Depot Day at the Pavilion in Orange

Southern Pacific Depot in Orange

The Friends of the Orange Depot is still raising funds to transform the historic Southern Pacific Depot in Orange from a long-abandoned train station into a must-see museum and more for both visitors from the area and travelers from abroad. In furtherance of their noble efforts to educate and inspire tourists and local adventurers by revitalizing the historic structure, the Friends are hosting their first Depot Day at the Pavilion in Orange on Saturday, Oct. 18, and everyone is invited.

The depot was built in 1902 and has been unused for decades. Former Orange resident Carrie Joiner Woliver and her husband Ron of Houston recently purchased the structure called “The Gateway to Orange” and plan to renovate the depot in hopes to revitalize the community. The restored depot will become the "Gateway to the Historic District" of Orange and, Woliver hopes, will encourage tourism, thus stimulating economic growth along that corridor. Woliver is president of the non-profit organization “The Friends of the Orange Depot,” which she founded specifically to raise funds for the restoration and run the depot upon completion.

The Friends of the Orange Depot is a volunteer organization whose goal is to raise the funds necessary to renovate the historic Southern Pacific Depot and turn it into a museum, a community center, and an attraction for tourists to visit. The depot is located on the corner of Eleventh Street and Green Avenue, right at the start of the historic district of Orange, and volunteers are encouraging everyone in the county to help support their efforts.

In addition to the Oct. 18 fundraising event, the Friends continue their “Pave a Path to the Depot” brick-selling campaign. Brick Chairman Dave Derosier recently announced that the campaign has raised $10,000, 20 percent of the campaign goal of $50,000, and that more donations are coming in weekly. Engraved bricks can be purchased on the Friends of the Orange Depot website at, which also offers more information about the group’s efforts and history of the depot. Bricks can be purchased for $50 or $100.

If sending a donation by check or money order, please send it to Friends of the Orange Depot, P.O. Box 2654, Orange, TX 77631-2654. Email info [at] orangetxdepot [dot] org with any questions about the group.

The Depot Day at the Pavilion event scheduled for Oct. 18 from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. at Pavilion Park is free and open to the public. Pavilion Park is located at the City of Orange Riverfront Pavilion and Boardwalk at 601 W. Division Ave.

The Friends are still seeking sponsors to raise the funds needed to revamp the old depot and create a fun, learning experience for guests of the proposed new attraction. The City of Orange CVB is the lead sponsor of the event, according to information from the Friends of the Orange Depot. Granger Chevrolet and KOGT Radio are also sponsoring Depot Day, but more funds are needed. Any company interested in sponsoring should contact Taylor Warner at the Orange Convention and Visitors Bureau at (409) 883-1011. Sponsors will be included in all advertising efforts before and during the event, says the fundraising group, and can also feel great about assisting in the Friends’ efforts to bring business and tourism bucks to Orange while disseminating the city’s rich history.

The fundraising goal for the restoration and subsequent operations expenses has been set at $600,000. The Friends have a long way to go to reach that goal and, by joining them for Depot Day at Pavilion Park from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. on Oct. 18, guests can do their part to help them make it.