Rail Depot Restoration

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A rail depot restoration was a recent historic project for us in Bishopville, South Carolina. Bishopville was home to prosperous cotton farmers in the early 19th century.  In the late 1880s the railroad came to town, and Bishopville became a major shipping point for agricultural products. By 1910 Bishopville was a county seat and commercial center, as well as the center of the state's cotton industry. A cotton oil mill, two large cotton gins, and large storage warehouses were scattered through the community. Businesses and offices of cotton agents were housed in frame buildings next to the railroad. Over the next ten years Bishopville continued its growth and brick commercial buildings on Main Street included three banks. Cotton prices peaked in 1920. The gradual fall of prices, destruction to crops by the boll weevil, followed by the depression devastated the cotton industry.

The rail line from Bishopville to Sumter was abandoned in 1982, and the historic brick depot  sat unused and deteriorating. The city obtained a long term lease with the railroad, and plans were made to revitalize the downtown depot and rail line property. The historic train depot now has a future as an event venue and recreational space.

Brick rail station

Rail station rear view

photos: Gracelyn Rast Photography

Bishopville SC

Working with Gilbert Construction Co. of Florence, SC, our scope of work  on the rail depot restoration was installing new posts and the roof system, and timber awnings.  Ninety-nine Douglas fir 36-foot long rafters stretch the length of the brick building. Six awnings cover door and window openings. Preserving as much of the depot's original elements as possible was an important focus in the project. 

Bishopville rail depot timber plans

John Parker, of Gilbert Construction, took some drone photographs before, during, and after the roofers got started.  You can see some of the old cotton industry buildings in the background. 

Rail depot
Rafters installed
Rail depot work site
Roofers at work

Rail depot restoration timber work was captured in photographs by Jed Pomeroy while working on site. 

posts and plates
installing rafters
progress on timber rafters
long rafters
door awning
timber awning
rail depot restoration
36 foot long rafters
Depot side view
Bishopville project end of day

Here are some other interesting sights to see if you visit Bishopville: