For those who may be thinking about attending the upcoming Preservation Texas program on local historic railroads (August 11th in Marshall), you might like to know in advance about Linden’s own Jefferson & Northwestern (JNW) Railroad and Depot. If so, read on!
Linden’s first train depot (image on right) was moved from the original site where Linden Heritage Foundation (LHF) Charter Member Lanita Williams now lives – just south of Lanier Auto Center. After railroad service was discontinued, the building was moved to a field off a local Farm to Market Highway where the photo was taken.
A map of the Jefferson & Northwestern (JNW) Railway Company, showing the 1918 station layout at Linden, was located by LHF Research Committee Co-Chair Gail Dorgan at http://www.ttarchive.com/library/Maps/Jefferson-NW-Linden_1918_ICC.htm.* If you view the Station Map, you will see that the engine overshot the Depot one full block so that the passenger car could align conveniently with the Depot lobby. To turn the engine the 180 degrees necessary for it to head back to Jefferson, railroad personnel used a roundabout located on the north side of Houston Street, between Foster and Smithland Streets. This circular device (a round platform on ball bearings) was very similar to the roundabouts still in use to turn San Francisco Cable Cars at each endpoint on their route. Later, the JNW acquired engines that could push either forward or backward. That innovation ended the long delays for the vehicular traffic on Houston Street.
The following 11 photos of the first Depot are historic images digitized from family history albums, mostly courtesy of Barbara Skelton and Charline Morris. They show that the railroad shipping lanes and tracks served young people as a sort of social promenade. Also, crops and cattle were shipped out, dry goods and other merchandise received, and local boys were sent off to war from this Depot.
The building shown below is rumored to have served as the second JNW Linden Depot, but no evidence has yet been found to verify the claim. This brick structure is located on the east side of Lanier Auto Center. It is owned by the City of Linden and is showing signs of endangerment:
You can still register for the Preservation Texas meeting in Marshall at http://www.preservationtexas.org/marshall2016/
Hope to see some of you in Marshall on the 11th! Sue Morris Lazara Vice President for Preservation and Education
*Source: United States. Interstate Commerce Commission. Valuation Reports of the Interstate Commerce Commission. Linden Station [map]. Valuation Docket 423, Jefferson & Northwestern Railway Company. Washington, DC: [s.n.], June 30, 1918.