Written by Seth Fisher
Photos provided by Caleb Fisher, Madeline McMillan, and Mary Kayaselcuk
Recently, The Bulletin Post was invited to take a tour of the nearly completed Lee Hall Train Station museum, a true passion for the Lee Hall Train Station Foundation and its band of dedicated volunteers, a project that has spanned for over two decades. According to former Chair of the Foundation and former NN Vice-Mayor Madeline McMillan, the Lee Hall Train Station Foundation planted and dedicated the three Kwanzan Cherry Trees in 2020, in memory of three active members of the Board of Directors of the Lee Hall Train Station Foundation who passed away while serving their terms of office.
The day of our tour was also a time for the Lee Hall Train Station Foundation board to thank the families of three board members who recently passed away; the families were greeted by current and former board members, Newport News Parks and Recreation Director Michael Poplowski, and Historic Site Coordinator, Mary Kayaselcuk – the ladies were given a yellow rose corsage and the families were shown the Kwanzan Cherry Tree and plaque that was installed in honor of each board member, finally they were given a guided tour of the nearly completed Depot Museum.
McMillan, who helped spearhead this special day stated, “Their passion and enthusiasm for the restoration of the historic depot was demonstrated in the countless hours they spent with their efforts to promote this project thus making possible the historic, educational, and dynamic museum of rail history on the Virginia Peninsula that the Lee Hall Depot has now become. We wanted to be sure that they would be remembered for their dedication to this historic project.”
McMillan noted that the choice of the Kwanzan Cherry Tree was significant, “In Japan,” she said, “the cherry blossoms are a symbolic flower of the spring, a time of renewal, and human life, transience, and nobleness; we thought that was a fitting sentiment.”
Emotions were high as the families were in awe of what had been done, many stating how pleased their loved ones would’ve been with the finished building.
Parks and Recreation Director Michael Poplawski summed the day up nicely, “It’s remarkable to stand here today and see the change – from dilapidated and slated for demolition to a fully-restored, beautiful museum…I just wish Ed, Marilynn, and Ken could have been here in person to see it,” he stated “They would be so proud.”
According to Historic Site Coordinator, Mary Kayaselcuk, this work-in-progress (photos below), a working train simulator, is part of the final room to be completed in the museum: “A Journey Through the Warwick County Stations”
If all goes well, the Lee Hall Train Station Museum will hopefully have a late 2021 summer opening.
For more information visit: http://leehalldepot.org/ or follow them on social media.
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