A look back at 2011...
As we begin another
year at your museum, I believe that it is especially important to
re-state the objectives of Hub City Heritage Corporation.
"The objectives of the Corporation are to encourage and promote the
preservation and restoration of railroad memorabilia as pertinent to
the Oelwein area. To establish, furnish, and maintain a railway
museum for the education and enjoyment of the general public."
The HO Gauge train layout given to the museum by the Don Schoentag
family has been finished by our 17 year old engineer. Another
young man visiting from Georgia had painted an EMD F7-A and B unit in
CGW colors. He gave them to the museum. The layout is a
major attraction here.
The second pump handcar is finished, although it will need some minor
adjustments as soon as it is warm enough in the spring.
The motorcar was running during last year's Heritage Days, and it is
expected to be running this year as well.
The CGW boxcar containing the signal equipment displays was open during
last year's Heritage Days. Permanent lights will be installed
later this year.
The black SW-1 switch engine is now open for visitors (once the wasps
that had moved in were evicted).
The process of protecting and preserving tens of thousands of employee
cards and records has begun. The cards are being scanned into a
computer. To this date, over ten thousand have been completed.
We have received a grant from the State of Iowa to help preserve our
historic documents and pictures. This task is underway as
well. This requires a room where the temperature can be
It was a good year in that our objectives were met. However,
membership declined. We are all getting older.
Twice this year, a professional photographer used the museum for
background shots (for which we received credit). The pictures ran
in the Cedar Rapids, Iowa Gazette newspaper. We also had three
large bus tours visit the museum.
Again this year, visitors from other countries payed us a visit.
Countries included: New Zealand, South Africa, and Germany.
The visitors from Germany were members of the Oelwein family. We
had 1,301 people sign the guest register. 32 different states,
and 82 towns in Iowa were represented. 63 people inquired about
their relatives, or historical information regarding railroads.
Looking ahead at 2012, The National Railway Historical Society
convention will be in Cedar Rapids on June 18-24. A tour of the
museum and former CGW property is scheduled for Thursday, June
21. We have been told to expect between 75 and 200 people.
We have made the third weekend in August Heritage Days.
Unfortunately, we must move on to some bad news. The Union
Pacific Railroad has let the contract for the demolition of the shops
building, running repair, and other buildings they own in
Oelwein. They commissioned Joe Trnka to prepare a historic
narrative for the Oelwein Shops. He has done a very good
job. If, when, how, or where it may be available to the public is
not yet known, but once we find out, we will advise our members, and it
will be on this site as well. With the loss of the buildings,
there is even more reason for our museum to continue its mission to
preserve Oelwein's unique railroad history.
The officers of the Hub City Heritage Museum appreciate, and THANK, ALL
OF YOU for your support. At this time, only about a dozen local
volunteers are doing most of the work. In order to continue, WE
NEED MORE LOCAL PARTICIPATION AND MEMBERSHIPS. As you can see by
the numbers mentioned earlier, the railroad museum is, for a town the
size of Oelwein, a large tourist draw. And, a successful place to
preserve Oelwein's history. Please consider giving some of your
time, becoming a member, or both.
We hope that everybody has a very happy 2012!
William "Bill" Mundt, President
and all Hub City Heritage Museum officers
Update: August 21, 2011
Thank you for making 2011's Oelwein Railroad Days a success!
January 9, 2011
Happy New Year!
Hello to all;
2010 was quite a year! The museum had about 2000 visitors from
all over Iowa, 27 other states, and two foreign countries.
In the middle of April, we started connecting
the wires under the model
train layout. What a mess! What a job! It's still not
finished, but we do have trains running (sometimes) on the track.
We had considerable rain damage in the yard
office. The ceiling
tile needed to be replaced, so we replaced it with a washable, plastic
tile. We installed recessed fluorescent lights, and ceiling fans
(donated), in both downstairs rooms of the building.
George Whalen came to our April meeting, and
told us that if he could
have space to build a room todisplay all of his railroad memorabilia,
he would donate all of it to the museum. He had also made a DVD
of movies he took of the last days of the CGW shops in operation in
Oelwein, and said that he would give all rights to sell them to the Hub
City Heritage Museum (available elsewhere on this page, a two disc set
is just $20 plus $5 shipping). It didn't take long for us to
start clearing space on the second floor of the yard office!
George, with the help of about eight others, braved the heat, and built
a room. George and Linda moved all of their railroad memorabilia
from their home to the museum. Part of his collection are scale
models of CGW engines and cars which he cut from walnut shells.
They are unbelievable!
In May, we had two museum consultants tour the
museum. One from
Luther college, and one from a museum in Davenport. They advised
us, due to lack of space for displays, to replace the old, horizontal
cases with vertical cases. So, thanks to Don Bush, we have eleven
new cases for just the cost of materials.
Also in May, we got a volunteer for eight
hours a day, five days a
week. He was a gem, and got lots of painting and small jobs done
in May and June.
In June, Charles (Chuck) Finch, a CGW/CNW
station agent passed
away. His daughter and son donated all of his pictures, and the
manuscripts of the books he wrote about working on the railroad.
