It’s not leaking yet. But the roof to the historic site of the Chatham Railroad Museum in Chatham, Illinois, urgently needs repairs as winter sets in within a few months.
The Chatham Railroad Museum Association is hosting a Chatham Depot Day from 1 to 5 p.m. Oct. 4 to raise funds for the roof, according to the Springfield State Journal-Register. The event will re-create the depot as it was when it first opened in 1902, including re-enactors in period costume, guest speakers to provide historical context and a folk-music band.
The museum’s secretary described the dire situation with the depot:
“The roof is in terrible shape,” said Lesa Blagburn, the association’s secretary. “There is wood showing through in a couple of areas.”
Blagburn said the state of the roof worsened over the winter and with the spring rains.
“It hasn’t leaked yet,” she said. “But there are artifacts and documents inside, and it’s quite a concern.”
Blagburn estimates $10,000 is needed for the roof repairs. A local lumber company has agreed to sell shingles at half-price. About $5,000 in donations have been given so far.
The museum houses more than 2,000 railroad artifacts, including a working telegraph.
The museum has been in the depot since 1999. According to the village of Chatham, the depot was built in 1902 to replace another depot that burned to the ground. The depot was closed to railroad service in 1972.
The depot sits about a block east of Illinois Highway 4, aka old Route 66, in Chatham. It hosted about 200 visitors during the Route 66 Blue Carpet Corridor Festival in June.
(Image of the Chatham Railroad Museum via the village of Chatham)