Plans for a week full of events are underway for the 100th anniversary of Macon Terminal Station, including the possible return of a popular steam engine train.
Starting next October, the landmark downtown building will be showcased in events designed to inform and entertain. The goal is to kick off the Terminal Station’s anniversary week next year with the Nancy Hanks train making trips from Macon to Gordon on Oct. 1 and Oct 2.
“I spoke with president of the (Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum), and he’s agreed to set up an appointment with Norfolk Southern to see if we can get clearance those two days,” said Toni Elliott, executive assistant for the Macon Transit Authority. “We’re hoping to do three routes a day from here to Gordon.”
Since August, Elliott has been planning other anniversary events that include community, senior and college days as well as job and health fairs.
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“I didn’t just want to throw one event for all day,” Elliott said. “If you divide it up for a whole week, it gives each individual something to do.”
The Terminal Station is worthy of a large celebration because of its historic value in Macon, said MTA General Manager Rick Jones.
Built in 1916, the building was designed by Alfred Fellheimer, the lead architect behind the New York Grand Central Terminal Station. The station remained busy for several decades as travelers arrived and departed by train.
Over the past decade, the building has been undergoing renovations with the help of a $6.7 million federal grant. Other grants are being sought to complete more work, Jones said.
“This is one of the premier buildings not just in Macon-Bibb County, not just in Georgia, but in all of the nation, so shame on all of us if we don’t do what we need to make it shine,” he said.
Macon-Bibb County Mayor Robert Reichert said he’s been pleased with the Terminal Station transformation. Prior to his tenure, the building was acquired from Georgia Power, and renovations had begun on one of the wings. Since becoming mayor, Reichert has seen the bus transfer station built and the restoration of the main lobby and ground floor.
“We’re still looking at the ultimate (goal) and that is to get passenger rail to come there,” he said.
Elliott said showcasing Terminal Station is important, and so is offering the public access to resources during the birthday week. She’s looking for more organizations and others interested in taking part in the free events.
Elliott said the reaction from the people she’s already reached out to has been positive.
“At the job fair we’ll have free bus rides that day, and the Department of Labor will assist in reaching out for businesses to participate,” she said.
For Jones, the anniversary comes at a time when the station has become self-sufficient with more event rentals and office space being occupied.
“I think the Terminal Station is waking up and coming alive again,” he said. “I think it’s our responsibility as occupants and owners to do all we can to pursue means to get this building decked out in new clothes.”
To contact writer Stanley Dunlap, call 744-4623 or find him on Twitter
An earlier version of this story had the incorrect phone number for Toni Elliott.
For more information:
Anyone interested in participating in the events for the Terminal Station 100 year anniversary can contact Toni Elliott at 733-6277.