Modern Depot to Be Built By the L. & N Railroad Co. at Flomaton
ASHS Column for 02 15 07
Jerry Simmons

     No, that headline isn’t from the latest
edition of the PNJ or the Mobile Register.
It’s from the Pine Belt News, March 20,
1902, an article originally in the
Montgomery Advertiser. The subject
was one of the best things to happen
to Flomaton for many years: the
building of a marvelous new railroad
     The first station met its demise
due to fire; the second met its end by
a demolition crew. There’s hardly
anyone I know that hasn’t
commented at one time or another
that it’s a "shame that railroad depot
was torn down."
     Whatever your opinion about its
loss, I think you’ll agree, those who
remember the building, that it was a
magnificent structure and one Flomaton could be proud of. It may have served as a lesson to us that just because something is old, doesn’t mean it needs to be destroyed.
     Read the article that accompanied the headline:

     Modern Depot to Be Built By the L. & N Railroad Co. at Flomaton
     As a general rule, fires are beneficial to a town, and in the case of Flomaton this rule is observed to the letter.

     The depot, hotel, etc., of the Louisville and Nashville that was burned at Flomaton recently is to be replaced by a $32,000 modern depot. Superintendent McKinney, of the Mobile and Montgomery division, yesterday morning forwarded the plans of the new building to the general offices of the Louisville and Nashville.
     It will be a handsome two-story building, the rooms being as follows: The north end of the first floor will be the baggage room with a lunch room next and a kitchen adjoining and just in the rear. The next room will be the largest in the building—the general waiting room—with the ladies waiting room adjoining. The next room will be the ticket office and agent's room with the dispatcher's office adjoining a battery room being just in the rear of the telegraph office.
     The room on the south end of the first floor will be the conductors' room. There will be four large rooms on the second floor, but they will be used exclusively for employees and there will be no hotel attachment at all. Superintendent McKinney drew the plans for the new building and the Louisville and Nashville will build it themselves.

     This is not all that is in store for Flomaton, however, and that little junction town will begin to put on metropolitan airs before another twelve months have rolled around. The Louisville and Nashville will begin at once the work of building elevated coal chutes and bins of 15,000 tons capacity (one built in 1943 still stands today – ed.). The chutes will be on the order of the monster one in the south and north yards in north Montgomery, the rapidly increasing traffic of the Louisville and Nashville making this move necessary.
     The freight business is getting so heavy that the work of straightening out curves and lowering grades that is going on between [Montgomery] and Birmingham is to be duplicated between Montgomery and Flomaton. South of Greenville ten miles of new eighty pound steel rail is to be laid, but the biggest improvement will be for seven miles over Owassa hill. The present grade is 40 feet for two miles and a half and 33 feet for four miles and a half. The new line will be practically an even grade with only 21 feet in the seven miles with only three curves while the present line has eleven curves. When all the improvements are made on the Mobile and Montgomery it is claimed that 2.000 tons can be hauled as easily as 1,000 tons now.—Montgomery Advertiser
     The track should be laid for Old 100 by the time you read this, unless something else unforeseen happens. We encourage you to drop by from time to time just to see the changes we’re undergoing. From the new track to a cleaned-out and roomy office to a new display case donated by Benny Barnes and the Century Chamber of Commerce, we’re continually on the move.
     We still need a few office items that some of you may have such as file cabinets, small tables and more. If you donate unused items we may be able to write you a receipt for an income tax deduction. Old pictures of family and places in this area are always needed; we can scan them and get them right back to you, so bring your old photos in.
     Our next meeting is Tuesday, February 20, at 6:00 pm in the Leach House Museum. Refreshments and a social time afterwards make for an enjoyable winter evening. You don’t have to be a member to attend, but our dues are only $5.00/year. If you can’t afford to pay it all at one time, we will finance on the spot!
     Y’all come.

Click to view larger image

Flomaton depot circa 1919. On the south side of the building was a lovely little park setting with a goldfish pond. This was an area where travelers who had a layover could walk and relax in a safe and comfortable setting. Flomaton was fortunate to have such a striking building as a landmark. If you know when the building was torn down let us know.

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This page last modified on Wednesday, February 21, 2007