01/21/10 — Architect shares look at depot with Scouts

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Architect shares look at depot with Scouts

By Kenneth Fine
Published in News on January 21, 2010 1:46 PM


Union Station architect David Gall talks with Girl Scouts from Troop 3372 about the historic train depot.

A few hours before David Gall told Goldsboro City Council members their historic train depot was on schedule to be fully restored by 2012, the architect charged with bringing Union Station back to life delivered the same news at the site of the in-progress restoration.

But the members of Girl Scouts Carolina Coastal Pines Troop 3372 who gathered at the intersection of Walnut and Carolina streets Tuesday afternoon seemed much more interested in the current state of the facility.

They are, after all, between 9 and 12 years old.

So before their tour of Union Station began, some kicked around loose gravel.

And when Gall showed them a room inside that used to house the U.S. Postal Service, they stared, wide-eyed, at a gaping hole in the floor.

"How deep is that hole?" 11-year-old Caitlyn Andrews asked after Gall explained that a stack of concrete caused the spot to collapse long after the station discontinued passenger rail service.

"About six feet," the architect said.

"Whoa," Caitlyn replied.

For the Girl Scouts who showed up for that private tour, getting an exclusive look at the state of the city's latest multi-million-dollar undertaking was about much more than a history lesson -- although Gall certainly gave them one, from how the station came to exist in Goldsboro to the days when black and white passengers were separated by a wall as they waited for the trains to pass through.

They were also on hand in pursuit of a coveted patch -- the "Railroading Badge" exclusive to Carolina Coastal Pines Scouts.

"It's something that's just local," said troop leader Kay Ames. "They'll have something unique."

As unique as the experience of seeing and hearing Gall's vision firsthand.

"This is a really cool building," Gall told them.

Courtney Andrews agreed -- especially when the girls' guide took them out to the original trackside.

"Did they pave over the old tracks?" the 9-year-old asked.

"They sure did," Gall replied. "But one day, it's going to look just like it did back when it was built."

"Cool," Courtney said.

Taylor Heeden was also excited about the future.

"If I go to college in Raleigh, will I be able to take a train to come back here?" she asked.

"Let's see," Gall said. "We are hoping rail service will be available in about 10 years."

The girl's eyes lit up.

"I'll be 19," Taylor said.

"Me too," Courtney added. "I can't wait to come back here in 10 years."