TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) — Built in 1904, the historic Haley Tower, the centerpiece of the Wabash Valley Railroad Museum, has been repaired and restored thanks to the generosity of the community.
Bill Foster, the President of the Haley Tower Historical and Technical Society and the operator of the Wabash Valley Railroad Museum said that the repairs only took about a week.
“It was a restoration versus a repair job. I’m a stickler for details. So I made sure it was done historically correct. The guys did a good job doing the work. They were meticulous about using the old brick and making sure they didn’t damage it so they could put it back. So it doesn’t look like anything has changed a whole lot, but it has,” Foster explained.
The museum announced that the tower was in need of repairs in December of 2022, and was able to raise enough money for the project.
“As far as the city goes, it’s like I said a historical icon, and that’s what we’re doing, preserving a part of the history. If you’re familiar with Terre Haute and the history, this is one of the few structures we were able to save and it’s pretty unique,” Foster said.
With the museum preparing to open for another season on June 3, the restoration of the tower represents the preservation of a historic landmark for many in the community, “hopefully another hundred years,” Foster said.
“It’s gonna benefit the museum. This is our centerpiece and the organization is named after the tower. It will improve our members’ experience. For the community in general this is an icon. And it’s becoming more of an icon since we started the museum but even before that, it was an icon with the railroad and the city police,” Foster said. “ When it was in service, If there was a problem with something along the railroad, the police would call here cause this was the only operating office with somebody in it 24/7 until it closed in 1999. So it was kind of like the nerve center for the railroads in Terre Haute,” he added.
The Wabash Valley Railroad Museum is continuing to make changes and move forward as the museum will also begin the first-ever Youth Advisory Council this year.
Those interested in learning more about or visiting the Wabash Valley Railroad Museum can check out the website, Facebook, or visit in person at 1316 Plum Street in Terre Haute.