Restoration underway for future visitor center, museum in Pocahontas

POCAHONTAS, AR (KAIT) - A piece of history donated to the City of Pocahontas is on it's way to being restored to it's former glory as well as put some purpose back into the building.

The town's old train depot is in the midst of getting a facelift that the tourism association hopes will bring more people to the area.

In three months, a lot of work has gone into the building that will serve as a visitor center and museum on the history of the town's transportation.

"In here is where we'll have all our old brochures and information," Randolph County Heritage Tourism & Historic Preservation Specialist Bill Carroll told Region 8 News. The south side of the building will house the visitor center that is seeing much of the restoration right now.

"They had to take out the floor because the termites destroyed it and pour a new floor," Carroll explained.

That's just part of the work that's already been done. Contractors have straightened the roofline and crews are now painting the outside of the building to resemble it's original 1920's look.

Carroll said giving the building a purpose is something the Randolph County Tourism Association and the city have been looking forward to.

"Depot was here and it was deteriorating and the opportunity to do a restoration and make it useful again was something we all felt very good about," Carroll said.

Thanks to a roughly $285,000 grant from the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department, part of the restoration will be possible.

"We're able to completely restore the exterior and to complete the visitor information center," Carroll explained. With that money, landscaping, signage and parking at the building will also be completed.

The museum will hold the history of transportation methods throughout the years in Pocahontas. "80 percent of the people who settled in Arkansas came through here on this road," Carroll told Region 8 News regarding Highway 67.

Additional funding is still needed to finish the museum, however Carroll said the visitor information center is set to be complete in October.

Copyright 2013 KAIT. All Rights Reserved.