Well after many many years of talk the move of Hawthorne Station is about to become a reality. On July 13th the first real shovel (not a ceremonial one) was put into the ground and so officially the work on the new foundation began. The first few days saw a number of weather related delays, including the first day that only saw a small amount of work done before the skies opened up and the following day when no work was done at all due to heavy rain. But then the progress was quite good and by the 19th we had footings being poured and the days that followed saw the foundation walls being built. The foundation was finished on August 2nd and the following day the floor was poured. Then on Wednesday August 3rd the backfilling was completed and so was completed that phase of the project.
During this whole time the building mover had been working on taking out portions of the old brick foundation to take a look under the station and see what wood repair might be needed and what they would need to do to safely move the building. The steel I-beams that will be permanently attached to the building were delivered and work began on prepping them to go under the station.
It will take about 2 weeks for the concrete in the foundation to cure and be able to handle the weight of the station as it moves into its new home. So sometime around August 18th if everything else is ready the station could be moved. When a date is known an announcement will go out to everyone via our Yahoo Group and through our web site so that anyone who wants to can come and watch history being made.
By the way in searching through materials found in the station it appears that the station has been standing on the corner of Diamond Bridge and Royal Avenues since 1894 and from what was written it cost $900 to build at that time. So 116 years after it was built it will have a new home just 75 feet from where she spent all those years. In her new home she will be safe from those nasty trucks, have lots of air flow under her (thanks to the new basement) so that her wood will not rot, she will be preserved for many more years to come so that countless people can learn about the past and enjoy all we will have to offer.
Our job is far from over as now we need to do more fund raising and complete the exterior work. This will include stripping off the old paint, repairing and preserving the wood and then repainting the station into the proper red she wore for many years. We will need to complete the park where the station once stood and in the area railroad west of her new location. This will include a path made of paver bricks that the public can buy to, among other things, honor a loved one or just put their names to be part of history. We will need to repair the damaged corner and put on a new roof that will have the look of the old slate roof that once was there. Our goal is to have the stations grand re-opening on Friday April 29th 2011. Why that date you ask? It would have been Joe Weber’s 50th birthday and I cannot think of a better way to honor him and remember all he did for and meant to the VRA than to have the grand re-opening on that day. Lets all work together and reach that goal.