Also this summer, a group of our members
cleared a space by the front
door of the yard office, and did some landscaping. It looks great!
All of a sudden, it was the third weekend in
August, and Hub City
Heritage Days were here. Somehow we were ready. We had a
large crowd. Climbing the tower and pumping the handcar were two
We have finally finished the second handcar,
and it is ready for its maiden run in the spring.
Two of our members put together a 2011 CGW
calendar. It includes
great pictures of the construction of the shops, and items of
historical interest. The calendar is available for sale elsewhere
on this webpage. The calendars are just $12 (plus $3 shipping).
There is still no word on what is happening to
building. Possibilities for the use of it and the 30 surrounding
acres are being looked into.
Our new schedule runs from the last weekend in
April through the first
weekend in October (Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday from 12:00 PM
until 4:00 PM). We will still be opening for tours. We
really need volunteers to help on those days. It is a lot of fun
to meet visitors who are interested in the CGW, and who have stories to
tell. It would be great if we could get more local people to take
an interest in Oelwein's heritage.
2011 membership dues are now due. We are
trying not to raise our
dues this year. We hope that more will help. Single
memberships are still just $15, families are $25. We hope that
all of you will be staying with us in 2011. Our dues and
donations are what keep us going.
Thank you for
your continued support in our effert to preserve
Oelwein's railroad history!
William Mundt, President
Hub City Heritage Railroad
Update: December 5, 2010
News and Notes
The Museum is now offering a 2 DVD set showing
the Oelwein shops in
action. The video was shot by member and former CGW/CNW employee George
Whalen. Shot in the early 90's it shows the shop in the last days of
operation and George takes you on a complete tour of the shops yard and
trackage around Oelwein. It is available for $25.00 postpaid by sending
a check or money order to the museum.
Also available is the Museum 2011 calendar. The
theme is the Oelwein
shops with many rare photgraphs showing the construction of the shop.
The calendar is $15.00 postpaid, sending a check or money order sent to
As of December 5, 2010, there is still no word
from Union Pacific on the fate of the Oelwein shops.
News and Notes
Still no word from the UP on the fate of the
Days went extremely well this year. We had approximately 1300 visitors
from 32 states that weekend. Thank you to all that came out and we hope
too see you again soon. Here are a few pictures of some flowers that
were planted by Lew & Kay Westcott and Bill & Sue Klendworth.
Cannon Greenhouse of Westgate donated some of the landscaping
materials. (Click images to enlarge)
Courtesy: Ed Raye
now have 11 display cabinets made by local cabinet maker Buzz Bush.
Museum volunteers have been taking care of the finishing work. A
few of the cabinets are pictured below.
We have replaced all the ceiling tile and installed new lighting on the
main floor of the yard office. Ceiling fans have been added in the south
end of the yard office. Those tackling this project were: Bill
Mundt, Shirley Mundt, Chris Mundt, Bill Nickerson, Ed Raye, Dana Smith,
Dale Jarchow, and others.
Work is progressing on the HO scale layout of Don Schoentag, now on
display in the south end of the yard office. The layout is now
operational after the move from the Schoentag home. There is still
that needs to be done. The pictures show the incredible detail Don put
into the scenery. The layout was donated to the museum by Don's wife
Bonnie following his passing.
is underway on the second floor north end of the yard office, in order
to provide a space to display a new collection. George Whalen is a
museum member, and he is donating his entire railroad collection to the
included Roger Hummell, Bernie Saathoff, Lew Westcott, George Whalen,
is a third generation CGW employee and was the last foreman at the
Oelwein shops when the CNW closed it down.
new display designed to help draw the public's attention is now in
place in front of the yard office. A crossing signal from the CGW
at Mulberry Street in Waterloo has been installed and made
operational. Also included in the new display is a short section
of track housing a freight car truck. Photos courtesy Ed Raye.
Update: July 24, 2010
Oelwein Railroad Days
Oelwein Railroad Days
2010 will be Saturday August 21 and Sunday August
22. The museum will be open from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM both days.
Some of the
highlights: The CGW 116A, the yard tower, and recently restored Rock
caboose 17958 will be open for display. The Don Schoentag HO-Scale
be operating. Demonstration rides will be given on one of the museum's
monthly meeting of the Hub City Heritage Corporation Railway Museum was
held on March 15, 2010. As of yet, no news regarding the fate of
the Oelwein Shops has been received from the Union Pacific.
CGW Shops in Jeopardy
Locomotive and car repair shops under
construction in 1898.
From the collection of
February 8, 2010, I met with Oelwein's mayor, city council, and Brenda
Mainwaring, Director of Public Relations for the Union Pacific Railroad.
She explained the reasons behind the decision for taking down the
Chicago Great Western shop building.
discussion followed in which we all asked questions, and the council
expressed all of our concerns, some of which the UP had not considered.
She told us that she didn't think the UP would change their minds, but
that she would make a report on our meeting and let the city know what
happens. Brenda did ask me one big favor; "call off the letter
writing and emails".
William Mundt, President
Hub City Heritage Railroad
Hub City Heritage Corporation Railway Museum
2nd Avenue SW Oelwein, Iowa
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