More than 50 train stations across the All-natural Point out are mentioned on the Nationwide Register of Historic Places. Only 6 nonetheless see passenger services. That’s a sad actuality of vacation for Arkansans who keep in mind the pleasures of riding the rails.
But railroading’s glory times from the previous several many years of the 19th century into the 1950s can be evoked at several other previous passenger depots. They’ve been preserved by conversion to a wide variety of takes advantage of.
A dozen or additional are open to sightseers as visitor facilities and/or museums targeted on railroading alongside with other subjects. They make truly feel-very good targets for working day excursions — and potentially a revelation to youthful loved ones customers who’ve by no means savored a ride on an true coach.
Nevada County Depot and Museum in Prescott shows a scaled-down locomotive and tender designed by a local gentleman. (Unique to the Democrat-Gazette/Marcia Schnedler)
Along with the fifty percent-dozen functioning Amtrak depots (in Walnut Ridge, Little Rock, Malvern, Arkadelphia, Hope and Texarkana), some are occupied by non-public organizations, chambers of commerce or federal government workplaces. Some others are vacant. At minimum a few have been converted to personal homes. All echo the past to some degree, as famous in an Arkansas Historic Preservation Program submitting by William D. Baker:
“Like the county courthouses, write-up workplaces and city halls of the past, the nearby railroad depot produced as a assembly and gathering spot for the community, and the arrivals of passenger trains turned main activities of the working day.
“Townfolk met, noticed who arrived and departed, assisted unload freight and picked up mail. The standardization of railroad schedules was the impetus for the progress of national time zones, and for the initial time Arkansas communities abandoned their regional systems for the Central Time Zone.”
The enthusiasm for product railroading that some grown-ups have carried from their childhood Lionel and American Flyer layouts is manifest at Nevada County Depot and Museum in Prescott. The station, which observed its previous Missouri Pacific passenger operate in 1972, shows a scaled-down locomotive and tender designed several years ago by a community fanatic to operate on observe in his yard.
In Russellville’s Historic Missouri-Pacific Practice Depot, opened in 1917, four rooms restored as a museum give a apparent perception of what railroad journey in the South was like throughout the Jim Crow era of racial segregation.
Southern legislation and customized again then mandated separate waiting rooms for white and Black passengers. In Russellville’s whites-only room, the transom components dates to 1917. In the room for “colored” passengers, the restroom mirror is almost certainly the unique. The spectacular timepiece in the station master’s place of work is an 8-day railway clock. Courting to 1910, it however gets the wanted winding after a 7 days.
Just one building of Helena-West Helena’s Delta Cultural Centre occupies the previous Helena Depot. (Specific to the Democrat-Gazette/Marcia Schnedler)
In the state’s considerably north at Mammoth Spring, the Kansas Town, Fort Scott and Memphis Railroad Depot’s segregated ready rooms have been restored as they appeared soon after the station opened in 1885 for vacationers arriving to enjoy the spa waters. A dozen daily life-dimensions mannequins include to the station’s perception of time travel.
Brinkley’s Central Delta Depot Museum is housed in what was touted as the Rock Island Line’s most amazing depot in eastern Arkansas when it opened in 1912. Its spacious wing style and design incorporated freight rooms at every conclude. Shown on the grounds is a lesser century-previous frame depot relocated from the city of Monroe. There’s also a Southern Pacific caboose, a person of the previous constructed for that line in the 1980s.
Amid other previous depots with historic displays, the handsome Union Pacific station constructed in 1912 in downtown Helena (now Helena-West Helena) properties one of Arkansas’ most notable museums, the Delta Cultural Centre.
Displays or other visitor products and services also occupy former depots in places like Decatur, Earle, Eureka Springs, Glenwood, Gurdon, McGehee, Mena and Pine Bluff. Not all the shows aim on railroad history. But the settings call to mind the heyday of prepare vacation.
Info on surviving prepare stations in Arkansas is out there at arkansasheritage.com. Hours vary at depots open up to readers, with admission typically absolutely free.