Constructed in 1907, Louisiana’s Chicago & Alton railroad Depot is representative of the hundreds of small scale railroad structures that served rural communities in Missouri in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The Louisiana Depot is one of two survivors of its type in a tri-county region.
The early 20th century landmark exhibits modest detailing with its red brick veneer base and stucco paneled wall sections with wood battens. The central section of the building contains an office /ticket counter with segregated men’s and women’s waiting areas flanking it. The side pavilions contain freight or baggage areas. Much of the original interior woodwork, wainscoting, windows, and floor plan remain intact, although in a deteriorated state due to age and water damage.
The building ceased active passenger operations in 1960 and was allowed to sit vacant and deteriorate. The building closed in 1973 and was subsequently sold to a private individual who made some partial roof repairs and used the station as a temporary residence. The current owner has placed a new roof on the building to make it weather tight for the first time in decades. A plan for reuse and a full-fledged rehabilitation of the building are needed to secure its future, but efforts are hampered by the fact that the building sits in the Mississippi River floodplain. This has precluded the station from receiving Federal funds for rehabilitation. Moving the station from its original site may be necessary to save it, but the cost of moving it and finding an available parcel on which to relocate the station may make the project unfeasible. Moreover, the building sits along Highway 79, a designated Scenic Byway. Relocation of the building would diminish the historic nature of this designation.