Quanah, Acme and Pacific Depot, Quanah Texas

Date added: October 7, 2022 Categories: Texas Train Station

Although created in 1858, Hardeman County, located on the Red River in northwest Texas, remained unsettled throughout the Civil War and Reconstruction periods, primarily due to occupation by hostile Indians and lack of transportation through the hilly terrain. Prior to the mid-1880s, buffalo hunters and a few ranchers were the only white settlers in the area. The Fort Worth and Denver Railroad surveyed the county in 1885 and laid out a townsite for Quanah, named for Quanah Parker, the last war chief of the Comanches. The first town lot was sold in 1886 and by 1890, when the Fort Worth and Denver Railroad went through, the town boasted a population of 1500.

On July 12, 1902, the Acme, Red River, and Northern Railroad was chartered to run from Acme to Red River, connecting the plaster plant at Acme with the Fort Worth and Denver and Frisco Railroads. Plaster from the gypsum plants in Hardeman County was used in the construction of the Columbian Exhibition at Chicago in 1893 and the Louisiana Purchase Exhibition in St. Louis in 1903. In 1909 a decision was made to extend the railroad line westward to provide much needed transportation facilities for the population. In that same year, the name of the railroad was changed to the Quanah, Acme, and Pacific. The terrain caused difficulties in the construction of the railroad which crossed three rivers and climbed Cap Rock. During its early years, the railroad was a profitable enterprise, providing passenger and freight service to the county. The construction of highways in the 1930s created a decline in rail usage and today the Quanah, Acme, and Pacific trackage is being considered for abandonment.

The Quanah, Acme, and Pacific Depot constructed in Quanah in 1909 was used as a passenger depot as well as a headquarters for the Railroad. Prominently located one block west of Main Street beside the tracks, the building is a fine example of the Spanish Colonial Revival style. This attention to style is indicative of the importance of the railroad to the community and surrounding areas.

Building Description

The Quanah, Acme, and Pacific Depot, built in 1909 in Quanah, Texas is recognized as an impressive example of the Spanish Colonial Revival style, a popular building mode in the southwest during the early 20th century. Located one block west of Main Street in downtown Quanah, the depot is sited adjacent to and immediately south of the original main line of the Quanah, Acme, and Pacific Railroad. Designed by C. H. Page and Brothers of Austin, the plan of the building is arranged in a simple cross-axis configuration with connecting walls and towers enclosing usable space at the axis intersections. The irregular massing and roofline of the building, enhanced with stucco and contrasting red roof tiles, affords picturesque facades of architectural elements in simple combinations.

Aligned with a north-to-south and east-to-west orientation, the axes form a central projecting bay on each facade. These two story bays are terminated with a curvilinear gable and miniature towers. The east facade, facing Mercer Street, is considered the front of the building with the main entrance centered on the ground floor of the gabled bay. The single door entrance is accentuated with a one story projecting portico covered with a low-pitch hipped roof with exposed rafters supported by arches springing from round piers. Flanking this bay at the point where it intersects the north/south axis are three story, squared towers with tiled, pyramidal roofs overhanging inset supporting walls. The axial intersections of the west bay are enclosed with walls which create a hexagonal effect on the west end of the building. Projecting from the west bay is a single story room with hipped roof that housed the baggage/freight functions of the railroad. Fenestration of the building consists of twelve-over-one light windows appearing as singles on the second and third floor levels of the towers, and in groups of three and four on both levels of the projecting bays and angled walls. A single story wing projects from the southwest side of the building and is thought to have been added shortly after completion.

A two story rotunda is formed on the interior of the building where the axes cross. This space served as a passenger waiting area with the station agent's office, ticket counter, freight and baggage room, and president and treasurer's offices surrounding it. The second floor housed the general offices for the Quanah, Acme, and Pacific Railroad.

The building has been converted to a museum.

Quanah, Acme and Pacific Depot, Quanah Texas East elevation from postcard (1920)
East elevation from postcard (1920)

Quanah, Acme and Pacific Depot, Quanah Texas Northeast sides (1960)
Northeast sides (1960)

Quanah, Acme and Pacific Depot, Quanah Texas East elevation (1975)
East elevation (1975)

Quanah, Acme and Pacific Depot, Quanah Texas Southeast sides (1975)
Southeast sides (1975)

Quanah, Acme and Pacific Depot, Quanah Texas West elevation (1975)
West elevation (1975)

Quanah, Acme and Pacific Depot, Quanah Texas North elevation (1975)
North elevation (1975)