In 2001, the City of Kennesaw and the Kennesaw Historic Preservation Commission completed a five-month, $150,000 City-funded interior restoration of the historic railroad Depot in downtown. The Depot was constructed in 1908 by the Nashville, Chattanooga, and St. Louis Railroad and originally was used as a freight and passenger Depot. In the early 1920s, two passenger waiting rooms were added to the north end of the Depot. In 1998, with the use of a Georgia Department of Transportation TEA (Transportation Enhancement Activity) grant, the City restored the exterior of the building that is now used as a Welcome Center and centerpiece and stage for City sponsored special events and other activities throughout the year.
The interior of the Depot had fallen into disrepair and had been closed since 1998. The $150,000 restoration project focused on the interior of the railroad Depot. Aspects of the renovation included stabilization of the foundation, replacement of rotten floor joists and beams, restoration of tongue and groove interior floor and walls, installation of period light fixtures, installation of new mechanical, plumbing, and electrical equipment and authentic restoration of doors and windows.
The Depot is currently used to house museum exhibits, a collection of artifacts, and photographs relating to the history of Kennesaw. All exhibits were designed and fabricated by Murphy & Orr Exhibits of Forrest Park, Georgia. The exhibits focus on the history of Kennesaw. Story boards include a timeline highlighting historically significant events in the community’s history, a history of the Depot, a history of how the community was named, African-Americans in Kennesaw, the Civil War in Kennesaw, Kennesaw 1900-1930, Kennesaw 1930-1950, and Kennesaw 1950 – present. In addition, an exhibit housing artifacts relating to the history of Kennesaw and an exhibit housing artifacts unearthed during the archeological dig of the site of the historic Lacy Hotel (artifacts include stone ware, bullets from the Civil War, Confederate and Union officer uniform buttons, and arrow heads) have been developed.
Members of the Kennesaw Historic Preservation Commission were responsible for overseeing the interior restoration, working with the exhibit designer to develop the text for the story boards in the exhibits, selecting photographs and artifacts, and overseeing the installation of the exhibits. The intent of the exhibits is to give City residents and visitors a place to learn the history of their community and to complement the educational programs of the nearby Southern Museum of Civil War and Locomotive History.
For information about renting the Depot, please contact the Southern Museum at 770-427-2117.