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Guilderland Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, August 14, 2008

Raising funds to restore the train station
Antiques Railroad Show comes to Altamont

By Chloe Mister

ALTAMONT — Have you ever wondered the background of that set of china that has been in your family for decades? Or what stories the old documents you found in the attic hold? You might have an antique on your hands.

On Sept. 13, the library is holding a fund-raiser at the Village of Altamont Community Room to support the renovation of its new home the Altamont train station. On hand will be Andy Geller and David Ornstein of New Scotland Antiques. Between 7 and 8 p.m., Geller and Ornstein will give an informal appraisal of items brought in by people.

Ornstein encourages people to bring in items even if they are unsure of what they have. “Bring it in, we’ll decide its value,” he said.

A table will be set up to display items and the two business partners will spend at most two minutes appraising each item. “If it’s something we’ve seen before, we’ll know the value. If it’s not something we’ve seen then we will research it,” said Ornstein.

However, it is rare that is the instance. “We usually will get 100 to 200 items and one or two we will have to look up,” said Ornstein. Geller and Ornstein have been in the antiques business for 30 years. The two have seen antiquities as rare as letters from Teddy Roosevelt and John Hancock.

The fund-raiser will be held to raise money to help renovate the old train station for its unveiling as the new library. The library’s board of trustees purchased the train station in July 2005. The train station, built in 1897 as part of the Delaware and Hudson Railroad, is on the National Register of Historic Places.

The library is currently housed in the basement of the Key Bank, across the village green from the train station at the center of Altamont. There is no natural light in the bank’s basement and it is not accessible to those with handicaps.

“The main thing is that it is not disabled accessible,” said Elaine Clark, who serves on the Altamont Library Board.

A move to the renovated train station will allow accessibility and service to the entire community. Clark, who is a librarian, spoke of the historic building and its upcoming facelift.

“We are going to have it restored to its original glory,” she said. Nobody preserves these things anymore. It will be upgraded according to the standards of natural preservation.” 

The event will also serve as a celebration of Altamont’s history. On display will be original artifacts from when the train station served railway passengers commuting to Albany. Other artifacts from the village’s history will also be on display. Additionally, the trustees will bake desserts from Altamont’s apple crop.

The board is inviting citizens to bring memorabilia for display, especially anything related to the railroad. “We’re going to have the ticket-taker booth from when it was an original railroad,” Clark said.

The cost is $10, and everyone is invited to come out even if they don’t have an item to be appraised.

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