orangeleader.com (Orange, Texas)

Local News

January 11, 2014

Orange Train Depot to return to former glory

ORANGE — It’s new beginning for the Orange Southern Pacific Railroad Depot located at the entrance of downtown Orange on Green Ave. and 11th Street.

The location was known as the Gateway to Orange and the Friends of the Orange Depot hope it will now be known as the gateway to the Orange Historic district.

“This is s special day for the city and the area,” Orange Mayor Jimmy Sims said during a press conference on Wednesday.

Carrie Woliver, author of The Train Stopped in Orange, has worked on a plan for the train depot since seeing the station in it’s current state when she returned to Orange for a book-signing.

“This is a very exciting for myself and my husband,” Woliver said. “We purchased the depot and gave it to Friends of the Orange Depot.

A picture of the depot is used for the cover of her book based on the 1917 diaries of her grandparents, Will and Pearl Joiner.

The Joiners lived one block from the Southern Pacific Train Depot in 1917, which was always teeming with activity when the train stopped in Orange.

Woliver hopes the train depot will once again see activity with the proposed restorations.

Friends of the Orange Depot is a non-profit organization founded by Woliver and her husband, Ron, for the purpose of raising funds for restoration to the depot as well as operating costs once the work is completed.

“The one thing we learned when we started asking about the depot, was that Orange wanted it saved,” Woliver said. “We formed the non-profit to raise the necessary funds.”

The group wants the building to be a multi-use building including a museum, conference room, and a gift shop.

“We want the community to be able to use and be proud of it,” Woliver said.

Clark said he had seen the building for years as he traveled to Orange for work on other historic buildings in the area.

“It’s the first thing we would see as we traveled to Orange,” Clark said. “I would ask ‘Do they have any idea what they have here?’ It is a hub, a focal point of the city. The building is magnificent. It has more elegance than any we have worked on.”

Clark said the building says one has arrived in Orange and with the location it opens the staging of the three historical districts of Orange.

Former Orange Mayor Brown Claybar said the project is really exciting.

“We hope the community will catch the vision and what the project can do for us as a community,” Claybar said.

Fundraising goal for the restoration and subsequent operations expenses has been set at $600,000. An account has been established at First Financial Bank in Orange for donations.

A fundraising event will be announced in the next month to six weeks.

Our project will continue the revitalization of downtown Orange,” Woliver said. “With the help of everyone in the community, we will benefit from its restoration, now and in the future.”

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