GALLIPOLIS — Gallipolis Railroad Freight Station Museum board members recently addressed the Gallipolis City Commission with ongoing updates as to a project restoring an old freight station building on Third Avenue into a working area attraction.
“If you’d stop in the station now, a gentleman’s coming and has started installing heating and cooling systems for the two bathrooms that are framed up,” said Gallipolis Railroad Freight Station Museum Vice-President Jerry Davis. “We’ve passed all of our inspections so they’re ready to go. We hope to get the heating and cooling unit in for the office and get all that insulated. Hopefully, late summer or early winter we’ll have the office at the station open. We’re not technically open but any time we’re over there we have people stop and we take them through.”
Davis said in the spring around 300 school students had been taken through the facility.
The museum has also been in talks with the Transportation Alternative Program with the Federal Highway Department in hopes of gaining around $625,000 in funding to restore some of its properties, including a former circus passenger car, a caboose, a locomotive and more.
“We had to fill out an application and send it the end of December,” said Davis,” to even be approved to submit a grant for funding. We worked hard on that and we were delighted and approved to be able to submit a grant to the TAP administration. If we were to get that, it would help us get the rest of station together; heating, cooling, insulation and be ready to open the museum part. It would also allow us to restore the circus car.”
The 10-by-86 foot former Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey’s circus car was placed on rails outside of the museum July 9.
“We also have a Baltimore and Ohio caboose and a Baltimore and Ohio boxcar that’s been donated to us,” said Davis of yet to appear attractions. “We’re very much interested in hoping we can achieve everything. We want to make the museum an educational center and we’ve had people ask us if we can make it so the cars could have parties, receptions and things like that. So, we want to try and accommodate that.”
Museum representatives asked if the city would approve a fund to hold money for potentially federally-approved grant money to be processed through the city’s financial records as per grant needs for the museum. The museum would utilize the money on its own and the city would serve as a type of mediating agent.
Commissioners approved the fund’s creation.
Dean Wright can be reached at 740-446-2342.