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Foundation of former railroad station annex is unearthed

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While digging up ground for a parking deck for Cape Fear Community College, crews uncovered a part of Wilmington's past; the foundation of a building built in 1903 that housed offices for the Atlantic Coast Railroad. "I'm kind of surprised about the way the railroad used cement in the old days, but then I have to consider that these were solid brick walls, 16, 18, 20 inches thick, rising to a height of three stories," said Wilmington Railroad Museum Executive Director, Mark Koenig. Koenig said while mostly bricks and stone and mortar have been found, it's interesting to see part of the past in person. "It is kind of neat to see the stuff unearthed, and we have been taking some pictures of it simply to document where things were." At the turn of the 20th century, when the rail business here was booming, Wilmington was North Carolina's largest city. It had a port and a railroad, on which the local economy heavily relied. History librarian, Beverly Tetterton said, "Wilmington was a railroad town. Everybody worked for the railroad. Everybody had something to do with the railroad." Wilmington was the headquarters for the Atlantic Coast Railroad, until the company moved to Florida in 1960, where it remains today, now called CSX. "It's amazing that there's almost nothing left of it at all. Urban renewal took ever bit of it away," said Tetterton. The annex building was demolished in 1962, and its remains have been underground until now. Mark Koenig said the cement blocks that have been unearthed may be hauled off to a landfill, but the decision is up to the contractor. The CFCC parking deck being built on the lot is scheduled to be finished in the fall. It will have five floors and 400 spaces.

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