Cite:  Ashmead, Alexandra. The Original Depot. 2015. Photograph. The Depot, Holly Springs, MS.

The Depot was built between 1852 and 1859 and was part of a thriving district.  This section of town housed the headquarters for the Mississippi Central Railroad.

The Depot continued to prosper until the Civil War.  Some claim that the original depot was destroyed during General Van Dorn's Raid on December 20, 1862.  This misinformation started from the word "depot."  In the 1800's, the word depot could be used to mean supplies or a building.  During the raid, the supply depot was either destroyed or taken by locals and confederate soldiers.  The depot building was not obliterated. 

Cite: Simplot, Alexander.  (1863, January 10).  Railroad Depot. Harper's Weekly. p. 29. Print.
The proof?  The Original Depot is still standing!  We have had architects, historians, and even Civil War experts tour the oldest part of The Depot and confirm that the intact building predates the Civil War.

The Depot continued its life during the 1870's only to be halted by the Yellow Fever Epidemic of 1878.  After the quarantine was lifted, the Illinois Central brought new life to The Depot.  The Illinois Central bought the line and invested $20,000 into revamping The Depot.

That $20,000 created The Depot that everyone loves and adores!  Can you believe that it was all created within six months?  Construction began around December 5, 1885 and the building was opened to the public on May 17, 1886!
Cite:  Southern Homeseekers' Guide and Winter Resorts on the Southern Division of the Illinois Central Railroad in Tennessee, Mississippi, and Louisiana. Cedar Rapids, Iowa:  Daily Republican Printing and Binding House. 1889. Print
During its heyday, this magnificent building was the center of activity.  It was the location where presidents, writers, bands, and party-goers would meet.  By 1933, the railway express office grew to its present size.  However, sometime in the 1930's the grand Illinois Central's Holly Springs Passenger Station and Hotel ceased as a stop along the tracks.
Cite:  Weems, A.G. (1948, February 29). Mr. Kerr No Longer Broods Beneath A Honeysuckle Vine. The Commercial Appeal, Memphis, Sunday Morning, Section I pp. 12.

In the 1940's, O.B. Kerr bought The Depot and the land beneath it with the exception of the baggage room and express office which were purchased later.

Cite:  Kerr, O.B. Kerr Castle. circa 1940.  Photograph.  The Depot, Holly Springs, MS.
O.B. Kerr used the first floor as his factory and the second floor was converted into apartments.  After O.B. Kerr died, the factory was shut down and the entire depot was used as a private residence.

A bird's eye view of the Depot and all of it's additions can be seen above.  To read more about what the numbers mean click the following link:  http://thehollyspringsdepot.blogspot.com/search/label/Depot-Compress%20District

Cite: Thomas, William.  (1968, March 3).  Home Sweet Depot.  The Commercial Appeal, Memphis, TN, Sunday Morning, p. 6-7. Print.

In the 1970's, a lot of repairs were done on The Depot.  The Depot's second roof was put on after  Hurricane Camille's influence (see above photo showing Dr. R. L. Wyatt walking dog named Rebel).   The roof spire was replaced (due to trigger happy fingers) and a corner of the baggage room was fixed after a train ran into it.

By 2001, the first Depot Divas meeting was held at The Depot which inspired one of its members to write a wonderful series called the Dixie Divas.
Cite:  Ashmead, Alexandra.  New Garage Doors. 2015.  Photograph.  The Depot, Holly Springs, MS.

In 2015, The Depot's future was discussed by the current owners.  It was agreed that The Depot could become a self sustaining business offering a venue for events.  This excited others in town and Mayor Buck encouraged the Depot-Compress District Focus Group to be formed.

Small projects were completed (420 foot fence was built, garage doors were restored, and the front brick walk was refurbished).  In addition,the Depot's annual events,Tracks of Generals in December and Tracks of Art in May, were started.
From Left to Right:  Larry Dixon, Alexandra Ashmead, Sue Smith, Genevieve Busby, Miss Busby, Carol Parks, Phillip Knecht, and Curt Fields.
Megan Wolfe Photography made a documentary about our plans to rejuvenate The Holly Springs Depot.
To read more about what was seen in this video click on this link:  http://thehollyspringsdepot.blogspot.com/2015/09/sneak-peek-inside-depot.html

1 comment:

  1. magnificent building and history. can't wait for the tour