Lavonia Train Depot Open House Saturday

By MJ Kneiser, WLHR Radio, Lavonia

Restoration work is finally complete on the historic Lavonia train depot and a special open house is schedule for tomorrow.

Sponsored by the Lavonia Downtown Development Authority and the Lavonia Women’s Club, DDA Director Marie Morse says the open house will give visitors a look back into the past.

Morse says members of the Lavonia Women’s Club will host the open house and will be dressed in 1912 costume and will give people tours of the depot.

Built in 1912, the train depot served as the main center of commerce for residents of the town and area farmers who brought their livestock to the depot for shipment. It also connected the town to other communities across the state.

Over the years, as passenger rail service died away, many of the original features of the depot were covered by different renovations.

Now all of those renovations have been stripped away to reveal the interior of the depot as it was in 1912.

However, there have been some unexpected issues with the restoration, according to Lavonia City Manager Gary Fesperman.

He says workers found that much of the tongue and groove clapboard that had been the original depot walls had been destroyed over the years by termites and needed to be replaced. Termites were also found in some parts of the original heart pine flooring, and much of the roof had to be replaced.

Fesperman says that has led to some cost over-runs.

Earlier this year, Lavonia was awarded a $50,000 grant by the Appalachian Regional Commission to help pay for the project.

Saturday’s open house takes place from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. and will include refreshments, live music and tours of the newly redone depot. It is free and open to the public.