06/30/08 — Architect given original blueprints for Union Station

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Architect given original blueprints for Union Station

By Anessa Myers
Published in News on June 30, 2008 1:48 PM

Architect David E. Gall is closer to knowing what Goldsboro's Union Station looked like in its heyday -- and having a better idea what can and cannot be saved -- as the renovation of the historic depot continues.

After numerous trips to the old railroad station and many walks both inside and out, Gall said he now knows what the building holds -- tiny mementos of more than a century ago, from now-antique doorknobs to the original wooden windows.

But the building wasn't completely intact historically. There were still some questions about the interior and exterior of the building such as original paint color, ornamentation and many other small items that made the station so grand in the 1900s.

Now, some of those questions have been answered.

Jeff Adolphsen, an historic preservation specialist with the North Carolina State Historic Preservation Office, toured the site June 17 and provided valuable input on the stabilization project, but , Gall said, he also provided input on design elements.

For Gall, it was like he struck gold.

"NCSHPO has located three of the original 1907 construction drawings for the station in their archives," he said. "These are drawings prepared by the original architect, Leitner and Williams, from Wilmington. These drawings will be invaluable in confirming the original design of the station and the details that were removed or damaged over the years."

After undertaking an asbestos abatement project, making test borings of subsurface soil and removing some of the outbuildings on the property, the next step in the rehabilitation process will be to demolish some of the older warehouse structures.

"This work will be carefully undertaken so that the heavy wood timbers in these buildings will be salvaged for reuse," Gall said. "We are hoping to cut and shape some of these old timbers to reconstruct the historic eave brackets on the station."

One of the existing contemporary metal outbuildings sitting at the north end of the station will be used for materials storage and then will be demolished.

After that, selective demolition and stabilization of the platform canopy and the station itself will be completed -- an effort that will not only make the structure more sound but will also protect it.

"This project will incorporate short-term measures and repairs to make the station secured against entry, roofs made watertight, historic windows and doors covered to protect against damage, construction of new temporary interior stairs, installation of temporary interior lighting, shoring of masonry piers and other structural stabilization work and installation of new temporary exterior storm drainage," Gall explained. "The temporary window and door protection will make a big change in the appearance of the station by covering these openings with plywood, however, these panels will be carefully installed to avoid damage to the historic woodwork and can be easily removed in the future."

There will be a pre-bid meeting for the selective demolition and stabilization project Tuesday, and bids will be received on July 15, Gall said.

"We expect the (the demolition and stabilization) project to begin in September and be completed in 120 days," he said.

The cost of all of the work and related professional services for the demolition and stabilization pieces will total about $1 million.

"Of this sum, the North Carolina Department of Transportation will pay 90 percent, and the city of Goldsboro is responsible for the balance," Gall said.

That $1 million does not include future building rehabilitation projects -- which are currently unfunded -- because those will be far more complex than any of the other work that crews have done to date, he added.

"The NCDOT and the city of Goldsboro are working diligently to secure the additional funding needed to design and undertake the rehabilitation project," Gall said.

Downtown Goldsboro Development Corp. Director Julie Thompson said city officials agreed to spending $100,000 on the project this year.

"And, in theory, we have committed to sharing the cost of the entire restoration -- a 90 percent/10 percent split -- as we move forward with it," Mrs. Thompson said.

The Department of Transportation does not, at this time, have all the funding allocated that will be required to complete the restoration, she pointed out.

"They are working on doing that now. When they identify funds to move forward, we will match," the DGDC director said. "In the meantime, we continue to look for potential grants that might apply to our project."

Overall, the project is moving along as expected, Mrs. Thompson said. She added that those working on the restoration are dedicated to bringing the station back to its former glory.

"I know I have said it before, many times, but it is always worth repeating again -- we have the best team of people working on this project, especially those in the NCDOT Rail Division and the engineering/architecture firms they have secured to work with us -- Simpson & Simpson Engineering and David Gall Architects," she said. "They are all eager to see the restoration work complete and done so in a manner respectful of its original historic integrity yet applicable to today's needs."