FITZGERALD, GA (WALB) - The city of Fitzgerald has almost completed a large-scale historic preservation project.
Right now, renovations for the final leg of that project are underway at the historic train depot. It's a centerpiece of Fitzgerald's history that's being restored to its former glory.
"I love to see it, it's like uncovering a mystery to see what's behind all the modern materials that people added over the years," said contractor and owner of Fourth Street Design Lisa Elridge.
Elridge is leading the $1 million project to preserve the history of the century old building, built in the early 1900s. The project is funded by a $500,000 GDOT grant with funds matched by the city.
It's a meticulous process, but this Fitzgerald native enjoys every moment.
"It's very important to me because in most of our south Georgia communities, there's only one or two buildings that still remain that have the character of this one," she said.
Since December, crews have been hard at work, rebuilding and restoring the building's original windows and doors, down to uncovering the limestone over the windows once hidden behind a coat of paint.
The building used to be a train depot, once a bustling transportation hub in the city at the turn of the century.
Now it houses the Blue and Gray Museum. Renovations will create more space for the museum and make room for the city's fire engine collection which will shape the building as a central repository for the city's history.
"History has always been a very important part of who we are and what we try to portray. You know, there have been some things we weren't able to save, but we try to save all we can," said Cam Jordan, deputy administrator for the city of Fitzgerald.
"It's very important for future generations that you can walk into a building and see how architecture was at the turn of the century in the 1900s," said Elridge.
The first phase of the renovation is on track to be completed by June. The next phase will focus on the upstairs renovations and adding an elevator.
Copyright 2017 WALB. All rights reserved.