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From: mdelvec952 AT aol DOT com
Date: Sat, 14 Dec 2013 21:53:21 -0500 (EST)
Subject: So long, Kip Hagan
"Tri-State_F3_Scranton_6-17-18-2010_023_Kip_Hagan.jpg" - image/jpeg, 1183x2752 (24bit)

Words fail.

I never pass such news without verification. And from the vestibule of our snowy Santa Train this afternoon I saw a note from Steamtown's preservation specialist Mike Tillger. The news is so sadly true that Kip Hagan has passed.

Harold "Kip" Hagan was as good a friend to railroad preservation as anyone. Rare among National Parks is a Superintendent with local roots. He was a Scranton native, more than once relaying to me his boyhood stories about his family's lumberyard in town, watching the Lackawanna's diesels bringing in railcars, and later EL. While we were proposing to bring F3s to Steamtown and to paint them in the Lackawanna freight scheme, he listened. I watched as he looked the pictures from the 1940s of freight-painted F3s and FTs in those very shop buildings and working along steam in the yards. His face glowed, and he saw the message that the steam-era F3s conveyed. He believed in us to get the job done. We got the job done, and he was pleased. There is more to do, and we will do it. It's tough to convey in writing just how friendly and supportive Kip was as a person. He had a way of keeping everyone around him at ease.

Kip Hagen as the Supterintendent of Steamtown was the right man in the right place at the right time for the right reasons. He had enough years in the NPS system to learn the ropes of management and how get money through the giant NPS system. He chose Scranton as the place to finish his NPS career. Kip believed in the Steamtown message, continuing the work of his predecessors. Kip's experience in the NPS system allowed him to conquer many capital projects, the biggest of which may be that Steamtown has one of the best-equipped steam shops in North America, and a sound structure in which to house it.

Kip was also a big supporter of the archive project, and welcomed the Lackawanna Chief Engineer's files that the Tri-State Chapter NRHS had been caring for and housing for more than 20 years. Kip was pleased that Tri-State and other volunteers were logging thousands of hours cataloging what was more than an acre of file boxes and rolled maps. The success of that effort attracted the Lackawanna glass plate negatives and other historic photo and railroad paper archives making Steamtown one of the leading sources for research about anthracite-region railiroading. Historian Pat McKnight's great work is well-known to us all. Kip is his boss and supporter.

Kip's successor has some busy shoes to fill. The things I'll remember most about Kip are his contagious smile and his optimism. The things I'll regret most are not completing a couple of letters to him about some successes and future endeavors.

This is such a tough blow to those of us outside of the NPS who knew and worked with him. Our prayers are with Donna, his family and the entire Steamtown NHS team.

The photo is from 2010 at one of our F3 work sessions.

Words fail.

....Mike Del Vecchio

Tri-State Chapter NRHS


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