Bethany, Harrison County
The former Burlington Northern Railway Depot in Bethany was the last active depot in Harrison County. It originated in 1880 when the first train arrived on October 28. The building represents a typical depot design, with a low pitched hipped roof with wide overhanging eaves, and inside a large passenger waiting area, baggage and freight area, and an office and ticket window. The depot was the center of activity prior to World War I as the station employed a station agent, a freight agent and a telegrapher. Four daily passenger and freight trains passed through Bethany. The trains were met by reporters, taxis and drays, and lunches were brought for railway passengers. Scores of riders came to the station on their way to the annual Northwest Missouri State Fair. Circus animals as well as solders were picked up at the station at various points in its history. Today the depot is threatened due to neglect. Boards on the inside and outside decks are in good condition, but the floors are sagging and in need of shoring. The building’s exterior needs to be repaired and painted. Interior walls and ceilings are damaged, and termite infestation was recently remediated. It is hoped that listing on Missouri’s Place in Peril will help bring awareness of the plight of the depot to citizens interested in its preservation. The City of Bethany plans to earmark a small portion of their 2019 budget for repairs at the depot, but the City’s funds will not be enough for a full renovation. It is hoped that a restored depot would not only contribute to a sense of pride in Bethany’s history, but might also house an events venue and farmers market in the summer months.