On the Bluff: The Yazoo & Mississippi Valley Depot

south east 2 (1)

In 1907, Brookhaven, Natchez, Vicksburg, and Grenada were all desirous of new depots to accommodate railway travelers on the Illinois Central/Yazoo & Mississippi lines.

Mr. W. L. Smith, of Memphis, general agent of the Illinois Central…stated that the depot matters at Brookhaven, Natchez, Vicksburg and Grenada are in process of adjustment, and satisfactory settlements will probably be reached. (Natchez Democrat, Jan. 10, 1907, p. 2)

Both the community of Natchez and the three railroads centering in Natchez were at odds over the building of the new depot.  The railroad commission order those three railroads to build a union depot (Weekly Clarion-Ledger, Apr. 23, 1908) “some time ago.”  The commission order had not been carried out, complaints were made, and the railroads involved were ordered to Jackson to explain why not.  The reasons for the opposition, by both railroads and some in Natchez, to building the depot was not clear in the item, and the issue was held over for continuance at the next monthly meeting, although I do not find any further follow-up reported in the news, until January 1909.

Depot west elevation

Construction  was “well under way”  with a “large force of men” at the corner of State and Canal streets by Mississippi Central railroad in January 1909, and  “handsome and commodious structure will be completed on contract time–five months from January 1 this year (Jackson Daily News, Jan. 20, 1909, p. 2).   G. B. Swift Company of Chicago was the contractor for the $40,000 depot, with heating plant and “other incidentals” bringing the total to $47,500.

Wait a minute–not so fast!  This depot is not at State and Canal…

For the past four years, Natchez has been trying to secure a brick or stone depot in keeping with the surroundings and “with the rapid growth of the city.”  A few months ago, there was a proposition for a union station, and this was fought hard on both sides for a time, the citizens themselves were divided on the question.  Now that the union depot idea has been abandoned, the request for a new depot for this particular road has been renewed, and a petition of great length has been presented to the commission, following much correspondence…(Natchez Democrat, Feb. 16, 1909, p. 2)

The railroad insisted they could not afford to put out money “except where absolutely necessary” and at the time were in the process of improving the railbed between Natchez and Jackson.

So, wha’ had happened was…

The original clamor was for a union station, which the depot was called when several railways shared the same location.  What station was constructed at State and Canal…and by whom?  In March, the Democrat reported “elaborate plans” were approved for a new Natchez depot for the Mississippi Central.  And, in March, the “tangle” was back in the news again.  Yazoo & Mississippi Valley Railroad were ordered to construct a new passenger depot for Natchez, and to be completed by February 1, 1910.  The city wanted a modern depot, of brick or stone.  The railroad alleged the existing depot was adequate.  June 1909, the Railroad Commission suspended the order for Y & MV to build the Natchez Depot, at the request of the railway, since they had met with the citizens and agreed on terms to construct a new depot.  The structure was to be brick, and plans were underway to obtain an architect to draw plans (Natchez Democrat, Jun. 16, 1909).

The new depot opened April 6, 1910.  Much of the confusion around which news item was which depot and which railway was the use of all railways in the same items, and sometimes not distinguishing which depot was the one in reference.  The Mississippi Central depot was at State and Canal, and the Yazoo & Mississippi Valley depot was on Broadway, at the Bluff.  Passenger service to Natchez ceased after the end of World War II.

 

 

 

 

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This entry was posted in Historic Downtowns, Mississippi, railroad lines, train station depot buildings and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to On the Bluff: The Yazoo & Mississippi Valley Depot

  1. Sheryl says:

    It’s wonderful how the depot looks like it is still in good condition. Many old depots around here are in various stages of disrepair.

    • Suzassippi says:

      It underwent renovation and restoration a few years ago. A restaurant was located in it for a while, but it appears to be vacant now. Efforts were made in the last few years for reuse.

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