Work to renovate and preserve Greencastle's historic High Line Train Station continues, with help from the community and the county.
The overhang around the building on South Jefferson Street was recently scraped and repainted and historically accurate Greencastle signs now hang along the tracks.
On Nov. 16, Franklin County commissioners awarded a $14,000 Franklin County Tourism and Quality of Life Enhancement Grant to the Greencastle Area Youth Foundation, which oversees the station.
Back on track
It's hard to believe that just three years ago the station was shuttered, according to Scott Sutton, president of GAYF, which renewed efforts to preserve it in 2016.
Long the meeting place for local Boy Scouts before falling into disrepair, the High Line Train Station is now used regularly by Boy Scouts, Cub Scouts, 4-H and a yoga group and has hosted two weddings and several birthday parties.
The High Line is decked out for the holidays and ready for Heritage Christmas 2018, when it will be open with operating model railroad displays on Friday evenings, Dec. 7 and 14. On Dec. 14, a reading of "Polar Express" is planned with the reader dressed as a train conductor.
"There's something about this place I just love," Sutton said.
Ken Shockey agreed, "There's something about this place and the group of guys interested in restoring it."
He and his wife, Bonnie, have been supporters of the station and funded the recent project through the Paul and Anna Shockey Foundation, which honors his parents.
Bill Blair of Blair Home Improvements did the work. He was involved in Boy Scout Troop 99 for many years, served as an adviser on Eagle Scout projects and said, "I try to donate what I can."
"We tried to replicate pretty much what was there. You would be coming in on the rails and see this was the Greencastle stop," explained Jim Wertner of Wertner Signs.
Made with modern materials, they maintain the look and color of the signs original to the station which was in operation from 1909 to 1959.
Among the memorabilia displayed inside the building is one of the signs that used to hang outside. It is green, but Wertner said it must have been repainted from the original red, which was researched and identified by John McDowell.
A place for railfans
The grant program is designed to enhance the tourism experience, promote visitation and overnight stays in Franklin County, improve the county as a destination for leisure travel, preserve and enhance the historical resources and provide bike and walking trails for the enjoyment of residents and visitors alike.
"The plan is to use the grant to complete the fence replacement and reinstall the brick walkway along the fence," Sutton said. "We will add a web cam, some outdoor lighting and historical markers to create an outdoor walking tour and observation deck where railfans can observe and photograph the passing trains.
"The goal is to utilize the fact that the station is the only of its kind in the area that hasn’t been turned into a commercial building or torn down and attract a new sector of tourism to the area – railfans," Sutton continued. "We will also look at getting some historically accurate memorabilia to add to the inside displays."
“This program helps our communities promote and grow their tourism assets, strengthen Franklin County’s overall economic development efforts, and increase the quality of life for Franklin County residents,” said Commissioner Chairman Dave Keller.
Other Franklin County Tourism and Quality of Life Enhancement Grants were awarded to:
Amberson Valley Historical Society (Fannett Township) – $1,200 for a book of Amberson Valley history
Borough of Waynesboro – $87,824 to extend the Ed Miller Memorial Trail through Renfrew Park and connect to the trail at Otterbein Church Community Park
Capitol Theatre Center (Chambersburg) – $20,000 for upgrades to electronics, lighting, food service equipment, restroom equipment and event furnishings
Chambersburg Volunteer Fireman’s Museum – $10,000 for building repairs
Conococheague Institute for the Study of Cultural Heritage (Montgomery Township) – $36,551 for walking trail enhancements and Davis-Chambers House repairs
Fort Loudoun (Peters Township) – $25,259 for reconstruction of the bastions of historic Fort Loudoun
Historic Letterkenny Chapel and Franklin County Veterans & 9/11 Memorial Park – $12,000 to repair decorative masonry on the chapel bell tower, install air conditioning and install a camera system
MACWell (Mercersburg) – $5,625 for signs on the Johnstons Run Streamside Trail
Mainstreet Waynesboro Inc. – $20,000 to redevelop 21 W. Main St. to include a visitors center
Mont Alto Historical Society – $1,600 to set up a society headquarters
Waynesboro Area Industrial Heritage Trust – $941 to update museum computer hardware and software
The Franklin County Tourism and Quality of Life Enhancement Grant program has allocated over $1.5 million to more than 30 local projects since its inception in 2014. The funding is derived from the hotel/motel tax on overnight stays at hotels in the county, as well as Marcellus Shale impact fees.