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Southern Railroad Passenger Depot


Hickory Depot Photo 1   

Hickory Depot Postcard

The first depot in Hickory was designed for freight and built in 1860 on land deeded to the Western North Carolina railroad by Henry Robinson. That building stood on the north side of the tracks and east of the present building. On April 24, 1890 the local newspaper reported a slight move of the building, saying “The depot is now being raised from the hole in which it was built and will be moved back a few feet from its former resting place and have a platform extending in front to the railroad tracks.” The freight depot stood until the mid 1960s.

A second depot was built exclusively for passenger service in 1888. It was located on the south side of the tracks. This depot served passengers until the third, the one you can see today, was constructed nearby. That second depot was moved to Gramling, South Carolina in 1913 and used for the Southern line in that town.This current Southern Railroad depot was constructed by the Elliott Building Company. An experienced building contractor, J.D. Elliott had previously erected passenger and freight depots, platforms, bridges, and trestles for the Southern Railway System and the Seaboard Air Line Railroad Company. Construction began on this building in May of 1912; it opened for business on November 7, 1912.

Some of the earliest photos of the building were taken on October 1, 1912 and show Presidential candidate Theodore Roosevelt making a whistle-stop campaign speech.

Hickory Depot Teddy Roosevelt

Many rails came into town and cars were switched here early on causing traffic interference and deaths. The switching area was moved east to an area called Highland.

The depot continued to operate as a passenger station until the 1960s, when passenger service to Hickory ended. In 1972 the City of Hickory bought the building from Southern Railway as part of a downtown redevelopment program, but the building remained vacant for some time thereafter. In 1977 the station was converted into a restaurant. Since 1977, many different restaurants have operated under a lease from the city and occupied this building. The parking lot for this building was the home of the Hickory Farmers Market from May 1, 2004 until its purchase by the current owners. The building is on the National Register of Historic Places as part of the Downtown Southwest National Register Historic District.

Information and photos provided by the Hickory Landmarks Society.

City of Hickory

76 North Center Street
Hickory, North Carolina 28601
Phone: (828) 323-7400
Fax: (828) 323-7550

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Hickory is for doers and makers seeking a well-rounded community, located between Charlotte and Asheville at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains, along I-40, where a collective spirit of craftsmanship strengthens any endeavor with detail, artistry, and quality.

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