Missouri Pacific Depot (Malvern)

The Missouri Pacific Depot is an operating train depot located at 200 East First Street in Malvern (Hot Spring County). The Mediterranean-style building was constructed around 1917 and was added to the National Register of Historic Places on June 11, 1992. By 2018, it was serving as a depot for Amtrak’s Texas Eagle.

Malvern was created as a stop for the Cairo and Fulton Railroad in 1873. The settlement quickly grew and incorporated in 1876 and, two years later, became the county seat, replacing nearby Rockport (Hot Spring County). The railroad played an important role in the growth of the city, as the two major products from the area—brick and timber—were shipped across the country from the station. A second line, the Hot Springs Railroad, was laid in 1875. Connecting the city to Hot Springs (Garland County), it allowed visitors to the springs to travel entirely by train, avoiding a stagecoach ride from Malvern.

After several sales and mergers, the Missouri Pacific Railroad took control of the line that passed through Malvern in 1917. In an effort to standardize all of the structures on the line, a new depot was constructed in Malvern. The building is a one-and-a-half-story red brick structure on a continuous-cast concrete foundation. It is topped with a continuous asphalt shingle roof. Decorative Italianate wood cornice brackets support the roof around the entire perimeter of the building. A concrete water table surrounds the entire structure. The structure runs from the northeast to the southwest. The southwest end of the building was an open platform when constructed, with four brick pillars supporting the roof. This area has been enclosed on three sides with Masonite to provide an area for passengers waiting for the Texas Eagle and is open toward the tracks.

The addition of the walls created a breezeway between the waiting area and the remainder of the depot. A single door leads from the breezeway into the main structure. On the track side of the building, six windows are present, grouped in pairs. A telegraph operator’s bay protrudes from the building toward the tracks and is reached from ground level by a set of steps behind a curving brick stoop. An identical stoop is present on the opposite side of the bay. Single windows look out over each stoop, and a large nine-paned window looks out over the tracks. The curved top of the window is topped with a concrete keystone and two springers.

Continuing to the northeast, the building facing the tracks contains two windows and a door near the telegraph operator’s bay. One large sliding door is also present, and at least two other large doors were present at one time but were later removed and the openings bricked. A large rollup door is located at the northeast end of the building and is accessed via wooden platform.

The street side of the depot contains a total of eight windows of varying sizes and two single-leaf doors. Three window units have been added to the structure on this side, and at least three areas have been bricked, likely when the large doors were replaced. A single sliding door is located on the northeast end of the street side of the building.

For additional information:
“Missouri-Pacific Railroad Depot.” National Register for Historic Places registration form. On file at Arkansas Historic Preservation Office, Little Rock, Arkansas. Online at http://www.arkansaspreservation.com/National-Register-Listings/PDF/HS0009.nr.pdf (accessed September 17, 2019).

David Sesser
Henderson State University


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