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Logansport’s Wabash Train Depot

By Paul Kroeger

For 71 years it stood prominently at the south end of Ninth Street, until it was razed in March 1988 at the behest of the Norfolk Southern railway, a successor company to the Wabash.

In 1917 this “new” Wabash station replaced an earlier depot, erected around 1880, which was described as an “eyesore” and a “never-ending source for comedians who traveled over the road and made stops at Logansport.” (Logansport Pharos Tribune Reporter, Dec. 5, 1919.)

The depot was a handsome, Renaissance-style building constructed of Bedford brick with limestone highlights. The original waiting room, with paneled oak ceiling, had a “ladies’ retiring room and a gents’ smoking room.” A ticket office with traditional “teller’s cage” window completed the classic layout.

The baggage and express rooms were at the east end of the station. There was a portico on the west side. Over the portico in Bedford stone slab was inscribed, “Detroit 218 M” and “St. Louis 270 M,” the end point mileages served by the passenger trains.

Originally on the far east and west ends of the station grounds were two circular grass and flower beds with decorative water fountains. “Dozens of fancy electric lights,” as the Pharos reported, “will illuminate the building at night.” The concrete train-boarding platform had a 400-foot-long, steel umbrella shed to protect passengers from inclement weather.

Construction of the station began in May 1917. In those days the president of the Wabash Railroad was E. F. Kearney, a former Logansport resident who had promised a new railroad station to his home city to replace the “eyesore.” The Pharos Reporter boasted that “President Kearney and his staff believe in doing a perfect job of everything and the Logansport Wabash railway station will be as finely constructed a building as there is in the state and as beautiful as any station in the country. Thirty five thousand dollars will be put into the structure by the Wabash.”

The new station was the fulfillment of Kearney’s promise to Logansport.

One interesting feature of the station was a bronze plaque mounted on the exterior south wall of the station which read, “On this spot was erected the first log cabin in Cass County and in which the first white child was born in this county on the fifteenth day of February, eighteen hundred and twenty-eight.”

The station was opened to the public on Monday, Dec. 10, 1917, with little fanfare. From the Wabash railroad’s headquarters in St. Louis, Mr. Kearney promised a formal dedication at some future, unspecified date. The World War was under way and the “war to end all wars” occupied railroad officials in other matters.

In the final years the Wabash depot was allowed to fall into disrepair. The train shed was shortened and eventually eliminated, as passenger trains no longer operated. Finally in March 1988, a small notice appeared in the Pharos-Tribune of a permit to raze the building. Several days later, the building was down. There was no time to mount an effort to save the structure.

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