Plymouth Railroad Depot centennial has arrived!
July 14, 2010
PLYMOUTH—This Sunday, July 18, from 3:30 until 6 p.m., the Plymouth Regional Senior Center will be holding a festive celebration for the 100th birthday of Plymouth's former Boston and Maine Railroad Station.
Everyone is welcome to attend the event, which will feature train tours, a cookout, music, and an exhibit of train memorabilia from the past.
Local residents will be invited to share their memories of the train depot that now houses the Plymouth Regional Senior Center, but once was the hub for travelers arriving and departing town from near and far.
The recently renovated train station, resurrected as a thriving regional senior center serving Plymouth and 17 surrounding towns, is still a busy center of activity in town. Many of the local seniors that use the center today remember that it was once the point of departure for soldiers going off to war, students going off to college, and ambitious youth headed off to the big city to make their fortune.
Filled with the palpable spirit of the many emotional farewells and reunions that have taken place over the years, the Depot remains at the very heart of community life today. This is a time for seniors to reminisce, young people to learn about our their heritage, and for all to pay their respects to the venerable building that continues to play such a vital role in community life.
Located just off Main Street in Plymouth, on Green Street by the riverfront, the old B & M Rail Station was originally built in 1910 to replace the former Pemigewasset House Hotel with 200 rooms and a train station, both of which were tragically destroyed by fire in 1909.
Before its demise, the Pemigewasset was a grand resort and historically important hotel. The famous New England author Nathaniel Hawthorne is reported to have died there in 1864 with his friend, Franklin Pierce, by his side.
The Depot remained an active rail station for decades, but ultimately, as railroad travel eventually declined, it fell into disuse during the 1980s, and was boarded up and abandoned, later to be taken by the town of Plymouth for back taxes.
Concerned citizens and business partners undertook an heroic effort to raise the funds necessary to restore the beautiful building and create a vibrant community space where older residents and community members could gather, enjoy activities and receive much needed services.
In the 1990s, the Grafton County Senior Citizen Council and the town of Plymouth were fortunate to receive community development block grant funding to enable the restoration of the former "North Waiting room" on the first floor, with its vaulted ceiling, transforming it into a spacious dining area, with a full kitchen, restrooms, offices, a library and meeting rooms.
A transportation enhancement grant was received in 1994 allowing the construction of a sheltered platform out front (great for barbecues), landscaping, and other external improvements to the handsome brick structure.
The community recently celebrated the completion of additional meeting rooms, a crafts space and a large community room with computers on the second floor. The structure continues to be a vital asset, not just to seniors, but to many other non-profit organizations and groups from Plymouth and surrounding communities that use it for special functions and events.
During the busy summer and fall foliage season, the station plays host to sightseers and tourists as the Hobo Railroad comes through on its scenic tours.
If, by some odd chance, you have never had the occasion to visit the Plymouth Regional Senior Center, Sunday is certain to be a good time to make its acquaintance. It is sure to be a wonderful opportunity for both young and old to learn more about the rich history of the railroad depot for residents and visitors alike.