A Brief History of the AC&Y
Since its inception in 1993, the AC&Y Historical Society has amassed a substantial collection of original records, maps, timetables, drawings, diagrams and images, plus physical AC&Y items and artifacts. The By-Laws spell out the purpose of the Society, which is namely preservation of the AC&Y for future generations. We can proudly say the AC&Y (including the A&BB) is one of the better-documented Class I "fallen flag" railroads in the Nation. The bulk of the collection, which dates to 1918, was donated by Norfolk Southern having been stored in Roanoke for many years. Other materials were donated by members and friends of the AC&Y. In several cases, the Society acquired collections of great historic value. For example, the A&BB track diagrams, considered extremely rare, were purchased by the Society. Most of the images in the Society collection were graciously loaned or donated and were digitally scanned by a professional lab at high resolutions.
It was clear to the Society Officers this past year that the Society's ability to provide traditional member services was greatly diminished. The decision was made to migrate to a manageable online model. The lack of volunteer resources also made it clear that something had to be done with the Society Archive. While It had been centralized at the Akron Global Accelerator more than three years ago, it was not organized in a user-friendly manner. Most were unfamiliar with the Archive contents or how to access them. So, while the collection was finally in a central Akron location, it was seldom used.
During the fall of 2013, several options were explored with respect to placing the collection at an outside archive facility. We consulted with other railroad historical societies who have similar needs and who had conducted similar facility evaluations. The decision was made to place the Society Archive collection with the University of Akron (Archival Services). For those who are unfamiliar with this resource, UofA has an excellent facility in downtown Akron (the former Polsky department store). Our reasoning / justification was also based on UofA's current AC&Y record holdings donated to UofA when the AC&Y was still an independent Akron-based railroad. We are also assured the UofA Archive is focused on holding collections that are central to Akron's history. The AC&Y collection fits well with this mandate. Provisions of the agreement allow the Society to review materials that might not fit these criteria.
In early January 2014, we began the process of relocating the collection (thanks to all who helped with this transfer). About 85% of the collection (approximately 70+ boxes) was moved over a ten day period. It was more a challenge than expected. We're satisfied that it will be well cared for, accessible, and provide those who have interest a first-rate research resource, both for study of the AC&Y / A&BB and the industrialization of greater Akron. More-so, the transfer to UofA meets the understanding we had with Norfolk Southern in the original release to the Society... that the collection eventually reside within a professional archive repository. We still have remaining work with our extensive image collection and other materials, most historically significant and with great value. In particular, the image collection needs to be better cared for and reconciled.
To learn more, visit the AC&Y Railroad collection comes to UA online.