Texas and Pacific Railroad Depot, Bunkie Louisiana
Bunkie literally came into being because of the Texas and Pacific Railroad, which arrived there in 1882. Being on a main line railroad made it possible for Bunkie to flourish during 1911-1940 as a cotton shipping point. Because of the rich alluvial soil in the area, agriculture has always been the mainstay of the economy, with cotton and sugar cane being the chief money crops. Local farmers relied upon the railroad to transport thousands upon thousands of bales of cotton to market. Bunkie's location on the railroad also enabled it to attract various cotton related industries such as compresses and cotton seed oil companies. The dependence of these industries on the railroad is graphically illustrated on Sanborn maps (1923 and 1931) showing their location next to the tracks.
The Texas and Pacific Passenger Depot (1911) is a two-story brick building located adjacent to the central railroad corridor in the heart of downtown Bunkie.
The ground floor consists of three rooms set in a line. These include a ticket office and separate waiting rooms for white and black passengers. There is also a small area cordoned off which was evidently used for luggage. A corner staircase ascends to the partial second story which appears to have contained offices.
The exterior features a pronounced horizontality with low-hipped roofs and broad spreading eaves. In addition, windows are accented by horizontal concrete bands at the head, sill and transom levels.
The entire building rests on a heavy stuccoed dado. A noteworthy exterior feature is a polygonal bay window set oriel style in the center of the second story on the side facing the tracks. This feature does not appear in a 1915 photograph of the depot, but it must have been installed shortly after that time.
The interior features plaster walls and molded beam ceilings. The surface of the ceilings is sheathed in narrow gauge beaded board. (The walls and ceilings are presently covered with paneling and dropped acoustical tile. Some of the ceiling tiles have been taken down to reveal the original ceiling and wall surfaces.)