Historic Structures

Union Depot and Freight House, Anniston Alabama

Date added: June 10, 2019 Categories: Alabama Train Station Richardsonian Romanesque

The first railroad station, for the East Tennessee, Virginia and Georgia Railroad, was constructed across 10th Street during the early years of the town. When the town council ordered 10th Street opened, the structure was moved and later dismantled. In 1884 Samuel Noble began construction of a new railroad, the Anniston and Atlantic, and the following year this depot was built to serve all incoming rail lines into the town. As with most of the larger buildings erected in Anniston during the 1880s, the depot utilized native sandstone in its construction and displays the characteristic workmanship of the master stonemason, Simon Jewell. Later the Louisville and Nashville Railroad acquired the A & A, and the depot was known as the L & N Depot until the last passenger train of that line passed through Anniston in 1951. Since that time, a hardware-and-lumber business has occupied the building under various names.

Situated immediately east of the old L & N railroad track (now the Seaboard) at 13th Street, the main building is an irregular-shaped one-story structure of vermiculated native sandstone of the variety found in most of the Anniston churches constructed during the late 19th century. The steeply pitched hip roof was remodeled after a fire in the late 1950s. The original lines of the roof were restored. However, a decorative balustrade, wide dormer, and 2nd-story office that were destroyed by the fire were not replaced. The roof covers a porch that extends across the front of the building, the porch roof being supported by an unusual arrangement of Tuscan columns.

The essentially seven-bay front has a central arched entry with Richardsonian elements featuring stone voussoirs and double wood-and-glass doors with transoms and sidelights fitting into the arch. On either side is a three-bay unit consisting of a central doorway and two double-hung windows, all with transoms.

The interior floor plan features a long central hallway with separate waiting rooms on either side, all leading to a round ticket office with curved window openings. The 20-foot high ceilings are of wood laid diagonally with wide cove molding. The structural ironwork, on the interior, was made by James Noble and his son Dixon in their foundry.

The ticket office is now the office of the lumber company, while the waiting rooms and the hallway are now display rooms. To the rear is a train shed which extends the length of the building and is supported by ten "y"-shaped posts.

To the south of the main depot is located the old freight house which is a brick building constructed at the same time as the main depot. The building has a two-story block at the south end which displays a pyramidal roof, drip corbelling around the base of the projecting wood cornice, two segmentally arched windows and remnants of sashing, on each side, and an interior brick chimney. The main entrance is at the east side and has a small gabled entrance cover in poor condition. Adjoining this block at the north side is the one-story freight house, also with segmentally arched windows with stone sills and with a long hipped roof. Located at the north end of the main depot is a one-story brick building with a pyramidal roof. This building was constructed around 1930 for use as the railroad express office and is now utilized as a storage building.