Tuesday, March 24, 2009


Leonard Hayes

Many times we ride by a building and don't pay attention to whether it has merit or not. Recently, I parked near a building in Berea, Kentucky and failed to even give it a glance. Then, suddenly, for some reason, maybe the sun was shining on it just right or I looked toward the clouds moving in, and there it was. I instantly recognized it as an old train station (depot) and it was obviously vacant. After becoming aware of this station I began asking around the area as to its history and who owned it. Eventually I discovered a Mr. Leonard Hayes (above) and he was not only the owner but in my eyes the steward of preserving the train station that has lived its life as a freight station. The town's passenger station was located across the tracks from the freight depot.
Berea's Freight Station

Leonard Hayes generously provided some information about the above old freight station. He had a builder's copy of the floor plan dated 1884. He said its construction date was 1886. Since acquiring it he has put on new roofing shingles and a loading dock on the track side. Other than these changes, Mr Hayes believes that it retains its original character. The City of Berea was in the process of condemning the station when he acquired it. Presently it is used for storage.

My take on the station was its old artistic building materials and construction. Built of all wood that has turned a silver-tone color from exposure to the elements, the whole of the building has an organic feeling. The station's many doors give a feeling of rugged survival.

I've included several photos of the doors, each individual yet related. Above is one of two similarly diagonal patterned dock doors, this one enjoys splashes of white paint on its surround.

A sawbuck door stands strong even though its use is no longer needed.

Another of the diagonal doors, different than the other one by its shades of silver patterns.

Although the freight station will not experience the same use again, the community of Berea is fortunate to have Mr Hayes taking excellent care of a piece of its past.

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