Restored Orange Depot ready for tours during May 7 Open house

Published 9:46 am Monday, April 24, 2017

Special to The Leader

After three years of fundraising, the Friends of the Orange Depot are proud to bring to the city of Orange the beautifully renovated Southern Pacific Depot, circa 1902. On Sunday, May 7, 2-5PM, everyone is invited to bring their families and enjoy the Depot Open House.

Guided tours will begin at 2:00PM and the official ceremony, with local dignitaries, board members, architects and contractors in attendance, will start at 2:15PM. During the entire afternoon there will be train rides, arts and crafts, raffle and tee shirt sales, entertainment and refreshments.

At 3:30PM, a dance troop from West Orange Stark Elementary School will perform in front of the depot, accompanied by a local DJ, Alex Murphy, who will be supplying music for the event.

Parking will be available on Elm St. and part of 11th, and overflow will be on a lot across the street from the depot, with entrance on Elm.

Sabine River Ford, who generously underwrote the kiddie train, will be displaying two of their trucks for all to see. Local businesses donated to the raffle benefitting the non-profit, namely First Financial Bank, a $300 Visa Card; Simon’s Outfitters, a new rod and reel; Richard Potter, a car or truck detailing; and Orange Community Players, Family Membership 2017-18; and a $100 Brick from the Friends of the Orange Depot. Tickets are $5.00 each or $20 for five, and are being sold before the event at Lookin’ Good Salon in Northway Center, or can be purchased by calling (409) 886-1970. Buyers do not have to be present to win.

During the tours, visitors will learn facts about the depot’s history and interesting details that the workers discovered during the demolition phase, see the built-in original Queen Anne desk, and original windows and wall markings that tell about the different phases of depot history.

Fundraising is continuing for the museum exhibits which will feature four industries that propelled Orange in the past century: railroad transportation, lumber, shipbuilding and petrochemicals. Since the building is designed to be a multi-purpose facility, there will be spaces in both large rooms to rent for meetings and special events.

There are still naming opportunities available for those who want to make a landmark gift toward the depot museum. The remaining three park benches can be named for $2,000, and the hallway (a Southern Pacific emblem has been placed in the floor), for $7,500. Industry exhibits for the museum can be named for $25,000 each. Multiple donors can combine their donations for these naming opportunities.

Those who purchased engraved bricks for the pathways will be able to see their bricks during the tour. Bricks are still for sale at $50 and $100 and can be purchased at the event, along with new spring green t-shirts.

Members of the Museum Committee are planning the exhibits now and will be accepting artifacts and memorabilia from the passenger train era. If you would like to donate an item, please notify any member at the event and someone will be glad to pick up the item at a convenient time. Or click to be contacted.