Train station to store historyBy Jon Mays
The Burlingame Historical Society signed a letter of intent to move into the Burlingame Avenue train station Caltrain abandoned last spring.
The lease deal, set to be signed in approximately two weeks, provides for free rent as long as the society maintains the historical building, said Russ Cohen, president of the Burlingame Historical Society.
The soonest the society could move in to create a historical museum is this summer, Cohen estimates. The primary challenge, he said, was raising money for maintenance and operations. Overall, though, Cohen said the lease agreement is a natural fit -- one he is extremely pleased with.
"I'm very, very excited to have a space dedicated for Burlingame and Hillsborough history," he said.
Currently, the society has storage in a small building in Washington Park, but no space for meetings or displays. It often has displays in City Hall or the library and has meetings wherever space is available. With the new building, that will change, Cohen said.
The building, one of the city's oldest if not the oldest, first opened for service on Oct. 10, 1894. It was funded by the Burlingame Country Club and is one of the few train stations on the Caltrain line not designed by an in-house architect.
Through recent years, the station lost business as fewer people went inside to buy tickets or wait. Mechanized vending machines slowly replaced live ticket vendors until Caltrain made it official in May 2004. It was then that Cohen began thinking about the opportunity.
"It was all a pipe dream," he said.
The society has approximately 300 members. For more information or to donate go to www.burlingamehistorical.org or call 349-6930.
Copyright ©2005 San Mateo Daily Journal. Published 01/03/2005.