Building Description Cleveland, Cincinnati, Chicago and St. Louis Railroad Station - Big Four Depot, Mattoon Illinois
The Big Four Railroad Station built in 1916 next to the now removed east-west tracks of the Cleveland, Cincinnati, Chicago and St. Louis Railroad faces basically north and runs basically east and west. The station was constructed for $50,000 by C.D. Mitchell and Son of Charleston, Illinois. It is located near the back of the Illinois Central Gulf Railroad Station and near the point where the two railroad lines cross in the central business area of downtown Mattoon. The south side of the building is adjacent to the backs of buildings facing Broadway Avenue.
This rather grand two story structure reflects a Beaux-Arts Classicism in architectural style. Clearly articulated parts and symmetry, both characteristics of this style, are evident in the building. The raised central pavilion is flanked by a single bay west wing and a double bay east wing giving a rectangular shape to the structure.
The central pavilion is highlighted by three arched windows overlooking the chain-supported marquee. The facade pattern is composed of rusticated cement work at the base, a narrow stone string course above, then brick work and window encasement, topped by a terra cotta and brick entablature. This facade pattern encircles the building tying the design together horizontally to be broken below the entablature by pilasters formed in brick and cement by the indentation of the windows and spandrels. A second small marquee is positioned over the central doorway in the east wing.
The two-storied 12,000 square feet of interior space is composed of a passenger waiting room and ticket office, a baggage and freight room, restrooms, offices and an apartment. Although in a state of disrepair, the original oak woodwork and plasterwork remain unaltered and are most evident in the waiting room and ticket office. This room is located on the lower floor of the central pavilion. The trackside entrance is made up of three oak doors with rather large oak trimmed windows above and a plaster pilaster on each side. A set of double stacked, oak trimmed, three parted window groupings are positioned on each side of the doorway. Shoulder high wainscoting consisting of oak bordered panels designed to hold fabric encircles the room.
The ticket window on the south wall is bordered with oak woodwork and flanked by two plaster pilasters. Ceiling plaster work gives the appearance of encased beams running at right angles and being supported by the pilasters. The ceiling then consists of a pleasing series of recessed rectangles.
Since its closing as a station in 1964, the building had been used for storage by a drug store located to the south of the site. By 1983 the building stood empty. An elevator was installed in the south east corner of the waiting room when the building was used for storage.