The Dansville Online
  • Dansville library features exhibit on D&MM railroad

  • An opening reception in the Dansville library’s community room April 12 celebrated the history and preservation of the Dansville & Mt. Morris corporate records.

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  • It was just business as usual: what was shipped, what was received and when as well as company expenses were logged, then wrapped in brown paper, tied and bundled. They were then placed in a dry area for safe keeping.
    For the outside world, those records were forgotten and assumed lost. But Bob Hart, owner of the Dansville and Mt. Morris Railroad for 25 years, and still owner of the its depot between Battle and Franklin streets, had kept them safely stored in the depot’s second-story attic and some of its first floor offices.
    The 88-year-old Hart was about ready to throw the papers in the dumpster, but local and state preservationists put the kabosh to that idea.
    Like collectors who discover antiques in an attic, those pristinely kept railroad records, some dating back to the 1890s, are a treasure trove to historians and railroad buffs.
    It took Livingston County historian Amie Alden and a crew from?SUNY?Geneseo two weeks to sort out and catalogue what would end up being 48 boxes worth of records, which had already been nicely labeled.
    “Because things were labeled and marked, it was the only reason why I was able to take them,”?Alden said. Otherwise, “It would have taken years to figure out what was there.”
    Now the public can view a snippet of those records in the Dansville Public Library.
    An opening reception in the library’s community room April 12 celebrated the history and preservation of those railroad’s records.
    “The greatest thing in the world was when the college...stepped in here a year ago last August and said they wanted the records,” Hart said.
    Copies of just a few of these papers are being displayed.
    For those wishing to view the display, they have been moved from the community room to the top shelves of the library’s non-fiction section for exhibit.
    Originals are being digitized at SUNY?Geneseo, and will be made available at Livingston County Historians’ Office for researchers.
    In addition to the records, several Express articles on the depot have been preserved and are on display as well.

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