ELY – Staff at the East Ely Railroad Depot Museum were hoping a handful of volunteers would turn out at Saturday morning’s “painting party” to freshen up the east end of the museum’s historic Freight Building.
A platoon showed up instead.
“The project was a remarkable success,” longtime museum director Sean Pitts said. “Going into it, we had borrowed a number of ladders and amassed the necessary tools to equip what we had hoped would be 5 or 6 people. It was a total, but welcome, surprise when more than 30 people showed up.”
The outpouring of support from the community – which included volunteers from ages 7 to 70 – allowed the scope of the painting party to expand significantly. While Pitts had originally intended to paint only the east end of the Freight Building – the oldest structure on the Northern Nevada Railway complex, built in 1906 – the added manpower allowed for the scraping and painting of the 400-foot side of the building as well.
“Every surface we were going to paint was scraped, then wire brushed before it got painted,” he said. “The volunteers were happy and excited and worked steadily.”
In a little more than 2 hours, the volunteers had completed more than double what Pitts had hoped to accomplish. Volunteers were treated to donuts, granola bars and bottled water.
Pitts also wanted to thank E.K. McDaniel, former interim director of the Nevada Department of Corrections, who showed up with a second paint sprayer and led the crew in painting the north side of the building; and Joe Galagos, who loaned the effort a ladder tall enough to safely reach the peak of the building.”
The Freight Building is a popular community gathering place for weddings, funerals and myriad other special events. Before then Nevada Northern Railway closed in 1983, the building was the gateway for the majority of materials that were freighted to Ely by train.
The East Ely Railroad Depot Museum focuses on the historical industrial development of Nevada as evidenced by the massive copper production in the area which began in 1900. Located in the historic Nevada Northern Railway Depot building, the museum interprets mining and transportation heritage.
The museum is located at 1100 Avenue A in Ely. Hours are 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday; and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekends. For more information, call 775-289-1663.