The Texas and Pacific (known as the T & P throughout Texas) built its first station in Baird in 1881, with the construction of the original train depot pictured here. Two story depots were not common in Texas’ small towns unless the town had a significant function in the railroad company. Baird was a “division point” which earned it the two-story depot. The upper floor housed railroad offices and the bottom floor was the passenger depot. At one time, a baggage depot and freight depot were attached to the main station. According to the nomination for the National Register of Historic Places, and its extensive bibliography, the current building was built in 1911 to replace the first depot. It was used until 1977 when the depot was closed for all official railway business, though passenger service had been discontinued a number of years earlier. Per the nomination, the following significant facts about the building:
…a blend of Prairie School, Renaissance Revival, and Mission Revival styles; features a hipped roof, decorative brick parapets with cast stone coping bands of stucco and yellow brick in a diamond pattern…
The exterior was restored to the original appearance in 2006, with the exception of the roof tiles. They were originally red clay, and a substitution was made due to the weight of clay tiles. It is currently used as a museum.
The Cisco and Northeastern Railway constructed the line from Breckenridge to Throckmorton in 1928. The line was used primarily to haul cattle to Fort Worth from the nearby cattle ranches in the area. The line was discontinued in 1942.
In 1990, a group of citizens formed to acquire a public library in Throckmorton; the town was one of 12 counties in Texas without a public library. A visiting architect from Michigan (name not provided in the minutes of the meeting) suggested the depot as a site, as it was currently used only for storage. The facility was renovated and the library opened in 1996.
In 2008, the facility underwent another renovation during the Main Street revival project. Note the emblem for the Cisco and Northeastern (C & NE) on the base of the flagpole.
Nearby Graham was served by the Rock Island and Southern. The Chicago, Rock Island, and Pacific (known as the Rock Island) originated in Illinois and extended down to Fort Worth. The line was extended to Graham in 1903.
There were numerous mergers of a variety of railroad companies, and the acquisition of different lines by different companies during the following years. In 1955, the Rock Island acquired the lines of the Wichita Falls and Southern Railroad between Graham and South Hanlon. They abandoned this line in 1969 and the last freight train rolled out of Graham a few years later.
The facility was used as a farm implement store for a period of time, then an antique store, and now sees use as a teen center known as “The Rock.”
If there is one thing I have learned about historic preservation since the move to Mississippi, it is the importance of not only restoring or renovating a structure, but having a plan in place for its use and continued upkeep. Without that, it becomes just another building to fall victim to the whims of humans and the environment and rot away yet again.