1865: Atlantic, Tennessee & Ohio Railroad completed the track from Charlotte to Statesville.
1872: The rails were removed during the Civil War and rebuilt this year.
1873 to 1883: The Depot was built by John F. Moore and was owned and operated by the Town; Mooresville was incorporate in 1873 – population was 25. The original town limits were 1 mile radius of the depot – which was exactly the center of the town.
1883-1974: The Depot was owned by the railroad company. The company started out as the South Carolina Cana and Rail Road Company.
1894: SCCRRC became Southern Railway after a merger of several Virginia rail road companies of which the Carolina and Northwestern was a part. There is more railroad companies and the like in the mix but in short it became Norfolk Southern which is today.
1925: The depot burned down.
1955: Six local artists started gathering in the War Memorial basement to plan and exchange ideas. The group grew from there.
1966: November 17approximately 20 artists organized the Mooresville Artist Guild.
1974: May 6 Southern Railway Systems (it would become Norfolk in the 1990s) offered to donate the depot building to the Town and lease the property immediately adjacent (the land it sits on) for a $1.00 a year to the Town. The also offered the lease the land between the Depot and Moore Avenue (the alley behind the buildings on Main Street) for $100 a year. The Town agreed to the donation and to negotiate the land for a road-right-of-way i.e. the alley.
March 3 the discussion of the offer from Southern Railway to donate the Depot building is brought up again. Southern Railway did not, it appears, to agree to the alley way. The lease for the building is still $1.00 a year for the land. It was felt that the Town should buy the land and therefore agreed to discuss the purchase with Southern Railway.
July 1 Mayor Knox informs the Board that the road right-of-way has not been agreed to and at this time the Town has not accepted the donation of the Depot building as there were some conditions in the agreement that were unacceptable. The Mayor is to talk with the company.
December 1 Southern Railway has agreed to donate the Depot with a five (5) year lease on the land that the Depot sits on for $1.00 a year. The Board agreed to this motion and unanimously adopted that the Mayor execute this agreement.
February 7 The Board is considering having the Mayor to sign a lease agreement covering a lease of Southern Railway’s Depot property in Mooresville. The City Attorney made some corrections and the agreement is for fifteen (15) years starting on January 14th, 1976 at a rent of $1.00 a year. It was unanimously adopted.
October 3 Recommendation from the Planning Board for the Town Board to consider allowing the Artist’s Guild and the Optimist Club use the Depot on the conditions that the Artist’s Guild and the Optimist Club work closely together; that the lease be to the Artist’s Guild with the Optimist Club as permitted additional tenant and there be no additional tenants without the Town Board’s approval; that the term of the lease be five (5) years with a 90 day cancellation clause effective at the start of each year. It was recommended that the building be used for a farmer’s market whereas the Mayor reported that a public meeting was held where the proposed use by the Artist’s Guild and the Planning Board was recommending that the Guild use the building. Other civic clubs using the building was discussed. This raised some legal questions and the Town Attorney was to investigate the wording of the lease. The matter was tabled.
The discussion was resumed, and the Acting City Attorney reported that in his opinion a sub-lease to the Artist Guild was vailed as the Artist’s Guild could be considered a quasi-function of the Town and possibly could be considered a Municipal Purpose which would comply with the lease. The Optimist Club could not be considered as such and was questionable their use of the facility in the same capacity. The City Attorney and the Town Manger were appointed to be a committee to investigate the request and the lease and to present their findings at the next Board meeting.
March 6 The report of the Committee and the use of the Depot building. It was stated that the Artist Guild was serving a public purpose and in broad terms may be considered a quasi-purpose of the Town. The Optimist Club could not use the facilities. A motion was made that a resolution be adopted making the Mooresville Artist Guild a quasi-function of the Town and to approve the sub-lease of the Depot to the Artist’s Guild. The resolution was unanimously adopted. A motion was made to delay as a member of the Optimist Club was going to Washington, D.C. and wanted to discuss the matter with Southern Railways. The Board agreed, and the matter was tabled until next meeting. (there is no mention in the of the outcome of the next meeting)
1982: May 24 the IRS determined MAG as a nonprofit with tax exempt status.
1984: February 6 Consideration was made at a request from the Mooresville Artist’s Guild to include a Historical Museum in the warehouse section of the Main Street Depot. The motion was made for this and to negotiate a more favorable lease of the land; this unanimously was adopted.
1985: February 4 The Mayor was authorized to execute an agreement with Southern Railways for a 25-year lease on the Depot. This would be in order if the Town continues to use the Depot. The Board agreed and passed the resolution.
2009: September 21Consideration of approving a license agreement between the Town and the Mooresville Artist’s Guild for the use of the Depot in a similar form and manner as to the agreement the Town has with the Mooresville Museum for the use of the Charles Mack and Sons building. The resolution was unanimously approved.
2010: The Depot received Historic Building designation. MA and The Depot completely run by volunteers.
2013: MA was included in the library budget, and the Town has, through the library, provided a part-time administrative person to work 20hours per week. This has provided some much needed continuity to the day-to-day operation, as well as some functions being taken over by the library (such as housekeeping, town computer, some help with repairs).
2014: MA changed its name and now incorporates all of the arts. Offering free exhibits that change monthly or bi-monthly with receptions open to the public. Future dates TBA. Art classes for children and adults are offered at all levels. Plus summer camps for youth and teens.
2019-2020: MA recently updated electrical system, lighting, added new celling fans to warehouse area; new flooring installed for the other galleries.
March-August 2020: MA was closed due to the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic and reopened in September.
The Depot has been used many times for filming movies and TV shows. (Banshee, Paper Towns, commercials). New deck around building was built as a platform for Banshee.