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Sunday, August 7, 2011

Stevenson, AL Train Depot

Stevenson, AL Train Depot (Version A)

One of the older and busier train stations in the area, this historic depot was built in 1872 and has active train tracks on either side.

Originally, a one story depot was constructed here in 1853 when tracks first came into town. When that building burned, it was replaced by this brick one in 1872.

During the Civil War, Stevenson was a hub of activity. Troops skirmished here and the town changed sides several times, although it was mostly under Union control. Troops occupied the town and a large refugee camp sprang up between here and Ft. Harker a quarter mile away.

Tens of thousands of soldiers, horses, wagons, prisoners of war, refugees, wounded and others passed through the city during the summer and fall of 1863 around the time of the Battles of Chattanooga and Chickamauga. Harpers Weekly noting the juncture of East-West and North-South rail lines here called Steveson one of the seven most important cities of the South.

After the war, the Dept and the brick hotel built next door, also between the tracks continued as the center of life in Stevenson. Trains stopped here at mealtimes and passengers ate in the hotel dining rooms. Other passengers spent the night here. It was said that the hotel is so close to the tracks that the trains opened the hotel windows and pulled the covers off the beds.

The Depot and Hotel were added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1974. However, the depot still needed to be saved. A group of citizens save the depot from deconstruction during the 1976 bicentennial when the last railroad office closed. In June of 1982, a community museum opened here after renovation.

If you choose to visit the museum, there's plenty of parking, but you do have to cross live tracks. I consider this the standard view of the depot, from the parking side.

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