From the Ashes, Hopewell Junction Depot a Model of Community Effort
It was great to see the Poughkeepsie Journal give such hearty props to the community volunteers responsible for the restoration of the Hopewell Depot train station in Hopewell Junction, New York.
"Four cheers: To the remarkable hard work and perseverance it took on behalf of the Hopewell Depot Restoration Corporation - all volunteers - that resulted in last Wednesday's grand opening of the restored train station," the Journal wrote April 29.
The depot will now serve as a visitor center and gathering point at the eastern terminus of the popular Dutchess County Rail Trail.
Built in 1873, the depot at Hopewell Junction was moved a number of times from its original home at the intersection of Bridge Street and Railroad Avenue, as lines expanded and changed route to make way for more freight service.
However, the glory days of what was originally the Dutchess and Columbia line out of Fishkill Landing began to fade in the second half of the 20th century, and by the early 1980s the tracks passing through Hopewell Junction had been removed and the depot fell into neglect.
But it was 10 years after arsonists set fire to the depot in 1986 that a concentrated effort to restore the depot was formed, under the leadership of a number of locals eager to see a key part of the area's history preserved. They formed the Hopewell Depot Restoration Corporation in 1996, and so began a remarkable transformation.
That transformation was completed last week, with the grand opening and dedication of the restored Hopewell Depot train station, April 25.
Not only is the restoration itself an inspiration for other communities across the country considering a similar effort, the Hopewell Depot Restoration Corporation, too, is a model of community organization. Their website is rich with history, photos, links to their sponsors, and just about every piece of information a visitor or interested local could want.
For more information, visit hopewelldepot.org.
Congratulations to the people of Hopewell for providing such a wonderful amenity for the Dutchess Rail Trail and for your community.