GALLIPOLIS — With the winter season pushing forward, the Gallipolis Railroad Freight Station Museum Board of Trustees is shoring up its spring rehabilitation plans for the roughly 115-year old building.
“First of all, when the weather breaks, we’ve still got a little bit of wood on the outside of the building, bad wood, that needs replaced,” said Board Vice President Jerry Davis. “Any day, we are awaiting a mobile power wash group…They have agreed to come in and and power wash the interior of the freight station because they have the appropriate breathing apparatus and suits because the (previous bird excrement) can be quite the health hazard.”
Davis said the group aims to replace some of the interior wood in the office portion of the building in hopes of getting it in working order.
“We are checking with different architectural groups that have been recommended by the Ohio Historical Society because we are at the stage now to look at electrical wiring for the station and insulation,” said Davis. “Before that’s done, we have to have schematic drawings and plans for the electrical service throughout the station and insulation. We are in the process of discussing and working on the interior design among our board.”
Specifically, the board is looking for organizations that have experience in working with historical buildings in order to meet specifications to potentially be put on the National Historic Registry.
The board will also need to determine the type of heating source it would like to utilize in the structure and where the equipment will be located.
“With all that, we need to determine where we will put the restroom in the building and it’s all a major undertaking,” said Davis. “It’s not hard. It’s just time consuming to make those decisions…We’re very concerned to keep the historical look. We want the look of (the original) freight station and we want an open concept so people can look up and see the inside structure of the station.”
The museum is tracking down original Nelsonville bricks which were used to pave the walkways around the museum and have collected somewhere in the number of 850 pieces.
“Once the interior is power washed and all, then there’s the possibility that we might be able to deal with the Star brick floor because the sand base it was originally on is still there,” said Davis.
When the weather warms, the museum will place more railroad and ties and place a small steam locomotive on the track.
“It is being given to us from within Mason County,” said Davis. “The locomotive was built about 1947 and very small. It’s a special locomotive. It was used in hazardous situations where they could not have an open flame. The boiler is structured that it can be filled with steam and operate for two or three hours. There’s actually no firebox on it.”
President Jim Love first approached Gallipolis City Commission about turning the aging station into a museum in April 2016. According to him, the station was an old freight house and built in 1901 by Hocking Valley, a rail company of the time. The building at the time was roughly 115 years old and Love worked once as a telegrapher of the building.
“We feel great,”said Love last year. “I am well satisfied with the progress that we are making. It exceeded my expectations for the first year.”
Davis and Love have thanked the community for its continuing support as the board continues chugging along in its efforts.
Dean Wright can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2103, and at the Gallipolis Daily Tribune Facebook page.