July 2011

Two New Buildings for Coolspring!

By Paul Harvey

As you read this, the big June engine show is now over and a full report will be coming in the next issue.  However, some exciting progress is being made at the museum as all who attended the Show know.  We are getting two new 40 ft by 80 ft buildings for further expansion!  This project has been the museumís biggest expansion ever in a single year.

The concept of an additional building was born just about one year ago when our member, Kevin Kusel proposed raising money from a group of his friends to erect a building to house their choice engines.  This proposal sounded great and he was successful in making the plan happen. The building is named the ďFriends Exhibition HallĒ and now is being erected.  The structure will hold many significant engines that have not been displayed here before.  Each contributor will be here for our events to operate their prizes for all to see.

The plan for the second building happened when Patty Wilcox, wife of the late Dr. John Wilcox, co-founder of the museum, proposed that she donate money to build a structure to house some of Johnís engines that were being sold. Most all the buyers wanted to bring the engines to Coolspring in memory of John and space was needed.  This would mean that most of Johnís engines would reunite here in a structure named ďPatís Place.Ē  We certainly thank Patty for making this possible to keep these great machines together.

Wow!  That meant two new buildings and clearing an area near the Snow Building to house them.  This area is high ground well away from the flood plain and the ideal place to expand. There were many trees to remove and the top soil had to be taken off.  Then stone had to be hauled in and the sites leveled.  But first we had to find a contractor. After a long process, the museum finalized with 64 Metals to build the structures.  This sounded like a great plan that could be finished by the June show.  We hoped to have the area cleared by March and the site prepared for erection of the two structures.

But as you all know, the weather was not kind to us to begin the project.  The rains continued and we just had mud, mud, and more mud.  What we wanted to begin in March was not possible until May. Now our volunteers had to work especially hard to prepare the building sites, and so they did.  Machines and a dump truck were borrowed and the work began.  Don Mauthe donated about 2,500 tons of shale providing we dug, hauled and leveled.  Ben Egloff ran the borrowed excavator on the hill top to dig and load the shale, Mark Himes and Chris Austin ran the faithful old R model Mack dump truck for the hauling, and Ken Uplingler ran Brutus, the borrowed Cat 977 track bucket loader to level and pack in the fill at the sites.  Both sites were prepared and construction of the building started by June first. 

The photos show some of the progress.  First we see Doug Fye, our volunteer,  taking down a tree with Brutus, Photo 1.  After all the trees and stumps were removed, the top soil had to be taken off.  We now have two huge piles for finishing and use elsewhere.  Photo 2 shows the Mack dumping a load of shale.  Site preparation was a long process taking four weekends but it was finally finished.

Photo 3 shows the first stage of building erection with some poles being set.  Finally the good stuff begins as the contractor starts erection.  Photo 4 shows some progress at the Friends Exhibition Hall and Photo 5 shows Pats Place coming along well.  It will be a great addition to the museum.

The museumís open weekend for July will be July 16 and 17. Please try to attend to see our new buildings and the progress being made. July 16 will be History Day at the museum with a group from all the Jefferson County museums attending. This will be a good time to visit our museum as many engines will be running and special tours will be given. For more information, please call 814-849-6883.  See you then!

Photo 1: Doug Fye taking down a tree with Brutus

Photo 2: The Mack dumping a load of shale

Photo 3: First stage of building construction

Photo 4: Friends Exhibition Hall

Photo 5: Pat's Place



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