The Friends of the Orange Depot maintain and preserve the Orange Train Depot Museum as an historical venue for the benefit of the community, where residents and visitors can gather to engage with one another and learn more about local history and culture.
Adopted May 17th 2018.
Where We Came From
The Orange Depot, a Victorian-style building erected in 1902, was a bustling and indispensable part of life in Orange up until passenger train traffic through the region diminished in the middle of the 20th century. It has not served its original function since the 1960s; for a while, it was leased as an office space, but has now stood vacant and deteriorating for years. When writer and television producer Carrie Joiner Woliver, a former resident of Orange, passed by the decaying building on a visit in 2012, she was very disturbed at seeing such a vital part of Orange history fall into neglect. Woliver had recently authored the book The Train Stopped in Orange: A Captivating Family History Revealed through 1917 Texas Diaries, based on her grandparents’ lives, in which the railroad and depot had played an important role, and she and her husband Ron decided to take action to save the structure.
They formed the non-profit 501(c)(3) Friends of the Orange Depot in November 2013 and donated the funds for the Friends to purchase the Depot and to get fundraising operations off the ground. Having raised enough funding to renovate the building, the organization held a groundbreaking ceremony on 4/23/16 and will finish the renovations by the end of 2016. In the meantime, we are continuing to raise funds to outfit the museum, to make improvements to the grounds, and to raise some operating funds..
Where We’re Going
Restored to its former glory, the Depot serves as a museum, educational facility and a Welcome Center for Historic Downtown Orange—a multi-purpose gathering place where locals and visitors can come together to learn about the history and culture of the area—as well as a community space usable by other community or public organizations and individuals for events and conferences.
The Orange Depot provides a singular educational experience for children and adults featuring the industries that propelled the growth of Orange, Texas
The Reception Area will exhibit Railroad memorabilia and stories about the role of railroad transportation of passengers from 1910-1979, when passenger traffic ceased.
Two video kiosks will tell the stories of two living employees of the railroad in their own words. Exhibits will give emphasis to the soldiers who traveled through the Depot during both World Wars, when the shipbuilding industry in Orange, Texas was very active in the war effort.
Timber and Petrochemical
In the larger Conference Area, historical photos will tell the timber and petrochemical stories. a 75″ television will be available for use by special events groups and corporate clients.
The Orange Train Depot will open for tours by appointment only (409-330-1576). We encourage large and small lgroups, even school children, to learn about the depot story and Orange history from our volunteer docents.