A Letter from Our Board of Directors President
On behalf of the Hopewell Depot Museum, its Board of Trustees, Members, and Visitors I would like to thank everyone who has supported us this year. We hope your families have remained healthy, the economic and emotional impact was minimal and has started to improve.
Many thanks to the first responders, medical teams and essential workers for helping us cope. In particular, we thank ‘Dutchess Responds’ and The Dutchess County Emergency Response team for a large donation of hand sanitizer. It permitted us to continue providing restroom service to WRS Dutchess Rail Trail users throughout the pandemic.
Despite the tremendous uncertainty due to the pandemic and its repercussions across the world, the Depot has weathered the storm. Visitors and donations are significantly below past years but sufficient to keep us operating. Many thanks to the Rotary, Town of East Fishkill and IBM.
This is also a testament to our Board of Trustees, including Past President Joe Sullivan, Vice President – Linda Heitman, Secretary – Celeste Rudberg, Treasurer/Social Media Guru – Amy Gold, Parliamentarian and Inside Track Editor – Paul Stich, Historian John Desmond, Facilities Director and Founder Rich Taylor, Marc Coq, Sabrina Oestrich, Bud Parsons, Fund Raising Chair Jim Haass, Master Maintainer Charlie Macdonald, Membership Chair Joyce Pfirman and our Tour Guides/Greeters: Paul Carroll, Stu Chimkin, Mary Ellen Cowles, Tom Darmento , Al Marotta, Diane Meleshkewich, Jim Reynolds. Mike Skok for signs and plaques, Tyler Hargraves for Website Development/IT, Dutchess County, the Town of East Fishkill and everyone who donated their time and money.
2020 Depot Accomplishments
Master Plan Moving Forward
We continued to make progress on our Masterplan for the Museum. John Desmond persevered so we’re now listed on the NYS Registry of Historical Places and applied to the National Historic Registry for recognition. John is preparing a more detailed submission to the Pomeroy Foundation for one of those yellow on blue cast signs.
Children’s Engine and Tender Revamped
Charlie, Rich and Joe restored the children’s engine and tender much to the delight of the children and parents on the trail.
We found a caboose nearby and are negotiating with the owner as well as updating our lease to include the caboose. We’re hopeful Metro-North can provide rails, ties, and possibly installation.
The Maybrook Trailway
The Maybrook Trailway from Brewster to Hopewell Junction is on schedule to be completed this year. We expect this to significantly increase traffic on the rail trails. So much so, that the Town of East Fishkill is planning to add a safe pathway from the Depot to the center of Hopewell.
Paul Stich developed a wonderful COVID safety plan for staff and visitors so we could open in early August. Unfortunately, we find most want to stay outside.
Website and Social Media Updates
Tyler Hargraves released the new HopewellDepotMuseum.org website and Amy Gold has kept our social media presence up to date.
Future Planning Not on Pause
We held 4 virtual board meetings and put the Pavilion to good use for 3 socially distanced, masked.
The Town of East Fishkill Historical Society and Rotary did the same.
Challenges and Where We go from Here
We are far from done; our site development vision for the future includes installing the rails we acquired from Metro North in front of the Depot, installing two railroad signals near their original locations, installing the old crossing gate given to us by the Town, and continuing to work with the Town of East Fishkill on the development of Depot Park as a focal point for the Empire State Trail project.
As you know, our mission is focused on preserving and teaching the history of Hopewell Junction, the railroads in Dutchess County and New England. It’s a story that is being lost as railroads no longer connect the small villages and cities to the outside world. The potential for school field trips disappeared this year but we have some ideas to provide teachers with a module on local history. COVID also eliminated all our plans to present to community groups but we hope this will open
up next year.
Our fundraising concerts and grocery store events were cancelled. Our key challenge is volunteers – we need associates, tour guides, event planners, PR folks, and board members. We ask all of you, your families, and your friends to consider actively joining our cause.
We also need both sustaining and capital funding to continue our operations and to grow Depot Park, so please consider pledging a recurring gift to the Depot. We are a non-proﬁt so gifts are tax deductible as allowed by law.
For those of you who joined our 1 st Annual Take Out Dinner Fundraiser we hope you enjoyed the meal. Mill Creek Caterers of Hopewell Junction worked closely with Linda Heitmann to make it happen.
We rely on your generosity to keep the Depot going. If you haven’t already renewed your membership please due and invite your friends to join our community, if they can.
We miss you, so hope your families and friends will find time to visit the Depot in the near future.
Keep in touch, stay safe, be well,