Orange Train Depot receives historical marker

Published 11:58 am Saturday, March 9, 2019

By Dawn Burleigh

The Orange Leader


Orange Train Depot has seen a new life since Carrie Woliver and her husband took on spearheading the fundraising for the restoration of the building after so many years of deteriorating.

Carrie Wolliver, an author, speaks at the Historical Marker event

“We have all expressed concern that someone needs to do something with that building,” Betty Harmon said during the introductions at the ceremony held on Thursday evening. “An angel came to us from out of town.”

Woliver grew up in Orange and now resides in Houston.

She returned to Orange at the release of her book The Train Stopped in Orange: A Captivating Family History Revealed through 1917 Texas Diaries.

Woliver, with her husband, Ron, purchased the building and founded the non-profit organization – Friends of the Orange Depot (FOOD).

Jerry Pennington speaks at the event

Judge Jerry Pennington spoke on the significance of the occasion

“111 years ago when it first opened, there are no documents or photos of a ceremony such as this,” Pennington said. “I am sure there was. I can see Mayor Link standing outside while the Orange Brass Band performed.”

Pennington gave a short history of events the building stood through since 1908 when it opened its doors making Orange open to America and America could now come to Orange.

“They could never have known the future of this building,” Pennington said. “I am grateful someone came along with a vision and drive to repurpose the building to what it is and will become.”

Because Mayors would have attended such an event in 1908, the non-profit organization, as well as the Orange County Historical Commission, made a special effort to ensure Orange Mayor Larry Spears Jr. would be able to attend.

“I believe you [FOOD] have started a trend in Orange,” Spears said. “There is a positive movement in Orange. You pushed us towards the positive movement today. Thank you.”

Spears read a proclamation declaring March 7, 2019, as Orange Depot Day in the City of Orange.

According to the historical marker, from 1908 – 1974, the Orange Train Depot served Southern Pacific Rail Company cars passing through Orange. Prior to this time, transportation by road and water was unreliable and unsafe which inhibited the growth of Orange at the time.