2004 Convention Review
The weekend of October 1-3, 2004 the membership of the Monon Railroad Historical-Technical Society gathered in Crawfordsville Indiana to attend the 2004 Annual Convention And Meeting. As we have all come to expect, the weekend was filled with one great event after another. The weekend opened with the World Headquarters Archives opening for members and convention attendees to view the material that we currently have in the Archives. We have heard that not many went away disappointed and Bob Wheeler made a ton of copies for people. Members also gathered at the hotel for registration. It was an opportunity to meet new people, or say hello to members you had not seen for a while.
Saturday's two main events were of course the 2004 Bus Tour and Banquet. There was an alternate tour advertised, however, I believe the location and transportation were changed at the last moment. The bus tour included the 4th Middle Sub Division, between McDoel Yards and Shops. The tour included get out and look around stops at McDoel, Ellettsville, Gosport, Cloverdale and Linden at the World Headquarters. It also included the NA&S Indianapolis Branch and information on the Fort Wayne, Terre Haute and Southwestern. Bob Wheeler compiled another great tour book and, according to Bob, this one is the last in the series. Tourbooks in the future will include excerpts, revision, updates and consolidations of the 12 already published. All the Monon Railroad and branches have now been covered and toured. Next year, our convention committee will have to come up with something special for Saturday afternoon. Chances are they already have some ideas working. Saturday evening the Banquet provided some fellowship, some light hearted moments and some serious recognition of those people who have helped the Society continue to grow and prosper. Ron Marquardt impressed us with his skill on the piano and the Van Bree 5 thrilled us with a rendition of "Up and down the Monon." After the banquet, several VHS clips and pictures were shown of the Monon.
Sunday's activities included the Swap Meet and Annual Meeting. Based on what Tim Walter and Jim Davis said afterward, it was our best effort yet. There were a variety of products for sale and it appeared that nobody left dissatisified. Several presentations and clinics rounded out the swap meet, including a talk by Joseph Schwieterman, who has authored a book entitled When the Railroad Leaves Town: American Communities in the Age of Rail Line Abandonment, Eastern United States, a clinic on Microsoft's Train Simulator and one on surfing the Monon web site. The Annual Meeting was very well attended. After Acting Secretary Max Foltz led us in the Pledge Of Allegiance, the meeting took place. Reports from all committees were submitted and accepted. All the incumbent officers and board members were re-elected after two presidential nominees were removed off the ballot because neither was a board member (One write in candidate was not even human.). Several individuals were recognized for their outstanding effort over the year and President Van Bree commented that "it appears we have some very good people in the right jobs." Frank, I think you're 100% correct.
Pre Opening Activities:
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World Headquarter and the Archives were open to members Friday Afternoon. Pictured is the flatcar restoration project. Thanks to Steve Long and his merry men, some work has be completed. This side of the car faces Highway 231.
Of course, Steve's Band of merry men also have a sense of humor. Is it accurate prototype? There was much activity around the WHQ Friday afternoon and evening. Rumor has it the copy machine was put to the test.
Friday Evening: Convention Opens
The host hotel for Convention 2004 welcomes the Monon Railroad Historical-Technical Society.
The Convention Hospitality Room opens as members arrive and register. Here, Cecil Smith, Editor Of The Hoosier Line, appears to be taking Ron Marquardt's picture. Perhaps Ron is preparing an article, or maybe Cecil just enjoys flashing his flash in people's eyes.
Convention Chairman Tom Rankin and Membership Chairman Dan Seldin sorting through all the registrations.
Saturday: The Bus Tour
Yon Chariot awaits the members of yee Monon Railroad Historical-Technical Society.
Left: "Wheels on the bus go round and round, round and round, round and round..." Right: "It just doesn't get any better than this, does it? What is the in flight movie?"
Our first stop where members could get out and pillage, ah I mean visit. McDoel Yard, Bloomington. "Everyone please remember where we parked."
Left: Members fan out and explore the former yard. Sad to witness the ripping up of all the tracks and basically the destruction of a place once so vital to the Monon Railroad. Right: National Spike Museum Curator poses with the newest addition to the exhibit.
No Steve, the bus does not have a luggage rack. You'll just have to return later.
Gosport Indiana. Left: Tour members are allowed to walk down to the bluff above the former depot location. The tracks pictured were once the PRR, now they are used by the Indiana Southern Railroad. Right: The former depot location. Overgrown with weeds. Several members suggested trying to drive the bus down to the depot site. This suggestion was swiftly vetoed by the Driver. The site is accessable by private vehicle, according to Tim Swan and others.
After wandering up the old mainline and rumbling down many backroads, bumpy backroads, we arrived at another get out and walk stop, Cloverdale. Left: Members mill about the bus, partaking in conversation and refreshment from a variety of "beverages" available. Right: Monon Cloverdale depot, moved to this location and is currently in use as a private business.
Left: "Okay there, you can move the train. We're all ready to shoot pictures now." Right: Head em up and move them out. Counting activity near Roachdale we saw 15 locomotives on this years tour.
No visit to Crawfordsville would not be complete without a visit to the depot. The good news is, the depot is being restored and many people on the tour commented on how good the restoration is going. The plan is for a business and cafe. The new owner Nancy Morrison, is really enthused about the building, and sorry that she missed us by about a half hour.
Work done on the inside of the Crawfordsville Depot by Nancy. Too bad we missed connections. We plan to follow the restoration work on this piece of Monon history. Good luck Nancy. (Kevin Heggi Photograph)
The tour included a stop in Linden at the Depot Museum and World Headquarters. The Webmaster however bailed out back at the Convention HQ. All and all, those who attended at participated in the tour enjoyed the day. This concludes the tours. All of the former Monon Railroad mainline and branchlines have now been toured. Starting in 2005, there will be different type of activities on convention Saturday.
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