Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Derelict depot

There's a certain amount of pleasure in finding a town's old train station in an odd place. Many of the smaller towns in Arkansas were served by the Missouri & North Arkansas line, an up-and-coming railroad that had a depot in Searcy in its day.

Unfortunately it made the mistake of following the Mississippi River instead of going to Little Rock. A man who's studied the rise and fall of the line told me that if they had gone to Little Rock, they might still be around today.

But they aren't. Their thinking was if they followed the might Mississip, they would get all of the commerce along the way. But commerce along the river died halfway through the 20th century, and so did the M&NA.

The M&NA literally created some towns, including Pangburn. This little burg lives right at the border of White County and had its heyday with the railroad. The old commercial sector is mostly gone now, just one single block of 19th and 20th century brick buildings left.

And the old depot...well, see for yourself.

Actually it's fairly rare that a small town has been able to keep its depot at all. Most tiny towns like Kensett, Judsonia, McRae and Garner all had depots at one point but they were sacrificed for various reasons. This one, though, managed to tough it out.

It has been a private residence for many years and the other side of the building is still covered in dismal vinyl siding and is barely recognizable as a train station. But the owners recently peeled the siding off on this side and the beautiful Italianate style has come through once again. It's still in pretty hideous shape, though.

I've heard there are plans to restore the building, but I never hold my breath for this type of thing. I hope, I hope, I hope, but we'll see. In the meantime, enjoy it while it lasts.



Anonymous said...

I've never found this depot. Next time I go to Pangburn I'd better be more alert.

Rook said...

It's quite off the beaten track. If you take Church Street, it's nestled among some indistinct houses. You actually have to drive down a little gravel road to see it from the angle I showed in the picture.