Bradleyton becomes a

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 15, 2000

part of museum collection


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Pike Pioneer Museum continues to bring back the good ol’ days.

On Saturday, Nov. 11, a ribbon cutting and dedication ceremony was held for the museum’s newest back-in-time addition – The Bradleyton Depot.

The old railroad station, which closed in 1931, was a gift to the museum from George and Vicki Browder on behalf of the community of Bradleyton which is located about 22 miles from Troy in Crenshaw County.

After the railroad station closed, it was purchased from the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad by the Browder family and used for storage.

Browder said he was contacted a couple of years ago about making the old depot available to Pike Pioneer Museum but he was reluctant to do so.

"The railroad station had been a part of the lives of so many people of Bradleyton that I thought moving it away would be like taking the heart out of the community," Browder said.

However, the depot began to "go down" and was in need of major restoration.

"Restoring a historic building can be expensive and then you have to keep it up," Browder said. "I was familiar with Pike Pioneer Museum and so was my wife. We saw how the buildings on the museum grounds had been restored and how well they were maintained. We decided that the best chance for the Bradleyton depot to be preserved for generations to come was through the museum."

Browder said there were some sad moments and a few tears when the word leaked that the train station would be leaving town. But, there were only smiles Saturday, when residents of Bradleyton saw the restored depot.

"This brings back so many memories," said Mrs. L. E. (Florence) Worthington whose husband was the last agent to work the depot. "His initials are still here on the wall.

The museum didn’t change a thing. They just made it better. They made it so it will last. I was sad at first but now I’m very proud and satisfied."

Friends teased Mrs. Worthington about what those wall might tell if they could talk.

"Oh, we didn’t court here," she said, laughing. "I lived just down the road and people said he (L. E.) didn’t miss a chance to watch me walk by. And, I walked real slow to make sure he could see me."

The couple married about four years after the railroad station closed, but the old building is very special to Mrs. Worthington, as it is to many of the residents of Bradleyton.

"Now, it will be preserved and we are all very appreciative to the museum for saving this piece of Bradleyton history," Browder said. "It has been carefully restored as it was originally. It’s beautiful and we are proud for the museum to have it. It’s quite a show piece."

Charlotte Gibson, museum director, said Pike County was originally much larger than it is now and it is possible that the depot was a part of Pike County at one time.

"The depot fits in so well with our locomotive," she said. "The locomotive is historically important to all of the country and it was no less important to South Alabama and Pike County. The locomotive we have on display is fascinating to our visitors. The depot works so well with the other buildings at the museum, which are in the same time period – from the late 1800s to the early 1900s. The depot is a great addition to the museum and we want to thank George and Vicki Browder and the Bradleyton community for this wonderful gift which will benefit many generations to come. Their generosity is greatly appreciated. We can’t thank them enough."