Depots and other old railroad structures are an architectural endangered
species. Google lists of "endangered" historic structures,
and you are likely to find more than a few depots on the list: Lake
Geneva, Wisconsin; Columbus
Illinois. Every railroad, like the Santa
Fe, has a long list of lost, abandoned, or decaying depots. Because
of their size, the materials required, and the sheer amount of work
required to keep them standing and maintained, most depots end up under
the demolition threat at some point. For those, like Cambria, that still
reside on railroad property, there are two additional problems: the
rising cost of the railroad land leases (eight years ago, ours rose
from $680 per year to $6,000 + CPI per year, wiping out our maintenance
budget) and the refusal of banks to lend money on structures that are
on land leases (or at least land leases that are shorter than 30 years--most
are month-to-month). The funding dilemna leaves most depots at risk,
and means that the owners, both public and private, have to find creative
ways to cover the costs of operating, maintaining, and rehabbing old
stations. We are no exception:
Friends of the Cambria Depot (a one-time gift)
& Denizens of the Depot (an annual membership--with perks).
Both help us cover the cost of major restoration and other projects.
Friends of the Depot
Denizens of the Depot
Currently, the Fund is raising money for:
- Replacement of some of the existing siding and trim;
- Tower restoration;
- Roof repair and the installation of a membrane to lengthen the
life of the standing seam room;
- A new paint job (the building, because of the poplar siding, must
be hand scraped, caulked, and repainted every five to seven years;
- Construction of rain-gardens surrounding the depot to control
stormwater damage (the depot is sandwiched between a road and the
- Landscaping; and
- Restoration of the loading platform. so foks can safely use it
to watch the trains rumble by.
While contributing to the Depot Fund doesn't come with tax credits,
it does come with our undying gratitude and if you sign up as a Denizen,
your membership comes with a few perks (free coffee if you are passing
through the area, a reserved sitting area on the track side of the building
where you can watch the trains pass by, a quarterly email newsletter,
and the building's annual Christmas card and cheesy annual progress
report). The membership auto-renews until you tell us to take a leap.
Toy Station, a very small toy store, located in the street side
waiting room. The shop helps cover the cost of keeping the building
open to the public, eight hours per day, seven days per week, 361 days
of the year (we close on New Years Day, Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas).
Tours of the depot and The Scale Cabinetmaker exhibits are free. The
shop covers some of the costs of the land lease, utilities, and upkeep.
Stop Books, a used bookstore located in the track side waiting
room, was started in October 2015 to provide funding for the Depot Paint
and Restoration Fund. All of the books came from our collection, from
book donations from friends and neighbors, and from the Friends of the
Library (recycled books).