Tryon depot restoration complete

Published 8:56 am Friday, January 21, 2011

The restored Tryon Depot, which now houses Andy Millard’s financial planning and investment firm, Millard & Company. The public is invited to a grand opening Wednesday, Jan. 26 from 4-6 p.m. (photo by Leah Justice)

Open house Jan. 26
The historic former Tryon depot has been completely restored to an early-20th-century look.
The public is invited to a grand opening celebration on Wednesday, Jan. 26 from 4-6 p.m. The event will include self-guided tours of the depot, a ribbon-cutting ceremony by the Carolina Foothills Chamber of Commerce at 4:30 p.m, refreshments and hors d’oeuvres.
The depot, located at 22 Depot Street in Tryon, was originally constructed in 1906 and is owned by the Town of Tryon. In May 2010, the town granted Andy Millard of Millard & Company a 20-year lease of $1 per year. In exchange, Millard agreed to pay for a complete renovation of the building.
Millard was expected to spend an estimated $250,000 to restore the building.
Tryon officials for years have expressed their desire to restore the building, but never had the funding.
The depot renovation project is complete except for some outdoor lighting and landscaping. Millard said he plans to complete the landscaping when the weather improves.
Millard & Company moved  into the facility on Jan. 1 as planned.
“It is a great place to have an office,” Millard said. “It’s centrally located but sort of out of the way. It’s mostly on one level, so it’s accessible. It’s right next to the Depot Garden. And it’s adjacent to a public parking lot.”
The restoration began last summer, with contractors taking off the siding of the building to find that the 2-by-6-inch studs were treated with creosote, which meant there were no traces of bugs in the walls. Contractors had to get down to the studs and paint them with several coats of  Kilz paint to get rid of the odor.
“It must have worked, because there is no smell at all now,” said Millard.
“We really had to almost strip it down to the bare bones and start over,” Millard said. “But the bones were really good.”
The project designer was Brady-Trakas Architects, and the general contractor was Mike Karaman of Karaman Properties. A number of local contractors, workers and suppliers contributed to the successful completion of the project.
Millard also said he appreciates Tryon’s employees. He said public works director Joel Burrell and his crew were very helpful in locating sewer lines and old infrastructure.
The distinctive look of the building’s exterior is designed to be historically accurate, Millard said. The decorative roof support brackets were typical of train stations in the early 20th century.
The exterior color combination is accurate as well, he said. Each railroad company used a set of distinctive colors to mark its depot buildings. The combination of mustard yellow and Charleston green signified buildings owned by Southern Railway.
Longtime Tryon resident Howard Greene recently remarked that the renovated depot looked so accurate that it reminded him of his “courtin’ days.”
The interior received a more up-to-date treatment, although the floor plan was only slightly modified. Lesley Chandler of Arranging By Design served as interior designer.
One half of the building serves as offices for Millard & Company. Contrary to earlier press reports, the firm will utilize the entire space and will not make office space available to other businesses.
The other half of the building, the large room that originally stored freight and more recently housed the Polk County Historical Museum, has been transformed into a venue for events. The depot room includes a dramatic vaulted ceiling, hardwood floor, large deck, multimedia set-up, men’s and women’s restrooms, kitchen and handicapped access.
The firm will use the depot room for client and educational events. The room is also available to individuals and groups. Inquiries regarding depot room rental should be directed to Tabatha Cantrell at Millard & Company.
“I’ve been gratified by all the people who have made positive comments about the way the building looks,” Millard said. “Before, it was easy to miss it even though it’s right in the center of town. Now it stands out.”
Millard & Company is a financial planning and investment advisor firm registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The firm was established in August of last year when Main Street Financial Group split off its investment advisory department into an independent firm under the leadership of Andy Millard, CFP®.

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