The historic train depot came to life in 1850, long before Burgaw was a town and Pender was still a general. “The depot was built 25 years before Pender County was formed, there was no town here, just a rural community,” described historian Mike Taylor.
When it was first built the depot was just 33 feet long; big enough to play a large role in the Civil War. “It was a headquarters after the fall of Wilmington for the Confederate Generals. It was also a gathering place for several thousand prisoners of war,” Taylor added.
As Burgaw grew, so did the depot. It has been expanded twice, first in 1898 again in 1916. Today, the once tiny depot is as long as a football field, but the depot has been quiet for years. The last train to travel the tracks was in the early 1980’s. Taylor said, “That day, several hundred people gathered by the tracks to see the last train come through and I’m sure it was an emotional day.”
There has been an undeniable connection between the town and the depot. A few years after the last train left the station the depot earned recognition as a historical landmark. The North Carolina Archives of History declared it the oldest surviving depot in the state in the mid 1980’s,” Taylor said.
Walls and beams from the original structure remain, but the building continues to change with the times. “The depot is being renovated to a civic center, and it’s going to be the jewel of the town, it really is,” Taylor said.
A jewel that’s on track to chug along well into the future.
Story summary image
More: continued here