Historic Depot Gets Helping Hand

Wilmington, NC – A major exterior rejuvenation of the depot -- the oldest in the state -- is expected to wrap by late March.

Repair crews are working on the building from the floorboards to the roof, stripping away the former train station's rotting siding and even building new frames around the original window glass.

The total project is expected to cost the town one to three million dollars, which the town is trying to raise through donations, fundraising, and state grants.

Town manager Martin Beach says bids for the work came in lower than expected, from local companies wanting to contribute to the town.

This isn't the first time the citizens of Burgaw have stepped up to save the building.

According to Beach, the depot served as an important communications center during the Civil War and was almost destroyed by Yankee forces marching back from the Battle of Wilmington.

"The townfolks came out and put the fire out," Beach said, "and the oldest part, the charred timbers, have not been replaced. They're still there so you can go in and see where the Yankees tried to burn us out."

The depot was in a sad state before the restoration, Beach said, and will soon become an asset to the town.

"We don't want it just to be pretty and restore it and let it sit there," Beach said. "We want to get some real use out of it."

Beach suggests possibly turning the depot into a meeting space or reception hall. A newer portion of the building already houses the Pender County Arts Council.