Depot Doings: Huntsville, AL / Louisville, KY / Mascoutah, IL / Foley, AL / Nashville, TN

LN-logoFeatured Louisville & Nashville depots on the blog this month are those in Huntsville, AL, Louisville, KY, Mascoutah, IL, Foley, AL, and Nashville, TN.

HUNTSVILLE, AL – The Huntsville Depot located on the Norfolk Southern Railway line in downtown Huntsville is the oldest surviving railroad depot in Alabama and one of the oldest in the United States. Completed in 1860, the depot served as eastern division headquarters for the Memphis and Charleston Railroad.[3] It is listed on both the Alabama Register of Landmarks and Heritage and National Register of Historic Places.[1][2]

Huntsville was occupied by Union forces in 1862 during the Civil War as a strategic point on the railroad and the depot was used as a prison for Confederate soldiers. Graffiti left by the soldiers can still be seen on the walls. The Huntsville Depot saw its last regularly scheduled passenger train, Southern Railway’s The Tennessean, on March 30, 1968. Today the Depot serves as a museum, part of the Early Works Museum.

Information courtesy of www.wikipedia.org.

LOUISVILLE, KY – The Union Station of Louisville, Kentucky is a historic railroad station that serves as offices for the Transit Authority of River City, as it has since mid-April 1980 after receiving a year-long restoration costing approximately $2 million. It was one of three union stations in Kentucky, the other two being in Paducah and Owensboro. It superseded previous, smaller, railroad depots located in Louisville, most notably one located at Tenth and Maple in 1868-1869, and another L&N station built in 1858. The station was formally opened on September 7, 1891 by the Louisville and Nashville Railroad. There was a claim made at the time that it was the largest railroad station in the Southern United States, covering forty acres (16 ha).[2]

Union Station provided the entrance to Louisville for many visitors, with its height being the 1920s, when it served 58 trains a day. As a Union Station, it served not only the L&N railroad, but also the Monon Railroad, the Pennsylvania Railroad and the Louisville, Henderson, & St. Louis, the latter eventually merging with the L&N. Many of those traveling to the Kentucky Derby would use the Union Station as their first place of celebration, with twenty special trains coming to the facility, and Pullman cars allowing overnight accommodations, a trend that continued until the mid-1960s. Three separate United States presidents arrived in Louisville by Union Station.

Information courtesy of www.wikipedia.org.

MASCOUTAH, IL – In 1870, the St. Louis and Southeastern Railway Company built a depot in Mascoutah, Illinois. On September 8, 1870 it inaugurated the town’s first train service. In 1879, the Nashville Chattanooga and St. Louis Railroad bought this railroad, which itself was taken over by the L&N Railroad in 1880. In June 1975, the town of Mascoutah bought the depot from the L&N for $1.00, and in early July moved it to Scheve Park. The depot soon became the centerpiece for homecomings and other activities.

FOLEY, AL – Located in the old L & N Railroad Depot is Foley’s Museum Archives. The first depot was built in 1905 when Mr. John B. Foley of Chicago used some of his own money to bring the railroad to the southern part of Baldwin County. This first depot burned to the ground, and a second station took its place in 1908. The railroad line was a spur from Bay Minette and ended approximately a mile south of Foley. At that end, there was a wye when the train could turn around.

The depot and the railroad became the center of activity for the growing town of Foley. At this time, the area was primarily agricultural so the railroad was vital to getting the produce to market. During “shipping” season, thousands of boxcars would pull out of Foley loaded with potatoes, corn, gladiolas, and many other types of produce that was grown in the area.

In 1971, the L & N Railroad discontinued their services to Foley. It was the intention of the company to tear down the depot. However, John Snook, owner of Gulf Telephone Company, bought the building for one dollar. He then moved the whole building to Magnolia Springs, a small community five miles West of Foley. For 24 years, Mr. Snook used the building as a warehouse for the phone company before deeding it to the City of Foley. In 1995, the depot was returned to Foley and placed back in its original location.

The City has since turned the depot into a museum. Here, you will find pictures and artifacts that depict the culture of South Baldwin County, especially the City of Foley. The Museum is open Monday through Friday from 10am – 4pm.

Information courtesy of Foley Railroad Museum.

NASHVILLE, TN – This National Historic Landmark symbolizes the power of railroad companies, specifically the Louisville and Nashville (L&N) Railroad, over the transportation and economy of turn-of-the-century Tennessee. Built between 1898 and 1900, and designed by L&N company engineer Richard Montfort, the building is a significant Tennessee example of Richardsonian Romanesque style. The magnificent passenger train shed, which measured 250 by 500 feet with a clear span of 200 feet, was an engineering marvel for its time. In 1900 it was the longest single-span, gable roof structure in the country. After a fire damaged the shed, and no viable preservation alternatives were identified, the shed was razed in late 2000.

