Decatur Depot renovations add new chapter to history - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Decatur Depot renovations add new chapter to history

Renovations to the historic depot began in the last week. (Source: WAFF) Renovations to the historic depot began in the last week. (Source: WAFF)
The building is the third depot in city history. (Source: Morgan Co. Archives) The building is the third depot in city history. (Source: Morgan Co. Archives)
"A 110-year-old, wonderful piece of history." (Source: Morgan Co. Archives) "A 110-year-old, wonderful piece of history." (Source: Morgan Co. Archives)
DECATUR, AL (WAFF) -

The "ghostly" haunt which is the old train depot in Decatur will soon take on the regal splendor of yesteryear. 

The effort began in earnest about three years ago. The man putting many of the pieces together is retired Judge David Breland. 

"This is a 110 year old wonderful piece of our history," said Breland, now the Director of Historic Resources and Events in Decatur. 

It wasn't so very long ago that this building was actually a focal point, not only in Decatur, but for Morgan County as a whole. 

Morgan County archivist John Alison says it played a big part in local history. 

"It was the center of a lot of transportation," said Alison. "It was also right across the street from the old city hall. There were restaurants, shops. There were hotels around the depot, so it really was a bustling center of activity for the city of Decatur."

The renovation to the building began this week. Breland said the building is going to be both beautiful and functional. 

"This is going to be a cultural and an historic treasure that people are going to enjoy. This is not only going to house a transportation museum, but also the police department on either end."

And it has everyone excited for many reasons, including Mayor Don Kyle. 

"One, I've been riding by this building my whole life," the mayor explained. "Two, I got on a train out there many times to ride to St. Louis with my mother to visit her home in Illinois."

Council president Gary Hammond says the key is everyone pitching in. 

"I am just tickled to death to live in a city where you can get so many good people working together in the same direction," said Hammond.

That direction now has to include fund raising. Thanks to a jump start by local politicians, like Senator Arthur Orr, the goal for public and private dollars now becomes a quest, according to Breland. 

"It is time now for the public, people that have been stopping me on the street for two or three years saying 'We've got to save this building,'" he said. "We've got to do it. It's time we all step up as a community. We need to raise about $200,000 just toward the building itself. My personal goal is I hope we raise more than that."

Every dollar raised will ensure this historical depot remains revitalized to the delight of everyone in the River City and in Bobby's Bama.

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