YOU ARE HERE: HeraldMail HomeCollectionsBats

Old train station plagued by bats

September 21, 2000

Old train station plagued by bats

By JULIE E. GREENE / Staff Writer

photo: RICHARD T. MEAGHER / staff photographer

Bats in the stationSHARPSBURG - The Hagerstown Model Railroad Museum Inc. has faced hurdles on its road to restoring the old Antietam Station west of Sharpsburg: Bureaucracy, funding, termites and now, bats.

The bats have been in the train station off Shepherdstown Pike for at least two years, but museum officials recently realized how serious the problem had gotten.

The bats roost in the attic where there is a 5-inch thick pile of bird and bat feces, museum officials said.


All Wildlife Removal in Frederick, Md., is cleaning up the building, said Museum Treasurer Frank Schaller.

The Town of Sharpsburg is picking up the $1,900 tab for All Wildlife to remove the bats, close the holes, remove the feces and insulation, treat the building and provide a five-year guarantee it will be free of bats, Schaller said.

All Wildlife will install temporary trapdoors in the holes so the bats can fly out, but not back in, before sealing the holes with wood and metal, Schaller said.

Museum members, thinking the bats had left for good last winter, plugged the holes with screening, said Museum President Blair Williamson. But the bats reappeared last spring.

The station had been vacant for about six years before the museum began leasing it from Sharpsburg for $1 a year three years ago. Eventually, the station is to house a museum and model train layouts.

It appears the bats have set up a maternity colony in the train station, said Glenn Therres, supervisor of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources' biodiversity program.

Therres hasn't inspected the station, but from a description of the bats' habits, he said it appears they are not using the station for winter hibernation.

That means a state-licensed professional pest control service does not need a special permit to remove the bats between September and early spring, Therres said.

Bats, like any bird, mammal, reptile or amphibian native to Maryland, are protected by state law, he said.

Museum officials presented the problem to Sharpsburg's Mayor and Town Council on Sept. 11.

Council members voted 5-0 to fund the $1,900 cost of hiring a professional.

The town also is helping the museum apply for grants after museum officials encountered problems because they don't own the building, Schaller said.

The museum has only $1,000 in its checking account and needs an estimated $35,000 to $40,000 to complete the renovation, Schaller said.

So far, the museum has spent about $5,000, Schaller said.

Museum members scraped off lead paint, primed, painted and had professionals reinstall the windows, he said.

The group plans to build a handicapped-accessible bathroom and ramp, and redo the indoor walls, Schaller said.

Museum officials said the bats haven't held up the renovation much because members have been working on the building's exterior.

The Herald-Mail Articles