June Jefferson Award Winner: Dianna Samples

June Jefferson Award Winner: Dianna Samples
June Jefferson Award Winner: Dianna Samples(WDTV)
Published: Jun. 30, 2022 at 1:19 PM EDT
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BRIDGEPORT, W.Va (WDTV) - Once a month, WDTV and Antero Resources award one deserving community member with a Jefferson Award. For the month of June, we’re honoring Dianna Samples.

Dianna has volunteered her time to a significant historical project in Salem.

The Salem Train Depot was originally built in 1912, and if you’re real quiet, you can still imagine the sounds of the trains that used to run through here.

It’s that type of history that Dianna Samples wants you to remember.

“This is the Salem heritage. It’s been here since the 1900s,” Dianna said. “We didn’t want to destroy it. We wanted to restore it and show what was happening years ago. It’s just about the heritage of Salem.”

The last train ran through the depot in 1985. The area has been transformed since that time.

“They pulled up the tracks,” Dianna said. “They made a walking trail and they have a bicycle trail. We decided to open this up for activities.”

The structure was partially damaged by fire in 2008, leading to extensive renovations.

“We had to replace the roof, the windows. Probably a total of $260,000 in renovations,” said Dianna.”

Dianna says that much of the original wood has been used in the restoration project and that many artifacts will be on display in the depot museum.

“We have a lot of memorabilia to put in our cases to put on display. We have refurbished some of the stuff that has burned. We’re putting that on display,” Dianna said. “The cart that they used. The tools they raised the tracks with, we found those. We cleaned them up, sandblasted them. That’s going to be on our displays also. And, we have a lot of pictures.”

The building will also serve as a satellite for the Harrison County Public Library. The grand opening will be held in late summer or early fall. It’s an event that Samples is looking forward to.

“It is a source of pride. It will be a wonderful grand opening,” Dianna said. “I’m excited. I’m very excited.”

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