BONSAL, N.C. (WNCN) — A historic train depot that contributed to the growth of a Chatham County town is getting a face-lift.
The North Carolina Railway Museum, home to the New Hope Valley Runway (NHVR), received a $3,500 national grant to help restore the 1884 Goldston Depot, a news release from the museum said.
The grant was awarded by the National Railway Historical Society, which is the United States’ longest operating organization dedicated to preserving and restoring railway equipment.
The depot was gifted and moved to the museum’s rail yard in August 2017.
Renovations are necessary as the museum aims to teach visitors about historic Goldston. Funds will go toward interior work including electrical wiring, chimney repair, masonry, woodwork, exterior drainage, and decking. Once complete, it will eventually store and display railroad artifacts and memorabilia.
“Our goal is for visitors to our museum and vintage railway to experience a historic, small-town depot that once served a short-line railroad in our state,” said Chris Tilley, president of the North Carolina Railway Museum. “One of the most interesting artifacts of the depot that we’re preserving is the handwritten messages on the interior wall left by railroad employees, townspeople and others passing through Goldston, N.C. more than 100 years ago.”
The old train depot originally served the community of Goldston from 1884 to 1973. In the mid-1970s, the building was saved from demolition by Goldston resident Jerry Gaines, who moved it a few blocks away and used it for storage for many years. Jerry’s son, Todd Gaines, then gifted the 23’ x 58’ building to the railway in 2017 so it could be restored.
The $3,500 grant is the starting point of more than $25,000 additional funds the museum estimates are needed to finish restorations. Once donations and final permits are secured, Tilley says 500-600 volunteer labor hours will be necessary to complete the work, which the organization hopes to finish in time for its operating season in April 2021.
“Grants, donations, and passengers on our tourist railway enable our all-volunteer organization to not only preserve railroad history but to keep the spirit of railroading alive in the Triangle and beyond,” said Tilley. “The NRHS Heritage Grant recognizes the historical significance and importance of preserving the Goldston Depot.”
Anyone interested in making a donation may visit www.triangletrain.com/donate, send a check to the museum’s mailing address 5121 Daisey St., P.O. Box 40, New Hill, NC 27562 or bring a check to the ticket office during ride days. The museum asked that you designate that donations are intended for the Goldston Depot.
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