ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – It’s rare that a train drives by the century-old train depot anymore. Even though the tracks are not often used now, if you look at the depot; you can see that the walls are still holding up strong, the original door still slides with ease, and pieces of history are displayed inside.
This is all because a group, that Ginger and Margaret Dudley were part of, decided to put in the work to save what was once a worn-down building.
“The depot was in terrible shape, and it had been abandoned, so to speak,” said Margaret, a charter member of Friends of Historic Comanche, who worked closely with the architect.
Margaret and her sister-in-law Ginger moved to Comanche in the 70’s, raising their families in this town.
“I thought, ‘well, we need to make this town look a little spiffier for visitors,’” Ginger recalled.
Both seeing potential in the train depot, the sisters-in-law knew it would take a great deal of money to see their vision come to life. The depot was then listed on Preservation Texas’ Most Endangered Places, which gave the building more exposure to the public.
Friends of Historic Comanche worked to raise more than $300,000 to restore the building a century after it was built. They had one stipulation – it had to become home to Comanche’s Chamber of Commerce and a train museum.
“We always had the vision, and when the vision came into fruition, we were pleased,” said Margaret.
Their next project is to restore the brick walkway outside, since these century old bricks have started to crumble. They are adding even more history to this building by making the new bricks, ‘memory bricks,’ with names engraved into each one.
The community can help by buying a brick for $100, having a loved-one’s name engraved into it.
Margaret said a community’s history should be important for everyone.
“Sometimes, looking at the past will give you a better understanding of the present,” Margaret explained.
If you would like to help with this next project, you can purchase a brick by calling the chamber at (325) 356-3233. Their goal is to replace all of the bricks.