From 1991 through 1999, the city of Fremont, an architectural firm, and concerned citizens worked on plans for the historic restoration of the depot and construction of a modern train station facility. The city of Fremont was able to assemble a "patchwork quilt" of Federal, State, and local Fremont funds to pay for the project. As part of the plan to integrate the depot with the parking area on the north side of the railroad line, after midnight on March 15, 1995, the Centerville depot was moved across the tracks and turned 180 degrees. Restoration of the depot began in October 1998 and was completed in June of 1999. Today, with its original paint scheme, green stained wood roof, and other restored architectural features, the exterior of the depot appears much like it did when it was built. The cost to move the depot, construct a new foundation, and restore it was more than $900,000. In contrast, the depot cost less than $5,000 to build in 1910. 

Why restore an old deteriorated depot instead of building an entirely new one? The answer comes from the community's desire to preserve its history and heritage. Unlike many forgotten old buildings that exist in many towns across America, railroad depots hold a special place in the memories and experiences of the people that used them. Railroad depots were often places where the lives of people changed or significant events occurred -young soldiers went off to war, families reunited, loved-ones said goodbye, immigrants first saw their new town, some left home for good, and others started long-awaited journeys. People came to the depot to see trains come and go and to dream of travel to far-away places. Railroad depots also represented significant milestones in the development and growth of a town. The coming of a new railroad and the construction of a new depot often meant the expansion of trade and commerce for the region and opportunities for convenient travel by train. By restoring and reopening the Centerville depot for active use, the community preserves a landmark structure from Fremont's history and the place where a generation of citizens created memories and experienced changes in their lives. For the new users of the depot who enter its waiting room and board its trains, the depot's restoration provides an historic location for the creation of new memories and experiences. 

The people involved in the plans for the restoration of the depot endeavored to recreate, wherever possible, the appearance of the depot as it existed during its heyday between 1910 and 1920. Their efforts involved not only researching and critiquing structural details and plans, it included activities such as determining the depot's original exterior paint colors, researching archival photographs, locating the original blueprints for the waiting room bench, obtaining the railroad's standard drawings for the depot's roof signs, and even searching for two antique terra cotta chimney pots to top off the depot's patent metal chimney. Today, the historic depot is Centerville's most visible and significant surviving historic landmark structure and is the focal point for the revitalization and continued prosperity of the Centerville business district. 

For more information on restoration of depots and revitalization of railroad stations, visit the web site for the non-profit Reconnecting America (formerly The Great American Station Foundation).
The Centerville Depot Today

Copyright © Niles Depot Historical Foundation &
Tri-City Society of Model Engineers.
All Rights Reserved.

Trains at the Depot


Centerville Depot Homehome.html