The Marshall T&P Depot Museum board is giving the 107-year-old station some overdue renovations in celebration of its upcoming 20th anniversary, starting with a full roof replacement.

The depot board has contracted with Crest Exteriors LLC to replace the roof, using the original tile manufacturer from 1912 to recreate the exact period-era tiles for the building

“The same tile people that made the original tile are making the tile for the roof, which we think is just significant — historic,” Board member Cathy Wright said.

The building’s roof has sustained weather-related damage throughout the years, mainly caused by hail.

“This area, on average, like once every five years for at least the last 20 years, there’s golf ball and tennis ball-sized hail,” John Boyd, regional manager for roofing contractor Crest Exteriors LLC, said. “It’s broken a lot of the tiles, chipped a lot of them, causing water to come in and rotten decking that’s underneath and the framework that’s underneath there... There’s a lot of issues with the tile up there.”

“They’ve had plenty of spot repairs up there and it’s just not sustainable anymore,” he said.

Boyd said Crest is honored to be a part of the project, working with tile maker Ludowici. Ludowici is the oldest clay roof tile manufacturer in the U.S., dating back to 1888.

“We love this. This is our wheelhouse,” he said of his field. “I’ve been working with Ludowici and other historical building product manufacturers for the last five or six years, and I’m having more fun with this than pretty much any other construction that I do.

“So we’re really honored and we’re actually going to be doing our best to make sure that they’re well covered for what the insurance is allotting them for the roof,” said Boyd.

To ensure that the job goes smoothly, Boyd said his company will also be donating some of the labor.

“We’re going to make sure that whatever they’re able to get, that that’s enough for us, so in a sense we’re going to be cutting our margin to donate work to get this done for them,” he said.

Boyd said the depot has a great insurance policy that covers “period-correct” work. The fact that the original company will be doing the period-correct tiles is particularly special, considering the fact that the last renovation to the roof, done in 1995, required an extensive search around the country to find a match.

“They purchased the same tile so they could all match up, but they had to find that specific tile around the country; and now that those stockpiles are depleted, the insurance company is covering mining the clay and then creating the tile at the Ludowici plant in Ohio — to the exact length, width and profile that they made it in 1912,” said Boyd.

Donations needed

Although they have a good insurance policy for the project, board members said it still doesn’t cover the renovation 100 percent, which is why the nonprofit organization is seeking donations from the public to help.

“We’re moving ahead anyway, but we do need some help,” Board member Mike Martina said.

Martina said they also need help with costs associated with painting the building itself. Estimates, so far, range between $78,000 and $93,000.

“We need to get some painting done on the roof areas, because once we get the new roof in, we don’t really want to get anybody up there walking around on it,” said Martina. “It is an expensive project, but we’re talking about something that’s going to last 20 years.”

The board said it’s a one-of-a-kind building that’s well-deserving and can’t be replaced.

“There are families here in Marshall where four generations worked for the T&P, and this is what we’ve got left, this building,” said Wright. “April 1, 1971 is when the shops burned, and so there’s nothing. This is what’s left of the T&P in Marshall and we’ve got to save it.”

Commercial filming

The roofing contractor, Crest, plans to film a commercial on the project to highlight not only the intricacies of the tile work, but also give Marshall exposure as it relates to the history of the T&P Depot.

“We’re going to have a drone and our film crew out here,” said Boyd. “We’re looking at September depending on the tile, which is being kilned right now and glazed to get the color right.

“But when we do that, we’re going to have a drone, our film crew out here and try to get the process — start to finish,” he said.

Unique treasure

The fact that the tile maker, Ludowici, still has the drawings from the original manufacturer, Ludowici-Celadon, out of Chicago, is momentous, Martina noted.

“In 1912, when these were manufactured they were at the Chicago plant that burned down,” explained Boyd. “Then they went to Georgia and now they’re in Ohio. Chicago is where they were originally made.

“This new tile is going to be coming from Ohio and glazed to match the tile from Chicago,” he said.

Boyd said another interesting aspect of the roof replacement project is the fact that all the accessories are copper.

“Every piece of metal up there is copper. The whole thing — all of the flashings, all of the gutter work, everything is made of copper,” he said, sharing how rare that it. “You don’t see that anymore just because of the price of copper, so everything back then was made of copper.”

Boyd said the project will be an intricate one, even when it comes to just transporting the tile to the depot.

“One of the things that we keep running into is just getting the tile to the depot. If you look, you’re surrounded by train tracks everywhere,” he pointed out. “There’s kind of a makeshift bridge, so we’re going to have to figure out whether we’re bringing in more gravel or even using some heavy pieces of equipment to get the tile across the train tracks to get it over here.”

“This will be two-and-a-half semi trucks full of tile,” he added.

Board members said it was very vital for them to be able to maintain the 1912 period-correct tile appearance of the roof.

“That’s why we specifically were looking for a particular company that had the ability to put that tile on the roof,” Martina said.

Wright said the depot is fortunate to have the expertise of Crest as the roofing contractor and appreciates Boyd for the legwork he’s done.

“He stepped up for us personally, so we’re just fortunate,” said Wright.

To donate to the roof project, call board member Cathy Wright at (903) 407-7880 or bring or mail donations to Marshall Depot Inc., 800 N. Washington Suite 1, Marshall, Texas 75670.