May 2009 President’s Report

By Ira Pollack

            In this month’s report I’d like to update you on some of the things going on at the Museum. In the building, we’ve opened up new exhibits in the Great Room. One features the photographic talents of Dan Foley, with over sixty pictures Dan shot in his travels throughout the country in the 1950’s and 60’s. Also, we have begun displaying beautifully done sketches and drawings by member Harry Burke. It is great to see our members coming forward and displaying their workmanship and artistry for all to see. Please come visit the building and enjoy the creativity and history shown in the exhibits of these two members.

            I also would like to thank Sue Teer and all of our volunteers who participated in our annual Easter Bunny event. Although the weather did not cooperate, we had an excellent turnout of visitors with many happy faces showing enjoyment on the two weekends. This has turned into one more successful, traditional annual event that we do.

            In case you had not noticed, the operating season has begun once again in the yard, and as usual we have our work cut out for us. We have begun regauging sections of Track 42, and tamping various areas that have settled and need attention. I am hoping to be there on Saturdays starting at about 10am, and would certainly appreciate any help that can be afforded by you.

            In other news, John Ivansco and crew are busy working on the pumphouse at the far eastern portion of the yard. To date the roof of the building has been replaced and they have positioned the original pump and motor in their appropriate position. John plans on replacing the windows and has begun the restoration of the double doors. Much work remains, but we are out of funds. Any monetary help would certainly be appreciated in this project. Eventually I envision a platform in this area for loading and unloading our Railyard Local.

            Since this is our 15 year anniversary, I would like to share some early stories with you on the DRM’s history – hopefully on a monthly basis. When we first began, we would meet on Wednesday evenings in a storefront that we leased on Ives Street. There were many people attending these meetings - so many that the meeting attendees would spill out on to the street. One evening a police car stopped to find out why we were loitering around. Was he surprised when we told him who we were, and what was going to happen over the next several months at the railroad station! It was a time of planning and great expectation. Would this really happen? Every Wednesday we would get a weekly report: the floor is gone this week, they are having trouble matching the color of the brick, now the south wall is down, now they have pulled up the roof. I will be honest; at one point I did not think that it would turn in a reality. I felt that the builders would certainly give up on this huge project. Boy was I wrong! It was at these meetings that the comradary was formed. It was meeting this woman who began selling DRM coffee mugs in front of the group and announcing, “Guess what we have this week: New Haven T-shirts!” It was the informal beginning of our Gift Shop, with Sue Thomas (Teer) trying to raise monies for our fledgling organization. It was a great time for us all. Look at what was ahead of us. The days passed into months, and finally we were set to move into the newly restored building. Everyone pitched in to help with the move to our new home. Our biggest fear at the time was “The Muffin Lady”, but that will be next month’s story of our history. I am very proud of what we all did back then, but I also hope that we continue that growth into our future.

            I will be looking forward to seeing you at the Museum, hope that you can be involved in what we do, and become part of our history.