PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – If you close your eyes and look really hard, you can see the glory of the old Coraopolis Station.
“You look at it, it’s abandoned,” said Sam Jampetro with the Coraopolis Community Development Foundation. “It’s neglected, but at one time it was beautiful. It was even regal, and so it takes a little bit of hope and a lot of faith to see this thing restored and recreated.”
The station is one of three buildings in Western Pennsylvania on a list of most endangered historic sites in the Commonwealth. Preservation Pennsylvania put out the list and says saving the building may not be feasible. Local Pastor Sam Jampetro loves the building so much that he and three other families bought it in 2007.
“This would have been where the passengers would wait for the train,” he says, touring the building. “The conductor, or the ticket office, was right behind that window there.”
But it’s in bad shape. Floor joists have dry rotted. Same goes for the roof, but there once were four train tracks outside the building that is on the national register of historic places.
“Speak to residents about the good old days, it’s always in reference to the train station,” Jampetro said. “There used to be three movie theaters here and dance clubs and people would come in on the train and servicemen would leave town on the train, so it was a big part of its identity.”
The Roman-style think brick, the inset windows, some of the same design features that you see in another, done by Henry Hobson Richardson – the Allegheny County Jail was work, as well. This building was finished in 1895.
“It’s a very significant building historically,” Jampetro said. “We didn’t’ know that when we bought it. We just thought it was something important to the town, and we wanted to bring that back.”
They’ve done the architectural work and engineering studies. They see it becoming a 75-seat café along the Montour Trail, but know it will cost $1.2 million.
“They say it’s hopeless,” Jampetro said. “It’s a lost cause, they think we are crazy. But if it was easy, it would have been done already.”
And they hope that having history on their side helps.