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Kariels richly deserving of recognition for depot

Oct. 1, 2012 at 10 p.m.


And Saturday, they were honored again, this time by two groups, AMTRAK and the Texas Eagle Marketing and Performance Organization for efforts they made to see that the Marshall Depot building was not demolished.

The Kariels had seen too many beautiful and important buildings torn down in Marshall, including one that was close to their heart, the synagogue that was once here.

It was, from the start, a seemingly hopeless task and even the people who wanted it to happen had little faith that it could actually be pulled off. Almost everyone who saw the depot building agreed that it was a beautiful piece of period architecture, but it was a shambles and saving it would cost more money than could ever be recovered from its use.

Plus, it would serve AMTRAK, which was then a highly controversial service, at least it this part of the country. The calls for Congress to withdraw funding were coming from numerous corners. AMTRAK is still not the most popular project, but today it is much more palatable than it was then.

So the Kariels first began by championing the cause of AMTRAK and convincing others to do the same, both citizens and elected officials. They were joined by other rail cheerleaders in East Texas, people who were far-sighted enough to see that passenger rail would someday be an important part of the transportation picture in our state. They were right.

Once they had set about convincing many the cause was right, they worked on having a depot museum as a fixture. Marshall is a good place to find people who are interested in railroad history, as many citizens have relatives who worked in the T&P shops once located here.

Over weeks and months and with much help a ground swell of support was built. Then money was raised through contributions large and small, until enough was gained to make the project a reality.

We don't know at what point success was assured, but it was very late in the process. The Kariels were never deterred from the goal.

By no means is this editorial meant to suggest that only the Kariels pushed the idea of renovating the depot and establishing a museum. There were dozens, hundreds who participated, some joining the effort at the same time. The Kariels would be upset for anyone to think differently.

What we know is this: When we saw either Audrey or Louis, they were always on the task, promoting, working, tirelessly driving toward the goal.

Anyone who knows them or who saw that process at work knows they are richly deserving of all the recognition they receive for their efforts. We probably could not thank them more than they are due.

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