People pass it every time they drive or walk through downtown Aberdeen.
The Aberdeen B&O railroad station, in need of funding, still rests in disrepair nearly a year after the title contract transferred from CSX Transportation to the Harford County Historical Society.
The society’s B&O Restoration Project, a funding effort to save the train station, received a boost in July after the Maryland Historical Trust offered grants equaling $100,000. But at least another $300,000 needs to be raised before any action can take place.
“It’s an eyesore. We admit that it’s not attractive,” said Maryanna Skowronski, director of the society. “A lot is going on and a lot has gone on, but it’s not necessarily visible.”
The society spent money in 2004 to have architectural firm David H. Gleason Associates, Inc. conduct a feasibility study. The study determined the train station, located on West Bel Air Avenue, needs to be picked up and relocated 50 feet away from the train tracks.
City officials believe many businesses in downtown Aberdeen could use façade improvements, but the dormant train station has avoided being razed because it has historical significance. Built by Victorian-era architect Frank Furness, the train station is eligible for the National Register of Historical Places.
“When it does happen, it’ll be a real boom for the city. It’ll approve the whole visual look of that area,” said Skowronski. “From a tourism point of view, we hope it’ll bring in people because the amount of railroad buffs around the country is amazing.”
Walt Holloway, a volunteer at the society for three years, believes the train station is worth saving.
“It’s well known in the rail community that they’re trying to save the station,” said Holloway. “If it’s not moved and restored, it’s going to collapse. Last time I was there, it was in pretty bad shape.”
The train station needs to be relocated before it can be stored because it is too close to the tracks, according to the feasibility study. The station’s canopy was partially shaved off because freight trains are now wider.
The society took on a similar project, but smaller in scope, when it raised funds to relocate the two century-old Hays House in Bel Air and turned it into a museum. The necessary funds were raised in two weeks.
Anyone who wants to donate money to the project or is interested in more information can email firstname.lastname@example.org.