Once upon a time the building now known as the North Baldwin Chamber of Commerce was an L&N train depot?! It used to be the buzzing social hub of Bay Minette, where the telegraph office would keep everyone in the loop about the latest news and events. Picture it: businesses and residents eagerly gathering here to find out that the county courthouse would now call Bay Minette it's home! The depot was tragically abandoned by the railroad back in the late 70's after a catastrophic train crash.
In 1984, the transformation began! Oh, the blood, sweat, and tears that went into this project! The community rallied together and sold tickets to move the train depot from Railroad Street, across town to McMeans Avenue, where it sits today. The building was moved in three different sections on the back of a flatbed truck (pictured below). The building was lovingly restored and transformed into the magnificent office that we now call the North Baldwin Chamber of Commerce.
Now, here's a fun fact for you movie buffs out there: this historic building played a starring role in the film Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Yes, you heard that right! Hollywood recognized its charm and chose it as the perfect backdrop for the evacuation scene (pictured below).
But wait, there's more! The Seaboard Systems Railroad donated the SCL & N Caboose #114 to the City of Bay Minette. This little gem was swiftly spruced up and proudly placed on the premises. It's like a mini time machine, transporting you back to the golden age of railroads.
Next time you stroll by this remarkable building & caboose, take a moment to appreciate its rich history and the incredible journey it has been on. From social hub to movie star to home of the Chamber of Commerce, it has truly seen it all.