GALLIPOLIS — A load of train car rails were dropped at the old freight depot on Third Avenue Thursday as part of efforts to get the Gallipolis Train Station Museum outfitted with a track to place a donated caboose.
Nonprofit board members continue seeking ways to restore the location to place it on the National Historic Registry.
According to Board President Jim Love, Lightstone, the company which recently bought Gavin Plant from AEP, donated some old rails to be used at the museum reportedly from the plant.
“We’ve had real good success with people supporting us,” said Love. “We’ve got 50 members so far.”
Love said the Gallipolis Train Station Museum Board received its 501(c)(3) nonprofit status from the government in October last year. The state recently permitted for temporary electricity to be allowed in the freight depot so that volunteers could start revitalization work on the building with the necessary equipment.
“We’ve having this rail (laid) so we can put a caboose on it that’s supposed to be moved up here by May 1,” said Love. “It’s coming from Porter Township which is where Wheelersburg is.”
One of the board’s goals, apart from laying the rail, is replacing the slate roof on the old depot. Contractor estimates say the project would cost around $25,000 to replace the slate roof of the building. Love says a local entity has offered to provide the slate material and that working with slate is reportedly finicky as a modern day roofing material, but to be on the National Historic Registry, original materials need to be used in the rehabilitation of the building.
“There’s a lot of history in the train station,” Love previously told the Gallipolis City Commission in April 2016. “It’s a freight house. It was built in 1901 by Hocking Valley. It’s 115 years old. I worked there as a telegraph operator some years ago. There’s a group of us who got together and said, ‘Hey, let’s not let that deteriorate anymore. Let’s see if we can buy it, restore it and call it the Gallipolis Train Station Museum.’”
The commission would eventually agree to sell the property to the nonprofit organization under the stipulation it not be used for commercial purposes beyond a museum.
“The generation now has no idea about trains,” Love previously said. “There are many of us (group members) that have railroad memorabilia to put in there, operating layouts and various things to interest the kids. We’d like to get a box car and make that into a place where people can bring their kids and have a birthday party and indoctrinate them into what went on many years ago on the railroad.”
According to board member Mike Brown, plans for the museum may also include model train sets.
Dean Wright can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext 2103.