JONESBOROUGH, TN (WJHL-TV) – People attending Jonesborough Days have something new to see during this year’s festival.
The former Chuckey Train Depot is on display in town after several years of rebuilding and renovation after being moved from Chuckey several years ago. Depot was built in 1906 and served in Chuckey until 1962 when it was closed and a local hardware store owner bought the depot and used uit as a storage building. In 2010, the railroad told the owners that he owned the building but the railroad owned the property/land and were going to start charging him rent.
So the old depot was going to be town down when the Watauga Valley Railroad Historical Society & Museum and the town of Jonesborough bought it, took it apart piece by piece and put it back together on this site right next to the railroad tracks and it is only about 50 yards from the original Jonesborough depot that was torn down many years go.
“The exterior is pretty well done, we’ve tried to put it back the original colors, the town of Jonesborough has done a great job on the restoration. The interior we hope will be done in about two months and then the exhibits are being put together for the museum and we hope to have the whole thing in full operation by the end of the year.”, says Watauga Valley Railroad Historical Society & Museum President Mike Tilley, “It was a major project, we had people doing the filming, we had to mark each board that was taken down, The heritage alliance, Bill Kennedy, here in town, was involved in the moving and into the restoration. It’s been a major undertaking for the town of Jonesborough but I think it’s gonna be well worth it.”
The Town of Jonesborough lost its depot in 1972 when the railroad tore it down on depot St. The museum will be open to the public later this year.
“There’s gonna be all kinds of artifacts from the railroad here, hopefully around Jonesborough, all of East TN. We’re gonna put a replica of how the depot used to be with the waiting room, we have the black waiting room on one side, the white on the other, and we have the operator that gave the train orders out to the train crews. And then in the back of it, the warehouse where they kept the freight.”, explains Tilley.
There used to be one of these depots in each town along the rail lines, but most of them have been torn down of disappeared over the years.
“Unfortunately, every town used to have one of these, the only one now between Bristol and Jonesborough are Bristol and Jonesborough. Johnson City, Bluff City, all of them were torn down in the early 70’s.”, says Tilley.
The Chuckey Depot is located on 2nd St. in Downtown Jonesborough and sits less than 50 yards down the track from Jonesborough’s original depot.Copyright 2016 WJHL. All rights reserved.