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Roundhouse gets Web site

July 07, 1998

Save the Roundhouse Web siteThe Hagerstown roundhouse, one of the largest remaining steam-era railroad complexes in the United States, has gone online with a new Web site in efforts to save the roundhouse from being torn down.

The Hagerstown Roundhouse Museum has been working for nearly a decade to preserve the roundhouse, which dates back to 1905.

Organizers of the preservation efforts said they expect the Web site to generate more interest and donations.

CSX Real Property, owner of the roundhouse property off South Burhans Boulevard, has given supporters until July 10 to save the roundhouse buildings from demolition.

CSX officials have told museum officials they must reimburse them for $500,000 in projected cleanup costs at the site and find a government agency willing to assume liability for the roundhouse if they wish to save the complex.

With the Web site, "we hope that people around the world will be able to find out more about this very important piece of American history, and join our efforts in trying to save it," said Bob Tracey, Hagerstown Roundhouse Museum president.

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Donations, which are tax-deductible, will go toward the cost of saving the 45-acre property for the Roundhouse Museum, said Tracey, who is a Herald-Mail employee.

Organizers want to save the historic complex and restore much of it as a "living history" railroad museum.

The museum's restoration project has gained support from local politicians, government officials, railroad enthusiasts, historic preservationists and others, Tracey said.

Tracey said he believes the new Web site will increase support.

"There isn't much time left to save the complex," Tracey said, referring to the CSX deadline of July 10.

Roundhouse officials hope soon to be able to offer a secure page on the Web site, which will enable those wishing to make contributions to do so online with a credit card.

Located adjacent to the original complex, the Hagerstown Roundhouse Museum has three diesel locomotives in operating condition, a trolley car, an electric generating car, a caboose, a baggage car, a World War II troop sleeper, an early Western Maryland Railroad flatcar and a passenger lounge car.

Only a few working roundhouses remain around the world, and the museum is proud of its efforts to save and restore one of the largest of these transportation buildings, Tracey said.

The Hagerstown Roundhouse Museum has partnered with the National Railway Historical Society to save what at one time was Western Maryland's largest employer.

The Web site address is www.roundhouse.org.

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