Building Plan and Construction Aberdeen Station - Frisco Railway Depot, Aberdeen Mississippi
The original working drawings dated July 5 and August 20, 1929, for the station are on file in the main offices of the Frisco at Springfield, Missouri.
These working drawings appear to have been used for this station alone, though railroads would often design a prototypical station that would be repeated, with minor variations, at numerous locations. Although the Frisco did develop a small Mission Revival station which was used throughout Mississippi, southern Alabama, and Florida, they chose to erect a more traditional brick structure in Aberdeen.
The plot plan shows that the station had brick platforms edged with combination brick and concrete curbs. These platforms were 16 feet wide and over 100 feet long. One extended northward along the track to Amory, Mississippi, and the other ran westward, parallel to the station along the track into the town of Aberdeen. The latter platform extended to form a walk around the station.
The station originally consisted of four rooms corresponding closely to the present floor plan. The General Waiting Room (now office space) and the Baggage and Express Room (now storage) flanked the central section containing the Colored Waiting Room (also storage) and Ticket Office (now a toilet room). The drawing of the plan specified a composition floor for both waiting rooms, the drawing of a wood floor for the Ticket Office, and a cement floor for the Baggage and Express Room. The sheets detailing iron work and millwork for the doors and windows indicate that these were custom made for the station.
The original plan and appearance-of the Ticket Office may be reconstructed from the drawings. The only access to the Ticket Office was through a door on its southwest wall which opened onto the Colored Waiting Room. A 2'6" wide telegraph table was placed along the northeast wall of the Ticket Office which extended out from the northeast facade of the station toward the tracks to form a bay. A pair of windows on the northeast side and single windows on the northwest and southeast sides of the bay illuminated this space. The "Section Thro Ticket Office" on Sheet 25062 shows a 3' by 7' equipment panel centered on the southeast interior wall of the office. Ticket windows were located on the southwest and southeast walls of the Ticket Office. The ticket window consisted of wrought iron grille surmounted by a rectangular wooden panel serving as a sash pocket. The grille had a lock plate and was composed of 3/8" x 1" flat bars spaced approximately 2" on center. It extended from the wooden ticket counter up to the edge of the brick wainscotting. Brick headers formed a string course extending up to and around the panel at the top of the ticket window. An identical window located on the southwest wall of the ticket office opened onto the Colored Waiting Room. An L-shaped, 3'6" wide oak-topped counter in the south corner of the Ticket Office served both ticket windows. On the southeast wall, below the General Waiting Room Ticket Window, the counter contained one movable shelf and a money drawer. On the southwest wall below the Colored Waiting Room ticket window, it contained a tariff case.
Although the station had no running water, it did have electricity and electric lighting. Scuttles and flues shown in the drawings indicate that the coal-burning chimney was functional.
A fairly thorough account of the station's construction may be found in the Aberdeen Examiner. The land on which the station is situated was reclaimed from part of the Tombigbee River Swamp. For fill the Frisco utilized dirt excavated from Becker, Mississippi, seven miles north of Aberdeen, where the track level was being lowered to conform to the grade of the Frisco's extension to Pensacola. By August 25, 1929 the Kershaw Construction Company had completed form work for the concrete piers supporting the station. ("Work Starts on New Depot at Aberdeen," Aberdeen Examiner, August 25, 1929) The foundation work was substantially complete by September 1. The Examiner reported that "as soon as the concrete for foundation piers has cured sufficiently, trainloads of dirt will be dumped and the ground brought up to the level of the track.... Water for the concrete is hauled to the job in a large tank, and placed on a siding, and used as needed, thus solving the water problem.... The work is being done railroad style, which means no delay." ("Good Progress Made on Depot at East Aberdeen," Examiner, Sept. 1, 1929). Although a September 4 article indicated that the station would be completed within two months of that date, the site work proved to be more difficult than anticipated. Col. Thweatt found that 30,000 cubic yards of dirt, more than double the original estimate, were required. (Examiner, Sept. 18, 1929) A complete train crew was needed to haul dirt to the site. ("Dumping Dirt Around Site of New Depot," Examiner, Sept. 9, 1929). On November 6 it appeared that the station would be completed within 30 days. All materials had been delivered to the site, and the concrete floor had been poured. ("All Material on Ground for Frisco Depot," Examiner, Nov. 6, 1929) However, the inclement weather which contributed to the first crop failures of the Great Depression also took its toll on the progress of the station. On November 20, 1929 the Examiner reported that the brickwork was being completed. "It will likely require about two weeks more before the carpenters can place a roof on the structure. The heavy rains have washed the earthwork around the new station and it is likely that when the Frisco resumes the work of lowering the main line track just beyond Becker, the dirt which will have to be excavated there will be placed around the East Aberdeem Station." ("Brick Work is Under Way on Frisco Depot," Examiner, Nov. 20, 1929) Four months later a brief article mentioned that the new station, to be known as the Aberdeen Station, was in use. ("New Frisco Station Here in Use Today," Examiner, March 2, 1930).
Despite the different uses to which the station has been put, few alterations have been needed. According to Chatherine West, the building had been vacant for some time before Morris Ready Mix leased it in 1957. Cabinets and equipment had been removed and no trace of the brick platforms remained. Dust covered the gray walls above the wainscot. During 1957 Morris Ready Mix made a number of improvements to adapt the building to their use. Reeves Drilling Company of Amory, Mississippi was contracted to drill a 300-foot well so that water could be supplied to the site. The Ticket Office, from which the furnishings had been romoved, was replaced with a toilet room. Butane gas heating was substituted for coal. "Goat" Robinson rewired the station for 220 voltage, so that a window air conditioning unit and a small electric heating unit could be installed in the General Waiting Room, which was to become office space. The walls were cleaned and painted a light green. Morris Ready Mix also poured the present concrete walk on the track side of the building. When the Frisco Railway again occupied the station in 1971, the only change necessary was the installation of fluorescent lighting in the General Waiting Room, which was to continue in use as office space. At that time furnishings from Alberdeen's Street Station (demolished 1971) were brought to the Frisco Station.