Justin Darlington and Tom Larson, students at Capital High School represent the most intensive work by that group on the trolley restoration project. Justin’s superior skills as a woodworker have made major contributions to the repair and reconstruction of damaged trolley parts and Tom’s work with electronic graphics featuring Helena Car # 3 has created a new dimension in preservation – the recordation of a historic artifact through 3-D mapping. These two young men have demonstrated a dedication to and respect for the trolley project that earns them our recognition.
If you work with schools you know that nothing gets done in a school without permission. Administrators are responsible for the daily details of what goes on and Walter Chancy, assistant principle at Capital High School, has carried the permission ball for the trolley project like a champion. Walter has been supportive and enthusiastic about the idea of this interactive learning project from the start. His leadership in this regard encouraged the Historic Preservation Commission tremendously and gave confidence to Capital High staff that the project had school support. Working with Walt has been a pleasure and we thank him most heartily.
Jeanne Tweeten and Joan Meyer, librarians at Capital High, were first approached by George Hoff to help with research on the trolley. The idea of expanding student participation grew from there and Jeanne and Joan latched on to the concept with intelligence and resolve. They helped obtain the General Mills grant that was crucial to getting the project on its way and their participation was an open channel to the school for a viable means of communication with our Commission and volunteers. They have organized, prompted, prodded and pleaded the case on behalf of the trolley restoration and are continuing to work with us on funding and planning. Our very special thanks to Joan and Jeanne for this effort.
Trolley # 3 is primarily a wooden structure and its restoration primarily involves working with wood. I’m telling you, if Bob Pierce had not said “Yes” to the idea of his woodshop students working on the trolley project the Historic Preservation Commission would still be removing parts on that machine rather than putting them back on. Few who saw the trolley two years ago gave its restoration much of a chance. Bob knew his business, knew what his students could do and committed his woodshop to working with us in taking on the project. Bob and his students have done a remarkable job and they continue to shape the rapidly unfolding story of Trolley # 3’s restoration. Bob, you are a hero in that story and we thank you.
Don Wolley, Scott Andrews and Bill Kaiser are the imagery and electronics wizards who give our 19th Century trolley car a 21st century aspect. Mr. Wooley worked with the Commission to prepare a 3-dimensional scan of the trolley. He allowed his students to work with engineers to set up the scanning machinery, then arranged to have special software installed at the school to work with the resulting data. Capital High School students were treated to a real-life situation involving cutting edge technology. Hundreds of student hours were devoted to preparing imagery from that data, including a virtual ‘fly through’ of the restored car.
Bill Kaiser and his students videotaped segments of the trolley project and have loaded them onto the school’s WEB site. Also on video and taped with student participation are interviews with the Italian immigrant family who lived in the trolleys purchased by a local rancher after the Helena streetcar system was retired in 1927.
Scott Andrew’s photography class routinely visits and records the trolley restoration. The trolley’s gnarly appearance, George Hoff’s inspirational character and the shop’s soaring views, all provide good photographic opportunities.
Using this old trolley and the activity around it, Mr. Wolley, Mr. Kaiser, Mr. Andrews and their students have provided us with very important promotional scenes of the ongoing restoration work as well as valuable historic recordation.
These teachers have created for their classes a unique and special experience, one that will truly last them a lifetime. Those of us looking back at High School – from an every increasing distance – realize how formative those years are, and that the teachers who guided us were ones who showed the most initiative, who had faith in the sparks of creativity and inspiration inside of us and who nurtured them regardless of the emotional and social overburden in which they lay buried. We are ever grateful to them as the Historic Preservation Commission is grateful for the support and commitment of these teachers we honor today. To them we say thank you on behalf of the entire community. _____________________________________________________