JEFFERSONVILLE — Management of one of Jeffersonville's most recognizable landmarks is changing hands.
Preservation Station — which sits in a park near the corner of Market and Pearl streets in the Rose Hill neighborhood — will now be managed by Jeffersonville Main Street.
The station was originally located on Mitchell Avenue after being constructed by the Pennsylvania Railroad in 1929. In the decades that followed, it played a role in a number of major historic events.
When high water displaced families who lived along the Ohio River during the 1937 flood, some departed from the station to find refuge in areas farther north. The train station also saw the departure and return of soldiers who went to fight in World War II and the Korean War.
According to Jay Ellis, executive director of Jeffersonville Main Street, the site the station currently sits on also has an interesting history of its own.
“That park was home to Jeffersonville’s City Hall many, many moons ago," Ellis said. "The station itself goes back before my time and involvement. It wasn’t always on that site. It was relocated. I know the station had seen people off on trips and soldiers off to war. There was a lot of personal history involved in that station and sentimentality. Part of the impetus was to save it and move it into the downtown core. It’s been an event facility ever since. It’s a beloved landmark, and it’s pretty heavily used.”
Since 1985, the station has been managed by Jeff-Clark Preservation, which moved it to its current location in 1986. Being a volunteer organization, keeping up with maintenance became quite a task, leading to the transition to Jeffersonville Main Street.
“Jeff-Clark back in the 1980s had worked with a lot of people to save the station and restore it," Ellis said. "They managed it for 35 years or so. Their volunteers were just getting tired, so they approached us to see if we could help out. We’re going to help out, and help maintain the property and do some minor updates to it.”
Rita Fleming, president of the Jeffersonville Main Street board of directors, said the site embodies everything the organization stands for.
“Since we are such an integral part of downtown and [the station] is a great gathering place and very nostalgic, it’s everything Main Street is about," Fleming said. "We’ll continue to use it as a gathering space to rent it out for meetings or events. If we have a forum, something where we’re working with the public, our main office is very limited, so we can use the station. We’d be able to expand and offer more things at Preservation Station.”
Ellis said that with the transition will come a minor facelift for the station, both physically and in its online presence. Further details regarding what's in store for the site are still being hammered out.
"We’d like to update the reservation system so it can be an online booking system, like you have with a hotel or anything like that," Ellis said. "You can see dates online and book it that way. That’s something that’s in the works. We’ve talked about modernizing the booking process and giving it a very minor facelift. That would entail landscaping and a fresh coat of paint. Hopefully people will continue to utilize it. It’s a small event space, but there’s not a lot of spaces in the area for when you have a small-to-medium group that you can get for an affordable price like that.”