The future home of Orange's past
In 2012, the non-profit Friends of the Orange Depot was founded by Carrie Woliver and her husband. Orange is Carrie’s hometown, and the couple purchased the depot after a visit. Seeing how the building had deteriorated, the preservation-minded couple couldn’t let it go the way of so many historic buildings before it.
In relatively short order a group of passionate volunteers began the arduous task of fundraising, selling engraved bricks (which pave the walkway around the depot now), holding galas, and writing grants. Community support proved both generous and enthusiastic, with foundations like the Nelda C. and H.J. Lutcher Stark Foundation, Ed T. Mallory Foundation, McFaddin-Ward Foundation and others contributing large sums of money, and individual donors picking up the remainder of the tab to the total tune of over half a million dollars.
Called the “Gateway to the Orange Historical District,” the depot sits on donated land next to the railroad track on the western edge of the district, which is home to many of Orange’s major cultural attractions including the Stark Museum of Art, the Lutcher Theater, the historic First Presbyterian Church, and others.
Careful planning and commendable efforts from the contractors have ensured that as much of the depot as possible is original, and that which is not is as close to authentic as possible. Now the depot is focused on its final goal of becoming a museum dedicated to the history of the City of Orange and the depot’s unique place therein.
Working with D|G Studios out of Houston, Texas, the Orange Train Depot has its work planned out in phases starting with a series of printed scrims which will be placed in the windows. Each scrim will display historically recreated scenes from both inside and outside the depot, giving visitors a “window to the past.” Next, the interior of the museum will be organized. One room will house train depot artifacts, many of which await display in storage. The larger room of the depot will trace the history of Orange.
After Phase I, the museum will pursue additional projects such as a series of metal sculptures, a digital sign, and various improvements to the grounds, each one its own phase.
Meanwhile, the depot has discovered a stopgap niche as an event center. With its charming atmosphere, it’s no surprise people are attracted to the building as a venue.
The Orange Train Depot is located at 1210 Green Avenue P.O. Box 2654 Orange, Texas 77631. For more information, email email@example.com or call 409-330-1576.
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