The spring board meeting of the Nickel Plate Historical & Technical Society was held on May 5 at the Age of Steam Roundhouse complex near Sugarcreek, Ohio. It was a wonderful opportunity to tour the facilities and to get to see Nickel Plate 763 “…up close and personal.” The AOS is the culmination of a dream of the late Jerry Jacobson who loved steam locomotives. He wanted to build such a complex to preserve and restore his growing collection of steam locos. Jerry passed away recently but was able to see his dream come true. Jerry built a profitable regional railroad system primarily in eastern Ohio and when it was sold to the Genesee & Wyoming, he had the wherewithal to make his dream come true.
Many of the locos in his collection will undergo cosmetic restoration but there are several that are operable and will see rail service from time to time. The facility also serves as a teaching lab where people can go and learn the skills needed to preserve and restore these mammoths from railroading’s past. Jerry had the foresight to set up a foundation to maintain and operate the AOS so it should be with us for years to come.
The day was not all fun and games. During its semi-annual meeting the BoD of the NKPHTS tackled many issues that are part of the ongoing operation of the Society. Of course, there were the more routine matters like membership and finances but also several of the issues that are what we are all about including our fine quarterly magazine, our sales of merchandise to the general public and our grants program which helps finance collection and restoration of Nickel Plate related items. For me, it was a very long day; we left Findlay right around 8.00AM and returned just at 11PM but it was certainly time well invested. Of course, along with the business aspects of board membership goes the social aspect of belonging to such a group. The after-meeting dinner was a great way to reconnect with old friends and make some new ones.
After visiting the AOS complex, I do have to say that the many hours that the members of the BoD invest in our Society does have some rewards.