are removed.
The Plymouth Street building is moved to its new location.
Oak Stone Renovators is hired to clean and tuck-point the south façade.
The inside of the Plymouth Street building is redone.
The Plymouth Street building is almost finished with the generous help of donations of time and money and the use of many materials recycled from buildings in the area.
The Rotary Club auction brings in $42,000, and the $20,000 endowment fund is established when the Bucyrus Area Community Foundation promises a $10,000 matching grant.
Local coppersmith Steve Schifer constructs the solid-copper ridge cap and finial.
Jay Agee Briarstone replaces stone- and brickwork, tuck-points the entire building and rebuilds the chimneys. (June-August)
Mid-State Construction of Marion installs the slate roof and box gutters. (July-August)
Bucyrus Station Association welcomes Steam Train Maury, "King of the Hobos," and other nationally known hobos to the station for the fourth biannual Hobo Day and Peddlers Market.
The stained-glass windows done by Bill Snyder and the double-paned windows donated by A-1 Glass are installed. (September)
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