The Friends of Locomotive #35 have several capital projects planned as they work on creating an Oyster Bay Railroad Museum. While they need funding from the public and private sectors, they have always been committed to raising funds on their own. Their newest venture will be a dinner dance on March 20 at the Atlantic Steamer Fire House.
Friends of Locomotive #35 Board Chairman Ben Jankowski explained, "The Friends of Locomotive #35 Inc. is in the midst of their 2003-2004 capital fund-raising campaign for the Oyster Bay Railroad Museum. The capital projects include the exterior restoration of the 1902 Oyster Bay train station made famous by President Theodore Roosevelt on his trips to Washington. The centerpiece of our collection is LIRR Steam Locomotive #35, which was the last steam engine to operate in Oyster Bay and on Long Island. The Town of Oyster Bay and the Oyster Bay Historical Society, under whose auspices we operate, have endorsed our ongoing endeavor."
Mr. Jankowski enumerated the several immediate needs where the public's help would make a difference. These include:
• Professional grading of the museum grounds and turntable rehabilitation. This area will house railroad equipment displays and will be interactive with museum visitors. Turntable enhancements will include a new mortar and work on mechanisms to operate the turntable. The estimated cost of grading with bluestone is $5000.
• Additional capital needs are focused on the Oyster Bay train station. As a candidate for inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places, the building requires a feasibility study to evaluate the building for interior and exterior renovation. They estimate the cost of this work to be $25,000.
• Steam Locomotive #35 will require engineering work on its frame and tender. In addition, they are seeking funds for an enclosed repair facility for this work. We estimate $150,000 for this improvement.
All contributions are tax deductible and directly benefit each outlined project by their volunteer members. For inquiries, please call 318-6722, or write them at P.O. Box 335, Oyster Bay, NY 11771.
Mr. Jankowski hoped the announcement of their needs would stimulate people to think about giving funds to the group, and announced the group's own fund-raising project. "Now that we are moving and grooving, the painting should be done within the next month and a half, we are planning a dinner dance on Saturday, March 20, from 7 to 11 p.m. It's a buffet dinner dance to raise some funds for the organization and to create more community synergy to let people know about us."
The dinner dance is being chaired by board member Tim Wright. Using the Atlantic Steamer firehouse was a natural since Mr. Wright's father-in-law is Vincent Aqualino who for many years has headed the Steamer's drill team. "He was a driver for them for many years," said Mr. Wright and, Mr. Aqualino is a member of the Friends of Locomotive #35.
Tickets cost $35 a person, and include a hot buffet and wine and beer. There will be a DJ, a friend of Mr. Wright's, who will play the top hits of the '40s as well as some railroad oriented/novelty music.
"We will be honoring some of the people who helped us out: some members and some public officials. There will be a cocktail hour from 7 to 8 p.m. and dinner between 8 and 9 p.m. and then the awards and speeches followed by coffee and dessert and dancing. An open bar will be available," said Mr. Wright.
"We will bring some of our literature and items for sale. We go out to train shows and model railroad club events to sell them. (There is one coming up in April at Stony Brook.) We have a set-up that shows what the Friends of Locomotive #35 is all about. Now the local community can learn a little more about us and possibly become members," said Mr. Wright.