VA: Hampton's Desire for Vintage Streetcar No. 390 Comes Home

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VA: Hampton's Desire for Vintage Streetcar No. 390 Comes Home
Posted by daveklepper on Tuesday, March 27, 2018 1:12 AM
 
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VA: Hampton's Desire for Vintage Streetcar No. 390 Comes Home

LISA VERNON SPARKS ON MAR 26, 2018 
SOURCE: MCCLATCHY
 

March 25--Hampton's desire to have vintage streetcar No. 390 on display to transport residents back in time is chugging merrily along.

The 390 Streetcar Project, a local group led by Gregory Siegel to restore the trolley, received a boost last week from the Hampton City Council, which approved placing it permanently in front of the Hampton History Museum once restoration efforts are completed.

In addition, the council has agreed to match $40,000 toward restoration costs to support a fund-raising campaign that has been under way since the antique trolley returned to Hampton last summer.

Getting final approval for the museum location, between the public parking garage and The Heritage at Settlers Landing Apartments, was an important juncture to pass, as the group continues with its restoration goals and designing a pavilion to enclose it.

"We asked if the city would contribute to the cost of restoration. We are bringing back history to the city," Siegel said. "We are inside the tunnel now. It' s nice to watch the process and it's really great to see the excitement about it."

The trolley, built in 1917 is the last of 42 streetcars which connected Newport News and Hampton between 1918 and 1946. No. 390 is also one of two remaining semi-convertible models in the United States, according to city historians. Its estimated restoration is pegged at $175,000, but that number is fluid, Siegel said.

"That's a good rough estimate. That's where we want to come in," Siegel said.

Siegel and his team for the past four years have raised several thousand dollars, applied for various grants and hosted open house programs on Fort Monroe, where the trolley is housed, to engage the public, generate support and show everyone what the streetcar looks like.

The $40,000 match approved by council will be factored into the fiscal year 2019 budget, officials said.

Going forward, the group plans to hire Q Design PLC of Fort Monroe to design a pavilion with glass sides. The enclosure will display the 54-foot by 9-foot wide mass-transit vehicle, which would rest on a concrete slab.

The back half of the pavilion would have space and placards for exhibits to show the relationship between the growth of the neighborhood and the citizens during the streetcar era, Siegel said.

"We wanted people to go into the car and through the magic of iPad, we want to take them on a tour of the city back in the1940s to show the vibrancy of the city and where their parents played... through the neighborhoods," Siegel said. "In the evening hours, we want to have a double lighting so when you pass it you'll see a soft lighting and it will be visible at night."

The 390 Streetcar Project teamed up with the Hampton History Museum Association to help with the restoration efforts. For more than three decades previously, it had sat in storage at the Baltimore Streetcar Museum.

The trolley was decommissioned in the late 1940s and later, a York County family purchased it and lived in it for many years before it was sold.

Luci Cochran, the Hampton History Museum's executive director, said in addition to it being a unique piece of history, she commends the group for pulling the project together.

"I would say the most significant development is getting the car to Hampton when people can see it," Cochran said. "If you just have some interesting old photograph, people can't imagine what a great asset it will be."

 

She added the display complements other attractions in downtown Hampton.

"It just has a great presence, this really large piece of equipment that everyone rode on," she said. "We have great assets, we don't always link them. The more you add, the more people feel there is something to do. It creates a campus you can walk from one place to another."

The next open house for 390 Streetcar Project will take place April 28 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., in Building 57, Patch Road, Fort Monroe.

Additional information about the streetcar is available by calling the Hampton History Museum at 757-727-1610

Vernon Sparks can be reached by phone at 757-247-4832

___ (c)2018 the Daily Press (Newport News, Va.) Visit the Daily Press (Newport News, Va.) at www.dailypress.com Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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