orangeleader.com (Orange, Texas)

November 30, 2013

Making a gateway to historic Orange

Dawn Burleigh
The Orange Leader

ORANGE — Christmas is coming early for the old train depot.

A newly established non-profit group, Friends of the Orange Depot, are planning to purchase the depot.

Carrie Woliver, author of The Train Stopped in Orange, said the organization is to help raise funds for the renovations for the Southern Pacific Railroad Depot on Green Avenue.

The final paperwork could be completed in the coming week according to Woliver. An exact date was not available at time of publication.

The depot, dating back to 1902, has not been in use in decades.

“This is a big project,” Woliver said during a phone interview. “We want to do this for the people of the city of Orange.”

Woliver 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 .

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.

“In my grandparents day, the depot was known as the gateway to Orange,” Woliver said. “I would like to make it the gateway to the historic district of Orange.”

The group plans to host a press conference in January for the public with the date and time to be announced closer to the actual event.

“We would like to have a museum,” Woliver said. “We are working together to get ideas right now.”

J. Rob Clark with Architectural Alliance, Inc., Beaumont, has worked with the group since March.

Woliver said that to get ideas for the drawings the firm had people looking in the rafters and scraping back paint to discover the original color inside.

“He was able to give us so much information and ideas,” Woliver said.

Architectural Alliance, Inc. has also worked for the Port of Orange and the Stark Foundation according to the website.

“We are so excited about this project,” Clark said in a phone interview. “The depot is such a nice asset to kick-off the downtown area.”

Clark said the building is in good condition compared to other jobs they have helped restore.