A year ago last summer, the proud Chesapeake & Ohio Inspection Car, shown below in its honored place next to our Depot Museum, lay in pieces. Taken apart several years before by a long-time member, it had been cannibalized and left to rust away.
We feared the car would remain that way, none of us having the expertise to put it back together. Nor did the Society have the money to pay to have it done, or even know if it could be done. Enter Perry and Kevin Frye.
Father and son Inspection Car enthusiasts, with a passion for restoring them, the men volunteered to bring our little car back to life. And, they would charge us only for parts they couldn’t donate to us, or arrange for others to do the donating.
Mid-summer 2021, the battered, bare-bones skeleton of our little car, was taken away by Perry Frye, along with a heap of random parts that were still left.
The photo shows the shape our car was in when Perry, right, came to pick it up from the town garage where it had been stored for us.
The Fryes couldn’t give us a date when the car would be ready. All they could do was promise that they would bring back the car looking as good as in the first photo above, if not better. They did keep us posted as they worked with photos and updates as to what had been done.
Imagine our surprise, when in mid-January, Perry informed us our car was finished. He brought it to us on January 16th, after stopping off at Hoosier Valley Railroad Museum to actually run the car on the tracks, see photo below. At our site, the car must be a static display.
Perry and Kevin gave us the best gift ever as the Griffith Historical Society celebrates our 40th anniversary this year — they restored our Inspection Car to better shape than it was before. It now has front and back working lights, which were not on the car when it was donated some 40 years ago.
The car also has small brooms attached to the wheels to sweep off the rails while moving along, which was unknown to us. A broom is visible in the upright position on the left side of the car in the picture below.
For now the car will be kept off display until we can find a way to exhibit it without it being constantly exposed to the elements. However, we will be showing it off in the Griffith 4th of July Parade, and it will be on display at the Griffith Historical Society’s 40th Anniversary event up at the Depot, where it all began for us.
Watch our website for more information about the Anniversary event, which will, of course, include having the Depot, railcars and the Tower open to the public. Also on hand will be our Hess Express barrel train, among other fun things.
All of us at the Society will be forever grateful to Perry and Kevin Frye! Our beloved little car came home all in one piece for our 40th anniversary.