BROWNSTOWN

A good portion of the interior work on the Ewing Depot is completed.

Some exterior works remains, and the plans are to begin that once the weather warms up.

In terms of what work is left, it will take about $11,250, said Darlene Butt, who owns the 0.4-acre site and is fixing it up for Brownstown to use. Brownstown owns the depot.

The cost estimate of the remaining work does not include labor because Butt said she doesn’t know how much volunteer labor she can get.

“Our money is basically gone,” she said during a recent Brownstown Town Council meeting. “I’m here to see if there’s any chance of some help from the town or from some fund or whatever that you have that would be available. We’d all like to get it done so that it can be serviceable for you guys to use.”

Butt said the heating, air conditioning, electric and water are connected, and the doors and walls are insulated. It’s set up for three offices that are wired for electric, cable and telephone access.

Outside, Carl Shake and the late Joe Robertson finished construction of a guard shed, which used to be shelter for a watchman who had the job of watching traffic on Spring Street where it crossed the railroad tracks. A handicap ramp also was placed on the back of the building.

Work that remains includes ceiling and insulation, drywall, paint and bathroom fixtures inside and sidewalks outside. The sewer also needs to be hooked up.

“We’re trying to finish up the outside work,” Butt said. “We have all of the product. We’re just waiting on the weather now.”

Council President John Nolting said he and the other council members will discuss possible funding opportunities.

“Anything would be appreciated,” Butt said.

Butt has spent more than three years leading the project, which began with the depot’s move away from the railroad. That came after the CSX Railroad decided the depot was a danger to passing trains and needed to be moved at least 40 feet from the tracks.

The railroad offered to give the depot to the town, but someone had to pay to have it moved. That’s where Butt and Brownstown/Ewing Main Street became involved.

The move cost about $18,000, and additional money was needed to put a foundation in place to support the depot once it was moved a short distance away.

Brownstown/Ewing Main Street collected money for the move and has continued to collect donations and use volunteer labor as much as possible to put a new roof on the depot, install a new floor and heating and air conditioning, drywall and insulation and paint everything.

Once all of the work is done, Butt plans to turn control of the depot over to the town. The town initially had to accept ownership of the building from CSX because the railroad would not give it to an individual, such as Butt.

Butt’s initial hope was for an agency or a business to use the depot, which was built by Southern Indiana Railroad Co. around 1890. She also thought groups could conduct meetings there or a museum could set up shop in the building.

Nolting said the town offered it to the chamber of commerce to use as its office, but the chamber board wanted to discuss the idea once the building is closer to being finished.

If the chamber doesn’t want to relocate from Walnut Street near downtown, Nolting said he could see the town council conducting one of its monthly meetings at the depot.

Council member Bethany Brewster suggested renting it out or allowing groups to use the facility.

“The more it’s used, the better off it’s going to be,” Nolting said.

Butt said the area sees a lot of traffic.

“I think if you would come down and visit Ewing sometime, you would be amazed the amount of traffic that goes through down there,” she said. “All the bicycle rides go through down there. People come in from Brown County through down there. I think it could be used for a lot of things.”

Author photo
Zach Spicer is a reporter for The (Seymour) Tribune. He can be reached at zspicer@tribtown.com or 812-523-7080.