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Jamestown Trolley Restoration Project
The restored Erie Railroad train station was the perfect home for what is pretty much Chautauqua County’s last restorable original heritage trolley car. Since December of 2013, when we were invited by then Gateway Train Station General Manager Lee Harkness to start a trolley restoration project at the station, the facility had brought a great deal of exposure and support to the project. Just the general traffic through the station along with our inclusion in various events throughout the years, has provided us with the means to bring the project to near completion. The amazing support from rail enthusiasts and Jamestown natives young and old was certainly bolstered by our presence there. Jamestown Street Railway trolley car #93, sometimes referred to as the “Swede Hill” trolley was purchased by the street railway in 1926 and was in operation on the Willard Street Route until the end of service for the line in 1938. Donated for restoration by Mrs. Mauro Lucarillo in honor of her husband way back in 1996, it has been a long time effort for Bob Johnston, restoration project founder. It was also because of our move to the train station that Jim Mitchener, local contractor / craftsmen, signed on to the project and provided the expertise to drive the restoration project forward.
It was a sad day for us and many of our visitors and supporters when word came down that we couldn’t stay at the station. We were fortunate to have been given the opportunity to continue working there for a while longer, but at the end of 2016 we had to find another place. Thanks to a Post Journal article, we were able to get word out regarding our plight, and a joint effort by the CCIDA, the Lou Anderson Family, and Ideal Coatings Inc., a space was made available for us to continue work in Falconer, NY.
A visit by the Hendrickson family, early contributors to the project, reminds us that there is still interest in the project out there in spite of the fact that we are pretty much out of the public eye. The Hendrickson’s were all in the area and asked if they could see #93. We were happy to oblige and we were very happily surprised when the family made yet another generous contribution to our Chautauqua Region Community Foundation Fund for the restoration project.
We would like to remind anyone out there looking for a unique experience to share when company comes to town, that we are happy to provide access for a look see. Just give Bob a call at 716-338-5051 to make arrangements. Also we would like to remind anyone out there that sees the value in saving this big part of early Chautauqua County History, that donations to our Chautauqua Region Community Foundation funds work to create the financial basis necessary to carry #93 into the future.