For seven decades, Union Station served Nashville passengers as a massive stone gateway to the metropolitan corridor represented by the national rail system. In 1975 the station was condemned and closed; Amtrak continued to use the shed for passenger traffic until 1979. Metropolitan Nashville officials acquired the rapidly deteriorating structure in 1985; by the following year, Union Station had been restored as a hotel and restaurant. It has served that function ever since and once again is a prominent Nashville architectural and historical landmark.

Information courtesy of Carroll Van West, The Tennessee Encyclopedia of History and Culture.

All photos courtesy of www.rr-fallenflags.org/.


Rock on Trains © 2021, Tom Rock + T.D.R. Productions. All rights reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from Tom Rock is strictly prohibited.

Depot Doings: Mena, AR / DeQuincy, LA / Aberdeen, MS / Anderson, MO / Noel, MO / Stilwell, OK

Featured Kansas City Southern depots for this August post are those in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, and Oklahoma:

All photos courtesy of Railroad Picture Archives.NET.


Rock on Trains © 2021, Tom Rock + T.D.R. Productions. All rights reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from Tom Rock is strictly prohibited.

Depot Doings: Bridgeport, AL / Blue Ridge, GA / Chatsworth, GA / Murphy, NC / Decherd, TN / Tullahoma, TN

Featured L&N Railway depots this month include various locations in Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, and Tennessee:

All photos courtesy of Tom Rock.


Rock on Trains © 2021, Tom Rock + T.D.R. Productions. All rights reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from Tom Rock is strictly prohibited.

Depot Doings: Belton, SC/Conway, SC/Heath Springs, SC/Albertville, AL/Andalusia, AL

Featured depots this month are located in South Carolina & Alabama:

The depot at Belton, SC, was constructed by the Southern Railway around 1910. Due to its location near the town square, it was an important focal point of the area. After the loss of passenger service in the 1960’s and a slowdown in freight shipping, the depot was abandoned by the Southern and acquired by the city. The depot was placed on the National Historic Register on August 13, 1979. Restoration efforts were completed in 1983. Following restoration a portion of the museum housed the Anderson County Library until 2004 when it was relocated. In 2006, the depot became the new home to the Ruth Drake Museum and South Carolina Tennis Hall of Fame Museum.

Southern Depot - Belton, SC (Credit: www.panoramio.com)
Southern Depot – Belton, SC (Credit: http://www.panoramio.com)

The depot at Conway, SC, was constructed by the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad in 1928. It is a long, rectangular, one-story, gable-roofed, frame board-an-batten building. It features wide overhanging eaves. The depot was placed on the National Register of Historic Places on May 18, 1995. The Atlantic Coast Line was eventually absorbed into the Carolina Southern Railroad which is a member of the Carolina Rails system. Excursion trains on the Waccamaw Coast Line occasionally run from Conway.

Atlantic Coast Line Depot - Conway, SC (Credit: www.condrenrails.com)
Atlantic Coast Line Depot – Conway, SC (Credit: http://www.condrenrails.com)

The depot at Heath Springs, SC, was constructed by the Southern Railway in 1903. Its primary use was in the transportation of cotton, cottonseed and cotton oil products from nearby farms and cotton oil mills, textiles and granite from a nearby quarry. The depot served Southern Railway freight and passengers from 1903-1940. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on January 4, 1990.

Southern Depot - Heath Springs, SC (Credit: www.sciway.net)
Southern Depot – Heath Springs, SC (Credit: http://www.sciway.net)

The depot at Albertville, AL, was constructed by the Nashville, Chattanooga & St. Louis Railway in 1892, one year after the town was incorporated. The building measures 112 ft x 40 ft and is divided into three rooms: two offices and one large warehouse. Passenger service ended in the 1940’s, although the depot remained in use for freight. The depot was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on February 20, 1975. The building was renovated for use as a seniors center in the mid-1990’s. A former L&N caboose next to the depot houses the Albertville Museum.

NC&StL Depot - Albertville, AL (Credit: wikipedia.org)
NC&StL Depot – Albertville, AL (Credit: wikipedia.org)

The depot at Andalusia, AL, was constructed by the Central of Georgia Railroad in 1899. It is the oldest and only wooden commercial building in downtown Andalusia. The depot now houses the Three Notch Museum, which includes the depot, several railroad cars, a country store, a log cabin, railroad memorabilia and period items. The restored depot is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Central of Georgia Depot - Andalusia, AL (Credit: www.flickr.com)
Central of Georgia Depot – Andalusia, AL (Credit: http://www.flickr.com)

Rock on Trains © 2021, Tom Rock + T.D.R. Productions. All rights reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from Tom Rock is strictly prohibited.

Depot Doings: Dresden/Ingersoll/Simcoe/St. Clair Ave/Tecumseh/Wallaceburg

Featured Canadian National and Chesapeake & Ohio Railway depots are in various Ontario locations:

All photos courtesy of Mr. Bill Thomson, Railpictures.ca.


Rock on Trains © 2021, Tom Rock + T.D.R. Productions. All rights reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from Tom Rock is strictly prohibited.