Two old pros congratulate each other on a job well done, Bud Nichols, who supervised the reconstruction, and Bernie Cubitt, who was the driving force behind the project and took many photos of the project throughout the process.

Helen Schuth, who actually rode the trolley in her youth, did the ribbon cutting honors. Dan Head, manager of the local Nothnagle Realtors, joined in the official opening gesture.

Bud Nichols points the way to a picture to Mike Cummingham and son, Dalton. Mike constructed the trim work on the Trolley Depot.

Fran Maier, who did the painting of the interior of the Trolley Depot, looks through an album of picture memories of the reconstruction project. Photographs by Walter Horylev.

Spencerport’s Trolley Depot dedicated to new purpose

The dedication ceremony of the reconstructed Spencerport Trolley Depot on Saturday, May 12 was cause for celebration. Local dignitaries took turns honoring the dedicated efforts of Ogden and Spencerport residents and organizations that they said culminated in the addition of a beautiful and useful historic building to the canal area. It will not only serve Erie Canal transients as a welcome center, but the local community as well as a museum and satellite library. As Master of Ceremonies Deputy Mayor Ted Rauber said, “Thus the dream becomes a reality ... history is reborn ... and this is good.” Mayor Ted Walker gave thanks to the two leading proponents of the reconstruction. Bernie Cubitt, a driving force behind the four-year-old project, and master builder Bud Nichols, who supervised the reconstruction of the almost century-old depot building. “It is good to see a community coming together and working together,” said NYS Assemblyman William Reilich. NYS Senator George Maziarz added a note of humor to the proceedings, stating: “Carmella Montella, Director of the NYS Canal Corporation, is delayed; she left Troy and is stuck in traffic; we all know what that means. Somewhere, there is a lift bridge stuck in mid-air!” Montella had many words of praise for this local effort. “I’ve traveled the 524 mile canal network; communities are working together to promote the canal,” she said. She also talked about how these kinds of projects promote economic development along the canal. Mal Perry, Ogden town board member, said “Thanks to you for the history you have passed on to us and all those who are still to come.”

Carol Coburn, Town of Ogden Historian, read from the provisional NYS charter presented to the Spencerport Depot and Canal Museum by the NYS Board of Regents last October, involving a process that took two years to accomplish. The main floor activities of the Visitor’s Center building will be run by the Museum Board of directors and the small library therein by the Ogden Farmers’ Library organization. The building belongs to the Village of Spencerport. Coburn asked for more volunteers. “The more volunteers we have, the more hours we can stay open.”

With the idea of involving children in the project, the local Nothnagle Realty office sponsored an essay contest on what the Trolley Depot means to them. Realtor and local Chamber of Commerce President Joyce Lobene introduced the two winners, Juliana Cole and Zach Ritz. Juliana read her essay and accepted a savings bond from Nothnagle Realty Manager Dan Head. Zach could not be present, so his essay was read by Joyce Lobene.

The key to the building was then transferred from Bud Nichols to Mayor Ted Walker, who then transferred the key to Ann Strang, Acting Head Librarian. Mayor Walker presented a Resolution of Appreciation from the village board to Bud Nichols, who responded: “I’ll cherish this for the rest of my life.” Deputy Mayor Rauber presented a similar document to Bernie Cubitt, chairman of the restoration project, who responded: “It’s been my pleasure to start this project and see it through to completion. Thank you for all your help.” The late Maxine Davison Singer’s philanthropy included purchasing the Depot building, which had become a private residence and donating it to the community. She also endowed the museum with a considerable amount of money. Additional money came in the form of a $70,000 grant from New York state.

Bud Nichols interjected a note of appreciation for Leonard Elmes: “I want to thank Leonard Elmes; we had a dream and a goal. This man heard about it and he gave the first $50 for this project!” Deputy Mayor Rauber asked for people who had actually ridden on the trolley to come up for the ribbon cutting, which was performed officially with much aplomb by former trolley rider Helen Schuth. The ceremony came to an end with the spirited playing of the National Anthem by the Project-2-Trio, a group of three Spencerport High School jazz musicians.

May 20, 2007