The Transylvania Times -

By Matt McGregor
Staff Writer 

Train Depot Project Moving Ahead -Brevard NC

 

November 23, 2017

The former Brevard train depot was removed in 1981.

Brevard City Council approved plans to raise funds to rebuild the former train depot on property off Railroad Avenue through a "Buy-A-Brick" program.

"I'd like to see it get erected soon," said Mayor Jimmy Harris during the council's regular meeting Monday. "Maybe in the spring, just in time for the city's 150th anniversary."

Similar to the Gallimore Road "Buy-A-Brick" program in which funds were raised to construct a multi-use path connecting U.S. 276 to Brevard Elementary School. Harris recommended that buying a brick for $100 and having it engraved as a gift would be a way to raise money for the reconstruction of the depot.

"I want to get this moving before Christmas," Harris said. "One may choose to purchase one as a gift."

Harris said the original train depot was torn down in 1981.

"I was 19 and serving in the U.S. Air Force," he said. "It was still there when I left for overseas, and when I came back, it was gone."

Harris assumed it had been bulldozed and pushed over but when speaking with Tim Hall, who owns Underground Salvage Co., Hall pointed out that that wasn't exactly what happened.

"It was taken apart board by board, then palletized and kept in a barn," Harris said.

In a written document presented to council in 1980, Hall explored the idea of having the depot relocated with a building contractor before it was torn down, but abandoned the idea because they could not find a "suitable location" and because of "limited funds."

Hall said Dru Bridges, who was in the construction business in Brevard, and his father, "acquired the depot to demolish or dismantle for $100." They chose to dismantle it because he said they saw a use for some of its parts.

In 2008, Hall said he began talking with Bridges about possibly reconstructing the original structure along Railroad Avenue.

"We visualized some different future uses for the depot through the years until the future bike path was planned to travel along Railroad Avenue," Hall said. "Dru stated at the time what a great idea it would be to build it and call it the 'bike depot.' It could be a rest stop for travelers to get information and use public facilities at the depot."

Hall said when he later purchased a portion of the Brevard Lumber Yard property to expand his architectural salvage business, he started "seriously exploring the idea" of reconstructing the depot in that area.

After the City of Brevard approved the purchase of a 0.9-acre piece of property from Comporium for $75,000 to extend the Estatoe Trail from McLean Road to Whitmire Street in October's council meeting, Harris said he, Hall and Greg Frady began to see the property as a place where the old depot could be rebuilt.

"The property was important to us to extend the bike trail because our vision and goal is to get people up and down the trails and into the forest safely, so we needed this property off Railroad Avenue, but the discussion to put the depot on it didn't really start until three weeks ago," Harris said. "And what a great place it would be to re-erect that building."

The depot would be reconstructed at "half-scale," Harris explained, with some of the original materials and public restrooms included.

"With Railroad Avenue being toward the back of the building, what if the right side overlooked King's Creek, and on the left side, there were a cargo landing. . . these are just my ideas, but if we had lights and electrical sockets, we could have concerts overlooking the field," Harris said.

City Manager Jim Fatland asked the city Planning and Zoning Department about the brick sales.

City Planning Director Daniel Cobb said they have the order forms ready.

"The bricks will go into the ground in what will most likely be a brick walkway from the bike path to the depot itself," Cobb said. "The purchase of the bricks would be tax deductible, and one could also donate less than $100."

Cobb said that the depot will make a "great rest stop" for cyclists on the future bike path, and that it is hoped that the pedestrian bridge will run in front of the building.

Harris said with all the possibilities of what can be done with the depot, he thinks the public will "embrace the idea."

"This is an unfunded project that hasn't gone on the budget, so we need help from the community to make it happen," Harris said. "We thought this train depot was lost in history, and here is a chance to bring it back."

(More from the council meeting will appear in Monday's paper.)

 
 

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