Monday, November 8, 2010

Pioneer Village II: Garner Depot

Going on with the Pioneer Village. This is my favorite piece in their collection, and anyone who reads this blog can probably see why.

This beautiful depot once stood in the desolate town of Garner, which lies a few miles south of Searcy. It's an odd duck, because none of the depots that once stood in the villages bordering Searcy (Kensett, Judsonia, Higginson) still stand. But it's probably because of its unusual history that we still have it.

The Missouri-Pacific Railroad ceased passenger railroad activity from Garner in 1939, moving it instead to neighboring McRae. To avoid confusion, the railroad ordered that the depot be moved from the railroad. These days, it probably would have been demolished instantly, but back then the people of Garner had other ideas.

It was moved across the street (pausing in the middle of the highway overnight), then converted into a residence. Years later, a family from McRae acquired it and moved it onto their property, where they operated an antique shop out of it.

Eventually, those owners passed away and the next of kin offered the building to the White County Historical Society. They packed it up and moved it to Searcy, where it remains to this day.

The 1888 building shows the sort of character that public transit buildings had in those days, and gives us a rare glimpse of what small-town depots were like.


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