After several years of discussion over whether the Ludowici Train Depot would be remodeled or torn down, it appears the historic building will be getting a face-lift.
Mel Gordon recently received permission from the Long County Commission to begin cleaning the old building, with the goal of eventually remodeling the structure.
“Finally, a movement to save the old Ludowici Train Depot is under way, after a long and arduous journey from its grand days as the center of transportation in the post-Civil War South, in the town of Johnston Station, later to become present-day Ludowici, is getting a second look at being saved,” Gordon said.
He said that although the remodeling project is in its early stages, the goal is for the depot to house offices for the Long County Development Authority, the Long County Chamber of Commerce and a welcome center. There also are plans to put in a kitchen and an activity room that could be used by the community for events like family reunions and birthdays.
According to information provided by Gordon, in the mid-1840s, the railroad was built running from Savannah to Ludowici with the railway company being the Atlantic and Gulf. Eventually, it became the Seaboard Coastline and now is owned by the Chessie System. Allen Johnston was the first settler to the area, and he owned all of the land that now is known as Ludowici. With the train running through the community, it was named Johnston Station. The station was burned to the ground in 1864 during Gen. Sherman’s march through Georgia, but was rebuilt. It burned down a second time and was rebuilt again around 1895, and that structure still stands today.
Volunteers recently began to clean up the depot, but they also received help from Long State Prison. Gordon said the prison work detail assisted with the cleanup and did a good job. But he added that there is a lot of work to do, and funding is needed to continue.
“The depot cries out for help,” he said. “Some of the local citizens with the support from the city of Ludowici and the county commission are on a campaign to revive and save the building … help support the movement by volunteering work and dollars.”
For more information or to make a financial contribution, call Gordon at 912-272-3028 or Connie Chapman at 545-2578.