Your continued support made 2013 another outstanding year for our association, one of the busiest in our organization’s history. All this culminated in our 75th Anniversary Banquet and Program, a memorable event for all who attended.
January 25 – A Tribute to the North Shore Line (Jeff Wien)
February 22 – A Potpourri of Traction (Mark Walbrun)
March 22 – The South Side “L” (Bruce Moffat)
April 26 – Illusion Travels by Streetcar (movie)
May 24 – Chicago Cable Cars: A Forgotten But Important Story (Greg Borzo)
June 28 – Bill Hoffman’s Unedited Movies of the Chicago Rapid Transit Lines in the 1940s and 1950s (Jeff Wien and the Wien-Criss Archive)
September 21 (75th Anniversary Banquet and Program) – Rare North Shore Line Movies 1941-62 (Walter Keevil)
September 27 – Midwest Traction In Vintage Films From the 1930s and 40s (Harvey Laner)
October 25 – A Round Trip on the Liberty Bell Limited (movies)
November 22 – South Shore in the ’70s- The Little Train That Did (movies)
December 27 – Texas Electric and the Journey to DART (Mark Walbrun)
We began charging non-members a $5 admission at our monthly program meetings, starting in September. There has been no adverse effect on attendance. Our special thanks again to the presenters for their time, photography, and detailed knowledge of their topics.
September 21: Trolley Sparks Special #1 edited by John Marton
Our special 75th Anniversary book was well received by our members, and sold out within two months of release. It is an excellent retrospective and also serves as a great “calling card” for CERA. We thank John Marton for all his efforts in putting the book together and making it such a success.
We are hard at work on Chicago Streetcar Pictorial: The PCC Car Era, 1936-1958 (B-146), which is being produced entirely in-house, with important contributions from many CERA members. It will be published in Spring 2014. John Nicholson, David Sadowski, and Jeffrey Wien are the editors.
Starting in February, we published 94 posts on the new CERA Members Blog (www.cerablog.com), including more than 1500 images, and received 75,073 individual page views. The response from our members has been very encouraging and overwhelmingly positive.
The Blog has become an important part of our outreach effort to find new members. As a result, we have reversed a long-term decline in membership, and expect to see a small increase by the end of 2014. Our goal is to bring CERA’s membership back up to historic levels, and we can do this, with a sustained and continued effort.
In the Digital Age, our Blog extends the reach of CERA’s publishing activities beyond the limitations of the printed page, reaching a younger audience of railfans in ways that were impossible just a few short years ago.
You can save CERA the cost of sending you “snail mail” by subscribing to the CERA Members Blog, and then letting us know that this is how you would prefer to receive news updates.
At our April meeting, the Board voted to establish the CERA Archives, “to collect, solicit, acquire and maintain an Archive of materials relating to CERA’s mission of educating the public about the history and operations of electric railways; and that such a collection will be organized by an official CERA Archivist and made available to researchers, all in conjunction with the stated purposes of the organization.” This includes artifacts, photographs, negatives, slides, digital images and documents. David Sadowski was appointed CERA Archivist.
CERA is willing to accept donations of such materials, which can include collections assembled by individuals, or specific items. Donations to our Archives may be tax-deductible, since CERA is a 501(c)(3) organization.
As a way of improving communications with our members, CERA has begun including “CERA News” on the back of the monthly program mailing. This has been very well received and will continue.
Used Book Exchange:
We often receive requests for out-of-print CERA bulletins, and we know there are many of our members who have books they no longer need. Therefore, we have created the CERA Used Book Exchange. The first list of used books that are available will be distributed with the February program information, both by mail, and through the CERA Members Blog. Thanks to your generous donations of used books, we will find new homes for them, and this will make an important contribution to funding CERA’s programs and services.
The Board singled out two longtime members for special recognition at the 75th Anniversary Banquet. Myles Jarrow, (#23), received the Founder’s Award, while Ray DeGroote (#1470) was honored with the Service Award.
If you have already renewed your CERA membership, we thank you for your continued support. If you have not yet renewed, the January mailing will be your last from CERA – don’t miss out, renew your membership for another great year. You can renew your membership online through our web site, using either PayPal or your credit card, or mail us a check.
2014 is CERA’s 76th year. Let’s show everyone that we still have the “Spirit of ’76!”
-Your CERA Directors
PS- We thank all our 2013 Contributing and Sustaining members for their contributions to CERA. We also note with regret the passing of several CERA members. You can view this list here.