MOUNT VERNON — When a renovated Cleveland, Akron and Columbus Railroad Depot is dedicated next May, it will bear the name of William A. Stroud Jr. The 1907-vintage depot, located at the northwest corner of Columbus Road and South Main Street, will be known as the William Stroud Welcome Center and serve Ariel-Foundation Park, downtown Mount Vernon and the Knox County Park District’s stretch of the Ohio to Erie Trail.
Stroud was a longtime president of First-Knox National Bank, a decorated World War II bomber pilot and tireless community leader. He was particularly influential in higher education circles, and was also a visionary in support of preserving green space for pubic enjoyment. He passed away in 2011 at age 90, but his influence is still felt.
“He was very important to Mount Vernon, and this will be a reminder of his service,” said Michael Percy of the Ariel-Foundation Park Conservancy. “The William Stroud Welcome Center will be the gateway to downtown Mount Vernon and Ariel-Foundation Park.”
Renovation of the depot is well under way, and although utility is foremost among the $350,000 project’s priorities, the building will feature elegant touches from top-to-bottom. Crowning the century-old depot is the original clay roof created by internationally known Ludowici Tile. At the building’s foundation lies substantial terrazzo flooring, smoothly poured and polished by artisans whose names are forgotten but whose craftsmanship endures.
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