The saving of the old Norfolk Southern train depot in Prosperity
is much more than a good news story for residents of the Newberry County
Restoring and renovating the 80-year-old structure goes beyond saving “irreplaceable architecture,” said Mike Bedenbaugh, executive director of the Palmetto Trust for Historic Preservation
“Prosperity would not exist without the railroad,” said Bedenbaugh, a native and resident of the town.
Saving the depot represents the human desire to hold onto those things that have played an important role in a community’s story, he said.
The station had a separate waiting area for African-American passengers, he said. That room has been preserved for its historical significance, but a door was installed to connect the waiting room to the main part of the depot.
“Think about the human impact the depot has had on the community,” he said.
Bedenbaugh, whose interest in the project goes back 20 years, led the campaign to save the depot, which was structurally unsound and had fallen into deep disrepair since it was closed about 40 years ago.
“It was in really bad shape,” he said. “The roof had been leaking for years. The interior was rotted.”
As part of the renovations, the whole flooring system and joists have been redone, and the foundation prepared for transporting, if necessary.
Work on the depot, which is now owned by the town, began in the spring. It should be completed shortly, he said.
Once completed, the depot will become the Midlands outdoor center for the Palmetto Conservation Foundations’ Palmetto Trail. It will be used to tell the story of the depot and the town but also the important of conservation efforts.
If you’re going:
Prosperity is 40 miles northwest of Columbia
, off Interstate 26 at exit 82. The town’s festival – Prosperity’s Hoppin’
– is the third weekend in August.