Wysor Street Depot - Muncie, IN
Posted by: bluesneaky
N 40° 11.852 W 085° 22.753
16T E 637953 N 4450941
Quick Description: Originally built for the CR&M Line, now houses the Cardinal Greenway Trail office (and yes that was a moving locomotive you see in the background despite the trail office)
Location: Indiana, United States
Date Posted: 4/27/2011 7:41:10 PM
Waymark Code: WMBAW4
The historic Wysor Street Depot opened in 1901 along the Cincinnati, Richmond, and Muncie railroad line for passenger and freight traffic. Architect William A. Kaufman of Richmond, Indiana designed the Depot as well as other depots on the CR&M line. These are the only known station design projects with which Kaufman was involved. Locke and Hill, also of Richmond, built the Depot. This firm's $15,000 effort generated a reproduction of the Richmond station. Built in the late Victorian Queen Anne style, the Depot was regarded as being "one of the most modern and substantial structure of its kind ever created by a railroad company in Indiana" and was an impressive display of design both inside and out. The exterior facade was light brown pressed brick with a stone base. The roof was constructed of red clay Spanish style tiling with several dormers on all sides of the roof, which incidentally were removed after the public no longer used the station.
The interior of the building was even more exquisite with large doors made of dark oak adorned with gold finishing. The hardwood motif continued on the enormous solid oak benches which were reported to be "as comfortable as church pews" and to the floors of the waiting rooms which were made of maple. The walls and ceiling were decorated in a cream tile wainscoting and a green tapestry that extended from the wainscoting to the base of the wall. The interior rooms of the station were divided between the general waiting room (the largest room in the depot), the baggage room, the smoking room, the womens waiting room, and the ticket office.
In 1910, the Chesapeake and Ohio Railway Company acquired the Chicago-Cincinnati rail route and subsequently the Depot. Although the rail line generated relatively little passenger traffic a Pullman sleeping car was offered for passengers who were taking the night train from Muncie, Indiana to Chicago, Illinois. The car would be left at the station, unattached to any other cars, and passengers would board in the late afternoon or evening. When the night train made its stop in Muncie, the car would be attached. Passengers would wake up the next morning in Chicago. This service stopped in 1933 when Hammond, Indiana became the northernmost stop on the line.
The CR&M line came relatively late in the era of railroad expansion, and credit may be given to the rising industrialization Muncie was experiencing due to the Central Indiana "gas boom." The advent and the popularity of the automobile in the years following the construction of the Depot contributed to the Depot's demise as a rail station. Even so, automobiles did not pose a serious threat to the railroad until the 1920's. The Cincinnati-Chicago route was primarily a freight-dominated line, coal from Appalachia being one of the chief cargos, and subsequently passenger trains were phased out over time.
In 1949, the Chesapeake and Ohio closed passenger service on the rail line, although freight service continued. One year after passenger service stopped, Muncie Gear Works, Inc. moved into the Depot and used the building to house company offices. In 1973, Muncie Gear Works moved out, and the Depot became the railroad property of C&O successor Chessie Systems. The station once again serviced passengers. In 1974, Amtrak rerouted the James Whitcomb Riley/George Washington trail (later renamed the Cardinal in 1977) through Muncie. Although Amtrak passengers did not use the depot itself, the platform was still used. The Cardinal line was eventually abandoned in 1985 and the Depot fell further into a dilapidated state.
After being closed to passenger traffic for 44 years, Cardinal Greenway, Inc. acquired the Depot from CSX Transportation (a successor of Chessie Systems) in 1993, along with 60 miles of abdicated railroad as part of a Rails to Trails program. Cardinal Greenways plans to renovate the structure to house its offices and host a visitor's center for the trail. Funding for the restoration project has come from public and private sources. The vast majority of the funds have come from federal transportation grants. The Depot was placed on the National Registry of Historic Sites in 1997. Including Wysor Street Depot, only three of the CR&M depots remain.
The station today is in great shape due to the efforts of the trail system who values its historical importance. Its a triumphant story of an old and magnificent station being saved.
Is the station/depot currently used for railroad purposes?: No
Is the station/depot open to the public?: Yes
If the station/depot is not being used for railroad purposes, what is it currently used for?:
The depot houses the offices of the Rails to trails Cardinal Greenway Trail,the longest rail trail in Indiana at 60 miles.
What rail lines does/did the station/depot serve?: Cincinnati, Richmond, and Muncie railroad line, Chesapeake and Ohio Railway Company, Chessie Systems, C&O, CSX Transportation
Station/Depot Web Site: Not listed
Please post an original picture of the station/depot taken while you were there. Please also record how you came to be at this station/depot and any interesting information you learned about it while there.