DAMASCUS, Virginia – Over the past week, volunteers from HistoriCorps, a non-profit organization focused on preserving and saving historic places, have been working hard to restore the old Green Cove train station, the last original train depot on the Virginia Creeper Trail. .
Reid Saunders, the HistoriCorps project manager, explained that before his team’s volunteers could give Green Cove station a fresh coat of paint, most of what was done was focused on finding and replacing the old rot on the exterior side of the building.
“Our ultimate goal is to give it a nice fresh coat of paint, get it all nice and everything. But, taking the old paint off and everything and getting it ready for it, we find what has rotted over the years. years, what bugs have gotten into things, basically seeing what needs attention and giving it that attention so that when we put that new coat of paint on, we know everything is fine underneath,” Saunders said. .
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So far, 16 HistoriCorps volunteers from as far away as Australia have worked on ongoing renovations at Green Cove station, with nine more expected to take on the workload next week.
The restoration of Green Cove Station is part of a joint effort by the Virginia Creeper Trail Conservancy, the Friends of Mount Rogers, and the United States Forest Service, who have hired HistoriCorps to renovate and revitalize the Virginia Creeper Trail to attract visitors and for the local community. enjoy.
Jim Barker, Marion City Council member and Friends of Mount Rogers, noted the historic importance of Green Cove Station as a railroad depot, post office and general hardware store in the 1900s and believes the renovations will infuse new life to the building.
“Green Cove Station is an original station along the original railway that ran here in the early 1900s. There were stations scattered all along the railway, but this is the last one”, Barker said. “It was a railroad depot, post office and general hardware store, and inside we have some of the merchandise that they actually had when they closed, probably in the mid-1970s .”
Today, Green Cove Station is home to a convenience store run by the Friends of Mount Rogers, which sells goodies and merchandise. Revenues are shared between them and the National Forest Service.
Don Kelly, who works with the United States Forest Service, explained that the Historicorps renovation will cost $45,000 and explained how Green Cove Station became a common stopover for cyclists and hikers on the Virginia Creeper Trail so that they advance. go down to Damascus.
“The trail goes down the ridge. You get here. This is where people usually stop and wonder why their front tire is wobbling or whatever,” Kelly said. “It’s the ‘OK, we need to figure out what’s going on before they go down the track’. So that’s a critical place.”
Lisa Quigley, executive director of the Virginia Creeper Trail Conservancy, highlighted how important hikers and cyclists passing through Green Cove Station while walking the Virginia Creeper Trail are to various restaurants, bike rentals, Airbnbs and other businesses. damask.
“Really, the economy of Damascus depends on the Creeper Trail. I mean, almost solely. They have a lot of AT (Appalachian Trail) traffic, but the real spending comes from Creeper Trail users,” Quigley said.
The HistoriCorps renovations are scheduled to be completed on November 11.