Community Fighting to Save Train Depot

Reporter: David Tate

Franklin Co., VA - For many communities across our area, the coming of the train meant big things as parts of the Commonwealth began to open up at the end of the 19th Century. Now, in one of those communities, Boones Mill, people are working to ensure their historical link to the railroad is not lost for good.

There is no doubt the clock is ticking, but those leading the charge say they have hope they can save this landmark.

For more than a 100 years the train has been coming through the town of Boones Mill, and like many communities, at one time the train depot was often the center of all the action.

"This was the center of the universe for anyone who lived within 25 miles of Boones Mill. And some of those people, many of them, are still alive and remember it," said Lois Slotnick, who's been working to save the train depot.

Slotnick has been driving by the century old depot for more than 20 years slowly watching it fall apart. Until a few years ago, it didn't dawn on her to try to save it, but now that is exactly her intent.

"I have every assurance that there's enough community support that we will be able to move the building by the end of the year," said Slotnick.

The problem is Norfolk Southern needs more clearance on this line which means the building has to go. The railroad has agreed to part with it for just $1, providing it gets moved.

"It looks like we're going to have to spend $100,000 to get the building moved and the site preparation to wherever we move it to," she said.

Now the rush is on to set up a nonprofit foundation and begin raising the capital needed to move and partially renovate the depot.

Slotnick is hopeful the community commitment and solid evidence of progress will persuade the railroad to give her some breathing room on the mid-July deadline.

"Like the star is to Roanoke we want the depot to be our star to Boones Mill and I think we can do it," said Slotnick.