“The mission of the Greenville Area Chamber of Commerce is to create programs that will help retain and expand the existing business community;
attract new businesses and residents; and improve the quality of life for those who live and work in Greenville and Butler County.”
Historic Train Depot
Welcome to the Greenville Depot. This historic building, built in 1923, now houses the office of the Greenville Area Chamber of Commerce. The Depot was raised from ruin beginning in 1993 as the Chamber took the lead role in securing funding for the restoration through the ISTEA grant program. The City of Greenville was truly the most instrumental group throughout this process, lending their vision and leadership, along with financial commitment, to make this occur. Local contributions made up over 20% of the total monies committed to this renovation, which was conceptualized by the firm of Goodwyn, Mills & Cawood, with the construction work performed by Liberty Design and Construction. The Chamber and Butler County Commission for Economic Development took occupancy of the building January 1, 1996. BCCED has since moved to the campus of Lurleen B. Wallace Community College. As you enter the lobby, you will see the image that most people see as their first glimpse of Greenville.
Most all the windows are original glass, as is all the wainscoting in the building. As you look up to the grand chandelier provided by Liberty Design and Construction as their contribution to the decor, it’s hard to believe that before construction started you could stand under where it now hangs and look up to see the sky. To your right are the offices of Tracy Salter, Executive Director, and Courtney Neese, Administrative Assistant. The space they now occupy was originally used as the “Ladies Waiting Room”, so that delicate female sensitivities would not be offended by cigar smoke and men’s loud voices. To your left is the original ticket office, complete with the ticket window preserved. The cupola, which is now a conversation area, once served as a sheltered lookout for trains approaching the station. This office is used for business appointments. As you enter the Boardroom, it’s hard to picture that this was originally the “colored waiting room”, as noted on the original blueprints, which were discovered during the research phase. The table is courtesy of the old First National Bank, and you’ll notice that much of the artwork in the building is the efforts of local artists. As you walk through to the kitchen, you’ll probably be surprised to find that this was the Railway Express office. It now has all the modern conveniences needed to serve various groups and dinners, which are held frequently in the Depot. You are standing now in what used to be the old Railway Express freight room, which has been converted to the Community Room. It is used regularly for meetings of various clubs and groups in the Camellia City.
The Depot still serves as a focal point to many people as either a tourist stop or as a place in the history of many where monumental events such as going off to college, or going off to war, have occurred. Think back to the haunting strains of the song “Dixie”, which according to legend, was first sung on this site as the boys went north to the War of Northern Aggression. Whether it was the last site you saw, or the first place you stepped off coming home, it has always maintained that allure.
We’re glad that we could share it with you today. Welcome back home…from all of us who now call this building our home.