Ashtabula Train Depot Receives "Most Endangered" Designation
Rep. Patterson supports preservation of historic site

State Rep. John Patterson (D-Jefferson) participated today in an event at the Ohio Statehouse during which the Ashtabula Train Depot was named to Preserve Ohio’s 2015 Most Endangered list of historic sites. This year’s list identifies 13 historically significant Ohio sites that are in jeopardy due to demolition, disinvestment, or indifference.

“Today’s announcement helps draw much-needed attention to the significance of our historic train station,” said Rep. Patterson. “As a former United States history teacher, I understand how important it is to preserve such sites for future generations. Maintaining the Ashtabula Train Depot will help contribute to a robust and cultured society, and will serve as an important reminder of our past.”

Constructed in the 1800s, the Ashtabula Train Station is currently vacant and potentially in danger of being demolished later this year. A local group known as 21STC Ashtabula Depot Rail Experience formed recently in order to advocate for moving the structure or turning it into a working Amtrak station with a museum and coffee house. The site holds deep historical significance to the area as the station is within 1000 feet of the deadliest train bridge collapse in U.S. history. The 1876 tragedy resulted in the death of 83 people. 

“It’s one of these things that will have a dual purpose, both in preserving the depot’s historical significance and also becoming a part of the county’s tourism draw—the mainstay of Ashtabula County,” said Bob Johnson, a member of the depot’s advocacy organization. “We’re looking forward to it being part of all of the other tourist attractions: the covered bridges, wine tours, bike trails, and of course Lake Erie, with boating and fishing.”

Preservation Ohio creates their list based on nominations from citizens or organizations across the U.S. Past recognition of endangered sites has contributed to successful restoration and repurposing efforts. Those sites that remain endangered continue to have their statuses monitored by Preservation Ohio as the organization works with local groups to advocate on their behalf.

May is National Historic Preservation Month, where organizations like Preservation Ohio attempt to raise awareness around the conditions of historical sites and the connection they have to their communities. 

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