The Yakima Valley Trolley Museum has received a grant and an opportunity to secure a second for infrastructure improvements. These grants will be used to restore Brill Trolley car #160 and repair a section of overhead wire that was damaged by a truck last summer.

A grant of $30,000 from the Federal government will support the reconstruction of the wire from this accident. That grant was awarded through the City of Yakima by the Yakima County Development Association. The repairs will ensure the trolley will be able to run to Selah again next summer and if you have never taken the trip you should. It's clanky good fun and a real reenactment of history.

The Trolley Museum was recently awarded $150,000 in the form of a Heritage Capital Grant from the State of Washington, administered by the Washington State Historical Society. The grant supports the total reconstruction to like-new condition of a rare Brill trolley car of the type that first ran in Yakima in 1908. Yakima Valley Trolley acquired the car in 2019, and it is one of only five of that type left in the country but there is a catch.

State Heritage Capital funds are obligated by the Legislature under the condition they be matched with public, local, or federal funds. The grant match contingency is important to the State Historical Society because it challenges the overall viability of the grantee organization while demonstrating community acceptance of the local museum group and their mission. The match is necessary, but it is also daunting according to Dr. Johnsen, who says, “It’s a tough hill to climb, but we are up to the challenge.”

Members of the Board and friends of the Yakima Valley Trolleys have pledged matching support over the coming months for donations received between now and July 1, 2021, in an effort to the reach the goal of $150,000. Financial support from the public is critical in meeting this deadline. The website has been redesigned with a safer, more user-friendly, means of accepting donation via the web. President Johnsen invited guests to see the changes by visiting www.yakimavalleytrolleys.org.

The board is also exploring ways to make the museum more inviting for women and young people. Anne Hatch, Crystal Knoblaugh, and Rudy and Levi Oberlander are just four examples of the future of the organization. Ms. Hatch has directed the “Save the Trolleys Hot Rod and Antique Car Show” for the past five years. This contingent of young people, led by the Oberlanders, will keep the cars looking and running their best for years to come.

Government imposed restrictions, due to the Novel Coronavirus, have serious hampered the Trolley organization’s ability to raise necessary operational funds through the normal collection of trolley fares, according to board executive Dr. Kenneth Johnsen. The lack of ridership due to mandatory shutdowns has caused the group, composed entirely of volunteers, to find new avenues of income to make up for the shortfall.

Anne Lantis Hatch
Townsquare Media / John Taylor
Townsquare Media / John Taylor