Fulton Train Depot reopens as Christmas market, will be restored

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FULTON – The Fulton Train Depot’s first Christmas market opened this week, breathing new life into the historic building that had been closed to the public for over 40 years.

Wednesday marked the 110th anniversary of the opening of the depot.

After serving as a vacation attraction for people from mid-Missouri and beyond, the site will become the home of Grae Studio, an interior design firm. The studio hosted a grand opening for the Wednesday afternoon market.

“We’re really excited about this event because it’s the kickoff of the Christmas market, but also because the historic train depot is going to be our first physical location,” said Gretchen Allen, director of Grae Studio.

The Marketplace advertises itself as “just the ticket to a heartwarming holiday shopping experience”.

Visitors can purchase freshly cut Christmas trees as well as gifts and vintage items.

“We’re excited to be able to open the doors again and people to come and see the inside,” Allen said.

Allen and owner Crystal Aulbur, who together form the staff of Grae Studio, will receive help from family and friends to tap the market, they said.

“The support from the community has been huge,” said Aulbur.

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Kim Martin, right, watches as Jake Allen sells a Canadian balsam fir Christmas tree to Kristina Bright, all of Fulton, Wednesday during the first Christmas market at the Fulton Train Depot.

Market visit

Profits from market sales and any donations made will go towards restoring the train depot, which is “an ornament of the city,” Aulbur and Allen said.

The market will be open 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday through December 18 at 1005 E Walnut St. in Fulton.

Entrance to the market is free and open to the public.

Guests enter through the depot’s freight house, which the two plan to use as storage and host more markets throughout the year.

The Fulton Depot has retained much of its original architecture and design features, which Allen says is not only important to the studio but also to residents of the area who cherish its historical significance. .

Dan Tucker and his wife, Kathleen Tucker, of Fulton, watch the Ladies' Waiting Room at Fulton Train Depot Wednesday at 1005 E. Walnut St. in Fulton.

“Almost everyone in town has a personal connection to the train depot,” she said. “We are truly delighted to be restoring the historic integrity of the building and allowing people to come and view the building in its original condition before starting the restoration process.”

At the Christmas market, visitors will be able to purchase T-shirts, ornaments and train whistles with the studio’s logo to commemorate their visit, hoping to encourage a return to the market for years to come.

One of Aulbur’s favorite family traditions is to take a trip to chop down a Christmas tree, but she knows not everyone has the capacity to take such a trip, which is why the two have decided to create their own “urban farm”.

Several photo opportunities will be available for participants. One includes a vintage green sofa that groups can sit on with Christmas greenery hanging behind them. The other would feature Aulbur’s design work and feature a vintage truck with the company logo on the passenger side door and decorations in the truck bed.

The idea for the market arose before the actual closing of the depot, which Aulbur said took place on September 30.

“It was a pipe dream,” she said.

With both spreading on social media and word-of-mouth, they expect around 2,000 people to pass through the market by the Dec. 18 shutdown.

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Crystal Aulbur, center, owner of Grae Studio inside the Fulton Train Depot at 1005 E. Walnut St. in Fulton, welcomes people Wednesday to the first night of her Christmas market.

Sponsors for this year’s market and building restorations are Westminster College and Danuser Machine Co.

Danuser, whose head office is opposite the depot, previously owned the building and used it as storage space.

“After talking with (Aulbur) and hearing his vision, I also got carried away with the excitement,” said Janea Danuser.

Before Aulbur contacted Facebook, Danuser said other people had expressed interest in buying the depot, but none met the standards the company wanted in deciding to sell.

After the market

Once the building’s restoration is complete, it will become the headquarters of Grae Studio, a full-service interior design studio and future retailer. The studio says it offers “bespoke design for relaxed living with an emphasis on enduring style and heritage quality products.”

Prior to filing, the studio worked primarily out of Aulbur’s house in Fulton.

In the years to come, the studio plans to continue hosting the Christmas market in hopes that it becomes a family tradition for locals and those from out of town, the two said. This year’s market will be used as a trial, and participant comments and observations will be taken into account when planning for future markets.

“We are really excited to be able to bring it back to life,” Allen said of the train depot. “There is something about this that appeals to people.”

At the start of the depot, there were two separate waiting rooms for men and women. Allen said their research on the property showed it was out of respect for women, as men were known to frequently use “vulgar” language.

The Elderly Waiting Room will be converted into a consultation space that Aulbur and her clients can use to get to know each other and start making decisions about what the space of their dreams might look like.

The women’s waiting room will be used as a retail space for customers and other visitors to see and smell the textiles and products that could be used in future designs for their home.

A couple walk into the grand reopening of the Fulton Train Depot at 1005 E. Walnut St. in Fulton on Wednesday.

Renovation of the warehouse

Aulbur and Allen hope the repository restorations will be completed by the end of 2022.

They both stressed that the efforts are purely for restoration, addressing concerns from Fulton residents who fear major changes will be made to the building and its historic structure.

The main priority for the restoration is the roof, which is currently not viable for a business to operate, Allen said.

A conservative estimate of the repair costs would be at least $ 50,000, Aulbur said.

The other priority is the platform, which needs repairs to make it suitable for visitors to stand and watch the historic tracks.

The train usually made a round trip from Mexico to Cedar City, except Sunday, the City of Fulton website says. During the school year, students traveled to Fulton High School by train, and from Mexico, passengers could connect with other trains to St. Louis, Kansas City and Chicago.

In order to attract donations, Aulbur and Allen plan to set up a brick fundraiser where sponsors and families can donate to receive a brick with their name, company logo or other personal item on. the new platform.

“It’s just a way that people can feel personally invested in the property,” Aulbur said.

Most other restorations are cosmetic, Allen said. The original trim will be restored and new glass will be installed in the windows, with the rear window bricks to be removed to allow additional natural light.

Until the restorations are complete, the studio will continue to operate primarily out of Aulbur’s house, with the two planning to host other markets outside of the freight house next year.

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