Texas and Pacific Train Depot

Site 17

Constructed in 1927, the depot was built in the heart of the African American community (see photo). Many African Americans were employed in services connected to the depot. Nevertheless, that community was denied full use of the building. The depot reflects the social practice of segregation in its architecture, with two separate waiting rooms for White and Black passengers. Children in the community, however, used the depot platform when the trains were not running.

On Sunday evening those of us who did not, we would go down and watch those few that had skates … and they would skate out there. Trains didn’t run all through the day, you know. They had concrete out in the front, and children would go there and they’d skate.

Closed in the 1960s and donated to the city of Natchitoches in 1984, the depot is slated for restoration beginning in 2007. Plans are underway to establish an African American heritage museum in the depot building.

Site of depot showing neighborhood to be displaced and the new depot. Photographed by Arthur Babb, ca. 1926. Arthur Babb Sketchbook, Melrose Collection, CHRC

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