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First Round of Restorations Complete for Historic Train Depot

The North Hollywood train depot is a historic site built in 1896 with the first of at least two restoration phases kicking off in May.

A handful of local historians and train enthusiasts got an exclusive look Monday at the site of the historic North Hollywood train depot after it underwent a series of a restoration efforts.

The structure at Lankershim and Chandler boulevards was built in 1896 and saw the last Red Car trolleys pass through to downtown in the 1950s. It has seen very little action since.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority purchased the site in 1990 with plans to fix it up, though most recent passers-by have grown accustomed to seeing the depot behind a covered fence.

Things were finally put in motion in May, when Miller Environmental started conducting abatement of lead paints, asbestos roofing, and hazardous soil removal with MTA footing a $264,326 bill.

Phase two of restoration will involve some more heavy duty work, such as shell and core rehabilitation of the existing structure, including new footings and seismic strengthening to reinforce the structure, according to MTA.

That effort could kick off as early as December once a contract with an outside firm is finalized, said Thomas Lee, a senior construction manager with MTA who led the brief tour around the depot.

MTA has a $3-$3.5 million budget allocated for restoration. However, it's unknown whether the work would call for more funding, Lee said.

For now, resident Bob Peppermuller says he's glad the project has gotten off the ground.

"I've love what they've done so far, because I've been watching it for the last 50 years since I've lived here in North Hollywood," he said, adding: "This has come as far as I've ever seen it go and now there's hope for restoring it before it falls down due to gravity and termites."

And gravity is certainly a threat to the historic depot. While leading the tour group around the site, Lee pointed out several large stones attached with chords to the loading platform in order to maintain balance.

Lee said phase two completion could take about a year and whatever becomes of the depot after that is still up in the air.

Guy Weddington-McCreary, a long-time champion for restoration and head of the Save Lankershim Train Depot Committee, told Patch that the site should be converted into a museum.

"What a beautiful deal, being right across the street from the new subway station, to bring students in and show them this is what it used to be like for 100 years," he said.

Peppermuller said he'd like to see a small park with a fountain on the side of the lot closest to Lankershim Boulevard, an effort that could require a third restoration phase.

Lee said another idea that's been brought up before is dedicating some of the depot to concession with tables and chairs on the loading platform.

Gary Fredburg, vice president of The Museum of the San Fernando Valley, said the depot site could be a candidate for being the final home for the displaced , which is one of the oldest structures in North Hollywood.

"It would be a great place to put it, whether or not that happens is a different question," he said.

The decision of what would ultimately occupy the depot once it's finished will be up to the MTA, Lee said.

Lee said the bidding period for phase two is starting soon and should last between 40-45 days.

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Jennifer Warner August 21, 2012 at 01:56 PM
Great news! And great photos. Thanks so much for the update!
Nino August 21, 2012 at 02:42 PM
what about putting in antique type shops, and a old fashioned tea room. Add a childrens only theatre area. Get something going for children indoors and educational. Just a thought.
LABornAndRaised August 21, 2012 at 06:01 PM
Loving the new paint job. I saw the updates at last week's farmer's market, but from the outside of the fence. A museum and an extension of the farmer's market would be good use of the space.
Laura August 21, 2012 at 06:37 PM
Great! And something in that location that will draw life to that corner. Extend the farmer market as LABAR said, a flea market along with historical flavor - something that draws pedestrian traffic on a regular basis. Kind of a mini-Ferry Building perhaps?
Bob Peppermuller August 22, 2012 at 12:50 AM
Ferry building in San Pedro or San Francisco? BTW in the first picture I am the guy on the right with the backpack. I set this tour up.
Jack M August 22, 2012 at 01:01 AM
Looking good... but strange that they would restore the top structure, before fixing the foundation first. Anyway glad that this building was saved. The best place for the Weddington house would be in the park near the Emilia Earheart library.
Laura August 22, 2012 at 05:12 AM
I was thinking of SF.
Berington Van Campen August 22, 2012 at 12:57 PM
Fabulous! It's heartening to see these classic buildings being saved and given new life... so many people have no clue about this not-so-distant past. My suggestion would be to get a short length of track and install an old steam engine outside this building, placed appropriately next to it, somewhat a la "Traveltown." It would beautifully "complete the scene."
Bob Peppermuller August 22, 2012 at 05:17 PM
1. The original track next to the station is still there. I have seen proposals to put a railroad vehicle of some kind on those tracks. Rail sides too rusty to read maker and year. Probably Carnegie 1902 from what rail is left at Chandler/Victory in Burbank. 2. The interior of the building doesn't have a lot of room. So what eventually goes in there can't be very large. I have seen San Pedro and SF ferry buildings. 3. The companion building to the station is the Colonial Medical building on the SW corner of Riverside and Vineland. It is the Pacific Electric (PE) power house over a century old (1910-1911). It shut down at 3pm on Dec 29, 1952. Not protected historical landmark. 4. On Dec 28 of this year marks the 60th anniversary of the abandonment of the PE in the valley. 5. If I had my druthers and $$$ I would crate a heritage square with the Station, Weddington house and Phil's Diner together. We think we found the Hartsook Ranch House and I would like to include that also. (but) We haven't proven that yet. 6. Ferd Hartsook's 2nd wife was Bess Hesby. So that is were Hartsook and Hesby streets got there names when North Hollywood was plated out in the 1920's. Bess Hesby was a queen of the 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition in San Francisco. Fred was a noted photographer/rancher in the early 20th century and both lived here in North Hollywood (Lankershim). - Bob, friend of the station.
Jack M August 22, 2012 at 06:07 PM
Interesting idea Bob about the Heritage Square. Is there really room for this on the station property? Having a Heritage Square in NoHo would be great.
Bob Peppermuller August 22, 2012 at 09:15 PM
Yes, maybe. One would have to take up the entire rectangle formed by So. Chandler, Lankershim, So. Orange Line boundary and Tujunga on the west. That basically means taking up the parking lot and Metro Layover building between the station west fence and Tujunga.
Yami August 30, 2012 at 06:23 AM
.....geez, surprised no one brought up the $264,326 bill. Aren't you suppose to get 3 bids? ...lol.......they really padded that one.....huh? ... (abatement of lead paints, asbestos roofing, and hazardous soil removal)
Yami August 30, 2012 at 06:28 AM
......ya, I know. After looking over the set of pictures.....why not the foundation 1st? Crazy stuff
Bob Peppermuller August 30, 2012 at 05:43 PM
That was the low bid and they earned it.

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