Old train depot proves right on track as couple's home
An 1886 Frisco line depot from Valley Center has been remodeled into the home of Deverne and Sue Buchholz.
When the couple bought the old railroad depot in 2008, they had their work cut out for them.
Previously moved to Indigo Rd. in the 1970s, the depot had been set on a good foundation and renovated in 1970s style and then, over the span of several interim owners, it was allowed to deteriorate.
Water leaks had caused major damage to the floors and exterior.
Deverne did most of the work himself — which took time. Until 2012, when the old depot was safe to live in, the couple remained in Hillsboro.
“We called it a five-year project,” Sue Buccholz said. “This was like a wonderful retirement project. He really did it slowly.”
After rebuilding floors, he went to work on the other needed repairs and remodeling.
The old depot’s waiting room is now a living room. The office is now a kitchen. The former freight room is now a bedroom.
They took out dropped ceilings from the 1970s renovation and exposed the original 9-foot ceilings.
Wallboard was removed to expose the original walls.
“All the original woodwork was still there,” Sue said. “We got it back to more to the original. We found where the ticket window had been.”
In the freight room, exposing the original wood walls exposed also graffiti people had written on the walls.
“What we could save from that, we did,” she said.
The couple worked on the exterior walls as well, finding replacement pieces to match the original and adding new pieces that matched the original as closely as possible.
They added cedar in some places.
The 1970s owners had added a bathroom.
Windows were “updated” to be more energy efficient.
“We took out the original windows so we could put in double pane windows that matched the appearance of the old ones,” Sue said. “It has the original wood outside the old trim.”
Local antique shops were a help in the process.
“We went to antique shops to find things that matched,” Sue said.
Sue said when the depot sat in Valley Center, the Frisco line ran parallel to the depot and the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe line ran past at an angle.
“We found a few items in the wall, like there was an old piece of the newspaper, there was an old wine bottle in the attic,” she said.
The couple painted the exterior back to the original gray.
“Just this last year we put in an enclosed porch,” she said.
Last modified March 17, 2021