Union Station Restoration

Estimated Cost to Complete

 $1.6 - $2.0 Million

Photograph by Rosemary Osterhus, New Bern, NC

A Bit of History. The Union Station Depot in New Bern was built in 1910 and saw continued use until 1987. Gradually weather and lack of repairs resulted in serious degradation of the roof structure.


The Foundation made several attempts to access the building to initiate repairs but despite securing several major grants to accomplish this, the railroads ultimately refused our offer to help. But the Preservation persisted in it's belief that this building represented an important part of New Bern's history. 

An Agreement Reached.  So, in 2009, a new effort was started and this time the railroad was cooperative. The City of New Bern agreed to serve as the lessee of the building, beginning a public/private relationship with the Foundation. Funds for restoration were to be raised by the Foundation while the City agreed to oversee the work. A Joint Working Group (JWG) was formed with representatives of all of the interested parties as members.


Members of the JWG included representatives of the NC Department of Transportation, who successfully secured a joint State and Federal grant up to $500,000 to repair the roof and restore all exterior brick work.

    Two Possible Plans.  The Foundation hired the New Bern firm of Maune Belangia Faulkenberry, Architects to prepare plans for the restoration of the interior. After several meetings two design plans were approved: a simple retail store design along with a NC Railroad Heritage museum, and a second plan for dining and entertainment space, also with a Railroad Museum. Depending on the final plan, estimates for the complete project range

from $1.6 - $2 million. 


A Preservation Partnership Begins. Fund-raising began with a $50,000 anonymous grant to be matched. A new program, Partners in Preservation, was started, and 32 individuals oversubscribed the Challenge, raising almost $60,000. A small committee formed as the “Depot 100”, seeking 100 individuals to pledge $500 payable over a five year period. The program ended in 2014, with over 200 members, many of whom paid the full pledge immediately. A second Challenge grant in the amount of $50,000 has been received from The Harold H. Bate Foundation and we are currently seeking new Partners in Preservation to provide the required match.


And in 2015, Working on the North Wing. Utilizing funds already received, work has started on restoration of the North wing, the former Depot baggage room. Lead paint will be removed, doors and windows restored and made functional. HVAC and electrical improvements are not a part of this first phase pending future tenant needs.