EVANSVILLE, Ind. (AP) – The neon lights of a nearly 80-year-old former Greyhound bus station in downtown Evansville have flickered on again following a restoration of the building’s Art Deco exterior.
A crowd of about 500 people cheered Thursday night when the blue and amber neon lights were relit on the building’s exterior, which is covered by two-toned blue porcelain enamel panels.
After the lighting ceremony, Evansville resident Janis McLaughlin explored the old station’s interior with her husband. She said she’s happy the old station was saved.
“It’s like taking a walk in the past,” Janis told the Evansville Courier & Press.
Indiana Landmarks President Marsh Davis said the preservation group hopes to find a restaurant to open in the space and finish the historic building’s interior. The statewide group obtained ownership in 2013 of the station from the city. Davis called the building a big part of the southwestern Indiana city’s history.
“Many of the people who have lived here, they all have a story with it,” he said.
The building opened in 1938 as a Greyhound bus station and closed in 2007 when Greyhound moved to a new terminal.
Greyhound Pets of America, a group that finds homes for retired racing greyhounds, invited greyhound owners to bring their hounds to the lighting ceremony. About 10 dogs and their owners showed up, including Ethan Herrera, a 34-year-old from nearby Newburgh.
The building sports a prominent vertical sign topped by neon images of two running greyhounds, and Herrara called it “really cool.”
In its heyday, the station included a ticket counter and waiting lounge, a telephone bank, a shoe shine, a cigar stand, a men’s lounge with showers and an upstairs women’s lounge with a bathtub.