SCOTTSVILLE — The L&N Depot used to be a big deal in Scottsville.
“The building served as a combination passenger and freight depot. There was quite a bit of economic development,” said Allen County Historical Society President Jewell Keen. “The oil boom (which happened in the early 1900s) probably lasted longer because of the railroad. The Jackson Hotel was built to house people who were coming into town.”
The railroad went from Gallatin, Tenn., to Scottsville, and was supposed to go farther north, said historical society Treasurer Mark Huntsman.
“The money never became available to extend the line north of Scottsville,” he said.
The railroad, which was built in 1886, was closed in 1975, Huntsman said.
“Passenger service stopped before freight service,” he said.
The Friends of the Scottsville L&N Depot are trying to get “The Old Reliable,” as it was called, back to its former glory. The Laura Goad Turner Charitable Foundation granted $155,000 to the historical society to purchase the Scottsville Train Depot. Now the historical society is trying to raise money to restore it.
“We have $32,000 raised locally,” he said. “We need $650,000.”
The historical society has applied for a Community Development Block Grant for $500,000, and a Transportation Alternative Program grant for $252,000 and several smaller grants, Huntsman said.
“It’s already on the National Register of Historic Places,” he said of the building.
The historical society has deeded the depot to the City of Scottsville at no charge, Huntsman said.
“We couldn’t apply for the big grants without it,” he said.
The depot was scheduled to be torn down, Huntsman said.
“A lumber company bought it and used it for storage,” he said.
The historical society hopes to make the building two stories again and restore the freight section, Huntsman said.
“It’s possible that a fire damaged part of it,” he said. “The second story was removed and the roof extended.”
The depot will be for the community to use for events, such as local and regional club meetings; community education classes; Allen County-Scottsville Chamber of Commerce functions; rentals for parties, reunions, receptions, weddings and dinners; art exhibits; musical performances; historical field trips for students on railroad importance in Allen County history; and museum detailing the history of the L&N railroad in Scottsville and Allen County, Huntsman said.
“We want to restore the freight section for community use,” he said. “The second-story plan is to house an L&N museum and office space. It will be a multi-use facility.”
Huntsman also wants to see a commercial kitchen on-site although they cannot add it to the depot because of its historic significance.
“We haven’t decided yet,” he said. “We may add it next to the depot.”
The Historic RailPark and Train Museum in Bowling Green donated fencing for when the depot restoration begins, Huntsman said. He hopes that the museum staff can give him pointers on how to conduct the project and find a railcar.
“I thought we had a caboose, but it got sold before I could see it,” he said.
So far, the historical society has enough rails to put down that have been donated. There is a tunnel that Briarfield Road goes over that Huntsman also wants to see restored. Architects have already looked at the building and decided to keep the graffiti on the walls, the earliest which was done in 1900. The only thing missing is photos of what the indoor areas looked like.
“We’ve never found any pictures of the inside of the depot,” Huntsman said. “We want to get it to the original state as close as possible.”
— Follow features reporter Alyssa Harvey on Twitter @bgdnfeatures or visit bgdailynews.com.