Conover thanks helpers, gets gift

A Conover resident’s thoughtful donation adds more history to the city’s newest building.

Dwight Rockett, a Conover fireman and native, permanently loaned two antique vehicles earlier this year to the city’s Multimodal Complex.

The century-old U.S. Postal Service buggy and railway freight cart will be housed on the third floor of the complex that opened Monday.

City officials say the antiques add another historic aspect to the 100-year-old revitalized building that housed manufacturers throughout the 20th century.

“I had them sitting in outbuildings at home and I wanted them to be somewhere where they could be shared,” Rockett said of the antiques. “I wanted them to be with the citizens of Conover.”

Rockett said he purchased the freight car and buggy separately more than 20 years ago.

The antiques were refurbished by Boy Scout Clay Abernathy and his fellow scouts.

On Monday, the buggy and freight car were on display for residents attending the dedication of the Conover Multimodal Center at Conover Station. Rockett was one of many supporters city officials thanked at the ceremony for money, time and work spent on the complex’s planning and construction.

Conover thanked helpers many groups for their contributions — from the N.C. Department of Transportation to city workers who helped construct the building. They named architects, private funders, state representatives, community figures, police and firemen for their help with Conover Station’s first completed building.

The building, which will cost more than $3 million when all expansions are completed, has been funded primarily through grants. Overall, Conover Station has received about $6.8 million in grant funding for the project that will probably cost about $10 million total.

“We have been very blessed in Conover,” said Mayor Lee Moritz Jr.

The city thanked each supporter of the Multimodal Complex on Monday with a piece of the building itself. Conover gave a cut piece of heart pine wood that was part of the original Warlong Building structure that first stood at the site more than 100 years ago.

The piece was laser engraved and thanked all the bodies that helped make the building happen.

“With your help, we dedicate this building as an extension of our downtown and a hub for commerce in the area,” Moritz said.

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