WARNER ROBINS -- After years of serving as a railroad stop for goods and passengers, the Elberta Depot has traveled on its own.
The 1918 one-story structure has moved from its original location at the corner of Elberta Road and Ga. 247 to the Houston County Fairgrounds. Now, the building has found a permanent home on Armed Forces Boulevard, where it will continue to serve the community -- albeit in a different way.
Officials held a ribbon-cutting ceremony Monday for the refurbished depot, which will become a Warner Robins heritage center.
A good indication of the future is to know and have an appreciation of the past, Warner Robins Mayor Chuck Shaheen said.
That was a sentiment behind the project, made possible by a $62,000 grant from the Georgia Department of Transportation. Officials soon will bring in an exhibit tracing the history of the town.
A flat-screen television also will play histories of the town, said Marsha Buzzell, executive director of the Warner Robins Convention and Visitors Bureau.
But, first, the depot had to get to its new spot, which is appropriate, Buzzell said, because it sits near the railroad tracks and Robins Air Force Base.
The railroad (originally) brought the troops in, she said.
After the depot stopped functioning as a train station, it was moved to the Houston County Fairgrounds, restored and served as an activity center under the management of Ted Pulsifer. A few years ago, the structure again moved to its current location, a move that was featured on the Discovery Channels Moving Mega Structures.
We moved it from Elberta, up, Pulsifer said. And we moved it from Elberta, down, and people told us it couldnt be done.
But it was completed, and on Monday people wandered in and out of the renovated building. The original chandeliers hang inside, and the walls and floor are made up of wooden boards.
Those boards are familiar to the Rev. Paula Hoffman of the First Presbyterian Church in Warner Robins, where another train station, the original Wellston depot, serves as the church sanctuary.
I recognize some of those floorboards, Hoffman said.