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HES shows off restored depot
ribbon cut 1
With help from Springfield Mayor Barton Alderman, Tracy Nease Kieffer cuts the ribbon on the restored Blandford depot at the Living History Site. Kieffer and her sister Susan Nease Hendrix donated the old depot. - photo by Photo by Pat Donahue

The depot at the Blandford station was a hub of activity along the Central of Georgia Railroad for decades. After years of disrepair, it has a new home and a new life.

Historic Effingham Society members, Springfield City Council members and Effingham County commissioners cut the ribbon on the restored depot Saturday morning as part of Olde Effingham Day. The depot was moved to the Living History Site in 2011, and volunteers have been working on it since to refurbish it.

“It looks out of this world,” said Francis C. Hutto, whose aunt had been a station agent at the Stillwell station.

Hutto’s donation allowed the restoration to proceed. Tracey Kieffer and her sister, Sandra Hendrix, gave the depot to the Historic Effingham Society.

“I’m so excited,” Kieffer said of the depot’s restoration. “It’s been fixed back up to what it was.”

Long after the railroad no longer needed the depot, it was moved to land owned by Russell Nease, Kieffer and Hendrix’s grandfather.

“It was moved the weekend I was born,” Kieffer said.

It wasn’t used as a depot once it got to Nease’s property. The depot went from housing mail and produce to being a home for mules and hogs.

“It was always used as a barn,” Kieffer said.

Kieffer remembered playing with the big , sliding doors in the building.

After her grandmother passed away in 2007, Kieffer said the family knew it eventually would sell the property. That left a dilemma with the depot building. Kieffer figured the depot would be special to those who once lived in the Blandford area.

“It was either tear it down or sell to someone who didn’t care about the history,” Kieffer said. “Our preference was to see if it could be restored.”