Old train depot lives again as Sylvester City Hall - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Old train depot lives again as Sylvester City Hall

Inside the old depot (WALB image) Inside the old depot (WALB image)
Writing done a century ago is still there (WALB image) Writing done a century ago is still there (WALB image)
Jana Dykes (WALB image) Jana Dykes (WALB image)
New walkways are finished (WALB image) New walkways are finished (WALB image)
The City Hall is in the old train depot (WALB image) The City Hall is in the old train depot (WALB image)
SYLVESTER, GA (WALB) -

After a year of work, Sylvester's historic train depot is officially open. This evening's grand opening not only celebrates a new purpose, it honors a spot that historians say is the birthplace of Sylvester.

A few last minute touches on a $750,000 renovation, the old Sylvester train depot has a new purpose.

"The train station use to be here, and it ain't never looked this good!" exclaimed Sylvester resident Nathaniel Gordon.

"They recently moved over last week from our old city hall," said Sylvester Main Street Director, Jana Dykes.

Now the temporary City Hall, about 120 years ago, a train depot, called Isabella Station, was built as a stop along the Brunswick and Albany Railroad Lines.

"This is how Sylvester got put on the map," said Dykes.

A photo shows a bustling front street in the early 1900's, a rare picture as much of the documented history of Sylvester was burned in 1982, when the Courthouse was set on fire.

But, you can still find evidence of Sylvester's past.  "There is writing on the wall from 1901," Dykes said. Dates, names, uncovered during a careful renovation of the train depot. "You will see the wood, it's the original wood."

But this isn't actually the original train depot. "This is actually Sylvester's second depot, the first depot that we had in town burned."

Rebuilt in 1895, the train depot has served many purposes since. It was a police station, but, that was yesterday. Today's train depot is a symbol for Sylvester's future.

"We have a lot going down the pipeline now and it's exciting to see the momentum the community has and the support our community is giving our downtown," Dykes said.

City Hall is operating out of the Train Depot now. Their building is next on the list for revitalization, and structural engineers have already started work on that project.

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