Restoration of Dover Museum's railroad depot nearly completed
By STEPH TAHTINEN
Mt. Pleasant News
NEW LONDON — The restoration of Dover Museum’s railroad depot is nearing completion and there will be an open house held on Sunday, July 21.
The depot is being used to showcase the museum’s collection of railroad memorabilia. Years ago, the museum had received a donation of railroad items from Marvin Klos, who had worked on the railroad for over 40 years. However, the collection was too large for the space available at Dover Museum.
“There’s probably nothing he didn’t have,” said Caroline Lehman of Dover Museum. “He said he’d give us more if we had a place.”
The museum discussed building a replica of the depot that used to be in New London, but then the former Pilot Grove depot was donated to the museum by the Nichting family and moved to New London in June 2012.
Since then, the museum has been restoring the depot to its original condition and hopes to have it listed on the historic registry.
“A lot of the labor that contractors have done for us has been donated, and we paid for the materials,” said Lehman. “That has helped our cause a lot.”
The outside has been repainted and a brick platform and rails have been added.
“We’ve tried to get it looking like it did there,” said Lehman, noting that they knew from old pictures that there was a brick platform.
One change from the original structure is the large cedar ramp that has been added, funded by the Enhance Henry County Community Foundation, the William M. and Donna J. Hoaglin Foundation and other donators.
“We needed to have it handicapped accessible, of course,” said Lehman, who noted that the ramp bends to run parallel along Main Street so it has the proper one inch per one foot incline. “I think it’s worked out.”
The inside of the depot has been returned to what it once was, with original paint colors, restored ticket windows and two old stoves also donated by Klos.
Haven Noble of Mt. Pleasant is working to get the telegraph machine working.
“People will be able to hear it click-click-clicking when they come for the open house,” said Lehman.
An oak bench added to the front room is a combination of old and new. The iron legs and two of the arms were salvaged from a deteriorating bench, and the arm in the middle was found in a storage cupboard in the depot. The wood portion of the bench was crafted by Lauren Cory of New London.
A display case in the front room will feature railroad memorabilia, and the freight room in the back holds the museum’s display of wrenches, shovels, and other tools and items used on the railroad.
Lehman said that she is pleased with how the depot has turned out.
“A lot of people think it was always here,” she said.
The open house will be held from 1 to 4 p.m. on Sunday. At 1:30 p.m. there will be a short program held. The depot is located at the intersection of Main and Maple streets in New London.