The Sunshine Trolley may never come to Hamburg again, and that’s too bad because you’d be waiting in style for it.
Construction of an old-time, three-legged, post-and-beam wooden trolley stop near the flag pole at Clark and Buffalo streets is almost complete. It’s reminiscent of the Sunshine Trolley, which began connecting the village with Buffalo in 1901 and went right by the new stop.
The trolley stop will finish a small green area created during the construction of the roundabout at Clark, Buffalo and Legion Drive. So it’s fitting that the idea for the stop came from members of Imagine Hamburg, which is the successor to the Route 62 Committee that influenced the installation of the roundabouts during the Main Street construction.
Dale Neseman, a member of the Imagine Hamburg group, and a friend were looking at the green space several years ago, and they thought it needed a gazebo or a similar structure. They were thinking they could get some supplies at the local big-box hardware store and put it up over a weekend.
They brought the idea to Imagine Hamburg, where it morphed into a replica of a stop for a trolley that ran through the intersection. Several years and $25,000 later, the group has a unique structure sure to become a local landmark.
“We got a lot of help along the way to make it look the way it does,” Neseman said. “It became a very, very big job.”
Imagine Hamburg talked to Kurt Allen, supervising code enforcement officer for Hamburg, who looked at the plans and saw the potential for timber-frame construction. He called Chip Spittler, an expert in post-and-beam, timber-frame work.
“Timber-frame joinery is very labor intensive,” Allen said. “He did it in his free time over the course of nearly two years.”
Spittler completed the project as a memorial for his father, Donald J. “Duke” Spittler, of Lake View, a retired Army Reserve colonel and wildlife biologist who was dedicated to serving the community and who died in 2010. Duke Spittler also was the longtime chairman of the town Conservation Advisory Board and a member of the town Planning Board.
“It’s not a traditional four-legged structure. It’s supported by three columns, which create some engineering challenges,” Allen said.
He came up with the foundation, and the frame that Spittler had worked on was erected at the end of June. Volunteers have stained the wood and the composite slate roof is the last item to be installed. Then bricks will be laid on the sidewalk and under the roof, landscaping will be done, lights will be installed and benches placed.
Rich and luxurious, the stop is, “a piece of furniture,” according to Neseman.
While the group spent about $25,000 in donations raised over several years, all the in-kind donations and volunteer work bring the value to about $250,000, Allen said.