Friday, November 2, 2012

Gold Mine of Research Material

Roster shot at the General Foods and Lipton facilities in the yard at about 15th Street. (Photo from Webb & Knapp's Hoboken Shore Railroad real estate brochure, collection of the author)

It pays to keep an ear to the ground - or in my case an eye to eBay. I stumbled upon a gold mine of information in one of my weekly fishing expeditions at eBay. I have a set of terms I regularly search for on eBay having to do with railroading and other research interests, and they will sometimes turn up an amazing item.

View from Lipton Building at about 15th Street of the yard. The building to the lower right is the engine and general shop of the HBS, and the complext of buildings in the center background is the Bethlehem Steel Company's Shipyard Division between about 12th and 14th Streets. (Photo from Webb & Knapp's Hoboken Shore Railroad real estate brochure, collection of the author)
This time it was a real estate report from the owners of the Hoboken Shore Railroad generated in or around 1955 for what appears to be the sale of the entire holdings of both the Hoboken Shore Railroad and the parent company, the Hoboken Railroad, Warehouse and Steamship Connecting Co. It appears that the owners of 100% of the stock in both companies, Webb &Knapp, Inc. of 383 Madison Ave., New York, were shopping the railroad around and generated a very detailed report of the assets, operating procedures and other general bits of information.

The photos alone were worth the price of acquisition, as they provide so many details for modeling the yard and surrounding buildings. An interesting item is the tank car at the center of the overview photo and left foreground of the roster shot. Notice that the rails leading to the track it is sitting on have been removed. This guy has been put into service as a fuel tank, and I guess they have no plans to move it - ever.You bet he will show up on the layout, as well as the operating requirement to refuel before beginning the day's work.

A fold out map of the entire property and trackage. Too bad it is small, but it still is extremely useful! (map from Webb & Knapp's Hoboken Shore Railroad real estate brochure, collection of the author)
Included is a packet from the Fifty-second Annual Dinner of the Hoboken Chamber of Commerce at the Unio Club on February 5th 1956. the packet includes a plan of the table arrangement, seating assignments and listing of attendees by name and company. John H. Lerbs, Vice President of the HBS was President of the Chamber and Herbert I. Silverson, Vice President of Webb & Knapp, Inc. was a guest. Both were on the main dais with about 10 others from the railroad at a table just adjacent to the dais.

At some point I will scan the entire contents and post, as well as offer a copy to the Hoboken Historical Museum. I also managed to get a similar document for the 16th Street Pier from the same source that I will scan and post at some point, too.

Happy, happy research geek am I this month!

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