The Village of Glenwillow is doing its part to save a piece of the past.
Village officials are working alongside the Midwest Railway Preservation Historical Society to preserve the Falls Junction Depot, a 1,000 square foot building that served the railroad and Glenwillow’s surrounding area for 91 years.
The building, leased to the historical society by the Wheeling & Lake Erie Railway, is the oldest building left in the village dating back to the 1860s.
Glenwillow Mayor Mark Cegelka explained that the depot sat on Pettibone Road on property owned by the village near the tracks that still are in place. The agreement with the historical society is to move it to the village owned park, also on Pettibone.
Recently, the depot was moved about 250 feet across the railroad tracks. It is set to be lowered onto the foundation this week.
Over the years, the building was leased for $1 but had fallen into a state of disrepair, the mayor said. The historical society did not have the funds to maintain it, Mayor Cegelka added.
“We looked to partner with the Midwest Rail Historical Society to possibly move the depot to land the village owned across the tracks,” the mayor explained.
They entered into a development agreement with the historical society with the village paying about half the project cost of $20,000. The total cost was about $41,000 between the move and the creation of a foundation to place the building on.
Also, through the Cuyahoga County casino funds, the village received a grant of $50,000 for renovations to the exterior.
The actual future use of the building is still being worked out, Mayor Cegelka said. Options include hosting educational talks there as well as housing artifacts.
“It will be accessible to the public since it is in the park,” he noted. “But we are still working the details out.”
Steve Korpos, executive director at the preservation society, said the organization in the past had conducted train trips from Glenwillow and received a 99 year lease to use the station for boarding during biannual excursions. The last trip was in 2015.
He explained that Wheeling stopped the trips, which used to fund the building’s upkeep.
Mr. Korpos said his organization is in the business of preservation.
“This was a great way to put it to a new use,” he said, adding that the organization plans to replace the deck. The building was built better than most modern structures, Mr. Korpos noted.
“Once the building is completely done, we will put artifacts in it and it will be a historical center for people to come to visit for special events,” Mr. Korpos added.
“If the village didn’t step in and partner with them, that depot would have continued to rot and probably had to be torn down,” Mayor Cegelka added. “We are preserving our history.”