Seventy-five models of Aberdeen's historic Baltimore & Ohio Railroad train station have been created and are on sale for $10 each to help raise money for ongoing efforts to refurbish the structure.
One of those models was presented to the City of Aberdeen during a City Council meeting Monday evening, as Rick Herbig, president of Save the Aberdeen Railroad Station, or STARRS, gave city leaders an update on the restoration project.
Ed Brady, a STARRS member, presented one of the replicas to City Clerk Monica Correll.
Herbig said the models can be placed in businesses around the city.
"Hopefully it will be a talking point," he said.
The model was created by painter and sculptor Paul Johnson, according to Herbig. Anyone who wants to purchase one can contact the Aberdeen Room Archives & Museum, either by visiting their offices at 18 N. Howard St. or calling 410-273-6325.
The nonprofit Aberdeen Room is also accepting donations to restore the actual station, and it will pass those revenues on to STARRS, Herbig said.
The station, designed by famed architect Frank Furness, was built in 1885 and was a stop for B&O's passenger rail service between Baltimore and Philadelphia through 1958. Herbig remarked that April 26 marked the 60th anniversary of the end of passenger service to and from Aberdeen.
He pointed out a "beehive chimney" feature on the model, which he said was a feature of facilities designed by Furness. The Philadelphia-based architect designed hundreds of residential, commercial, religious and academic structures, as well as stations along the B&O's passenger line in Maryland, Delaware and Pennsylvania, according to the website of the Friends of the Furness Railroad District in Wilmington, Del.
"We will recreate that [chimney] as time permits and as money allows," Herbig said.
The Aberdeen station was a key transport center for departing and arriving military service members during World War I, World War II and the Korean War. It was used up through the early 1990s for many other non-passenger rail services, such as materials storage, rail car inspections and signal maintenance.
The building has been boarded up and unused for the past 25 years, but members of the community have been determined to restore it and create a site for community gatherings or visitors to Aberdeen.
The Historical Society of Harford County acquired the building from CSX in late 2014 and oversaw a move about 50 feet from its prior location along CSX's rail line. The station sits on property along West Bel Air Avenue.
Herbig gave city leaders updates on fundraising. He said his organization will travel to the state's Board of Public Works in Annapolis May 16 for the certification of $50,000 in state bond funds allocated to the Aberdeen Room during the 2016 Maryland General Assembly session. The late Sen. Wayne Norman, who died in March, submitted a bill two years ago to request state funds for the train station restoration.
"That money is almost in our pocket," Herbig said.
Herbig said STARRS has also applied to the Maryland Historical Trust for a $100,000 grant, and those awards will be announced in late June.
The Aegis: Top stories
The organization is preparing to restore the exterior of the building, starting with the roof, Herbig said in a follow-up interview Wednesday. A structural engineer has examined the interior and recommended the roof's interior structure be strengthened so it complies with building codes.
He said STARRS is expecting a proposal from the structural engineer on the work needed for the roof, and once that has been reviewed, a contractor will be hired.
Once that work is complete, STARRS hopes to have enough money to restore the slate roof exterior, then work down and build a brick facade along the outside walls, Herbig said.
The organization is working with the State Highway Administration — members met with SHA representatives in Hunt Valley last week — on an agency request to get access to the station property and make drainage improvements as part of an upcoming project to repave West Bel Air Avenue, Herbig told city leaders.
The SHA plans to resurface and make safety improvements along West Bel Air — the state-maintained Route 132 — between Paradise Road and Route 40.
Herbig said the proposed drainage improvements are the only impact to the station project "right now, that we're aware of."
"It should be... consistent with how we propose to develop that property there," Herbig said.