Back in 1850, Burgaw residents used to hop on the free railroad and head to Wilmington for a day on the river. Now the train no longer operates, and historians are looking to revamp the old building and bring it back to life as the town's community center. "As America becomes so homogenous in our architecture, we need to keep our local stories alive, our local history alive," said Mike Taylor, a member of the Burgaw Depot Preservation Board. "That brings character to a community." Burgaw started this renovation years ago, and little by little the project has been chugging along. The town refinished the outside of the building. Now it's time to polish up the inside while still keeping its history alive. "You can still see the original finish, you can see burned areas where the Union troops attacked it in 1863. All that is still here." Burgaw Mayor Pete Cowan grew up right around the corner from the depot. He remembers what it used to be like. "I grew up a mile from town, through the woods," Cowan said, "and I remember when I was a small child, just growing some beans and cucumbers on the farm, and they were put on the mule and cart, we brought them through the woods so to speak, on a dirt path, to the depot to be put on the train." The warehouse part of the depot hasn't been touched in more than a hundred years, but behind all the cobwebs are the bare bones of a new historical town center for Burgaw. "It's just here through neglect, a shear accident," Taylor said. "But we can enjoy it today, and appreciate the history that is here." The town has received nearly $150,000 from the state to start the project. It is looking for the rest of the funds through grants and donations. Residents are all aboard for this town project. The hope is that soon, they'll be saying "Meet me at the station."
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