Oak Hill city council members voted Monday night to renew the lease of the White Oak Depot located at the corner of Virginia Street and Central Avenue in Oak Hill, signaling the start of a new venture for the White Oak Depot.
The building has been leased to the White Oak Chapter of the National Historical Railroad Society for many years. Along with the owners of the Whistle Stop Ice Cream Shop, Adrienne and David Hughes, the society has a vision to make the depot a multi-functional facility that can be utilized by the community in ways that will hold onto the history of the area through railroading and coal mining, as well as give local artisans a place to display and sell their products thus making the depot a destination for tourists and locals alike.
There will be a meeting to discuss the future of the depot on Saturday, Jan. 19 at the Oak Hill Scout Cabin. A meeting of the White Oak Chapter of the NHRS will be held at 12:30 p.m. with an open meeting for anyone interested in the future of the depot and artisan’s co-op to begin at 2 p.m. The depot will be open between 12 and 2 p.m. if anyone is interested in seeing the inside before the meeting starts.
The new plan calls for the facility to be open four or five days a week with personnel on hand during normal operating hours. The facilities will include an interpretive center of exhibits pertaining to the local history of the White Oak Railway and its benefits to local mines and the growing town of Oak Hill. A shop for local artisans to demonstrate, display and sell their art will be added, as well as a rest room, and dog watering and first aid stations for patrons of the White Oak Rail Trail.
Brochure racks for information about local businesses, attractions and events will be added and plans include the renovation of the tracks to facilitate future operation of small old time railway conveyances. Special events scheduled throughout the year such as participation in the White Oak Rail Trail Expo and Depot Days during the Oak Leaf Festival are scheduled, as well as ideas for new events that are now starting to take shape. Organizers plan for at least one major event and one or more featured artisans each month during the open season which will kick off on first weekend of May and run through Christmas of each year.
If you are interested in any of these new ventures for the White Oak Depot, please plan to attend the Saturday meeting or contact either Adrienne Hughes at 304-575-9604 or Susan Craun at 304-719-8885.