To unite the citizens and visitors of Saluda to acquire and preserve the historic Saluda train depot for future generations and to develop it into and operate it as a heritage museum and visitors center, emphasizing the railroad history and the Saluda Grade.
To create and sustain a landmark tourist destination at the historic Saluda train depot that reaches a broad audience that preserves and promotes Saluda’s heritage, celebrates its culture, and showcases its natural resources.
The SHD objectives are:
- Through a capital campaign, spearheaded by the Saluda Historic Depot, funds will be raised to purchase and preserve the historic Saluda depot, engaging Saluda's citizens, both full-time and part-time, and visitors to donate to the campaign.
- Through a collaborative process with the Historic Saluda Committee, will create and develop a sustainable historical museum, with the Saluda Business Association will create a visitors center, and will work in tandem with the goals of the Saluda Downtown Foundation.
- Through this collaborative process, will develop a marketing and promotional plan to draw tourists to Saluda using the depot and the appeal of the train history as a primary focus.
- To contribute to economic development in Saluda benefiting businesses and contributing to the city’s tax revenue from more retail sales.
- To become an educational resource for Saluda School and the Polk and Henderson County school systems by assisting in the development of materials to compliment the educational curriculum as it relates to the history of the railroad, depot and Saluda.
- Develop a staffing plan using volunteers in the community and creating ownership to the museum.
- Open the professionally designed Saluda history museum to the public and become operational and sustainable.
- Initial organization requiring filing articles of incorporation in March 2015 and filing for 501-c-3 status in June 2015.
- Occupying and operating the Depot building as a preview museum mid-April 2015.
- Formal Business Plan completed June 2015.
- Saluda Elementary School chose the Depot as its community outreach for the 2015-16 school year. Their theme for the year is “Full Steam Ahead”. The Depot has hosted STEM design programs for students throughout the year.
- Saluda Train Tales at the Depot” initiated September 18. Each event, hosted on the third Friday of the month, encourages the sharing of train history for the edification of the railroad and it contribution to regional history. Monthly attendance exceeds 60 participants.
- Installation of historic Saluda Grade model trains display and Z-scale Diorama donated by Dr. Fred McConnel, Atlanta.
- Fund raising events and donor solicitations began in January 2015. The following is a consolidated list of the activities to date:
o Initial major donor campaign direct mailing to over 1,000 Saluda residents – March 2015 generated approximately $18,000.
o 2015 Spring and Summer dinner/dance fund raisers, Low Country Boil /entertainment and Shagging on Saluda, provided over $2000 for the Depot.
o 2015 Tour of Home proceeds from the Historic Saluda Committee generated $3000.
o July, August, September and October 2015 the Depot sponsored acclaimed local artists for Art Gallery Exhibits. Artists agreed to provide 50% commission to the Depot for all sales that generated proceeds in excess of $5000.
o A Golf Cart Raffle in September of 2015 generated $800 in proceeds with an additional $1500 grant received from the golf cart winners.
o October 2015, the Depot Museum hosted NY Times Best Seller Author Dacre Stoker who presented “Stoker on Stoker”, the story behind the writing of Draculato a sold out crowd. The event raised in excess of $1500.
o Saluda Holiday Gallery at the Depot was held during the months ofNovember/December. Fifteen local artists agreed to contribute 30-100% commission to the Depot for the use of booth space. The event raised $2000.
o On January 10, 2016, The Depot hosted the film premier of Dr. George Jones’ life and contributions as Saluda Historian, over 70 in attendance at two events.
o March 2016 our first solicitation for corporate sponsorships has raised $5000.
o Spring and Summer 2016 dinner/dance fundraisers; All Fool's Night Oyster Roast/ Silent Auction and Low Country Boil/ Shagging on Saluda raised over $6000 from over 230 attendees.
o April 2016, Depot Art Exhibit Opening Reception honoring Saluda’s own Bill Ryan and his life of artistic accomplishments.
o June 2016, Depot Board closed on contract documents for purchase of the Depot!
o May/June 2016, Depot Art Exhibit Opening Reception for Saluda Art Legends, featuring nationally acclaimed Saluda Arts of all media and generations. First Annual Depot Train Challenge hosted 13 entries of non-motorized train sets made completely out of recycled materials. Opening of two-month exhibit entitled “How the West Was Won”, historic storyboards of Western NC Railroad Legacy.