Help Save the Durant Depot

Today’s guest post is by Sharron Cauthen, Chair of the Durant Historic Preservation Commission in Holmes County.

Durant Historic Preservation Commission and City of Durant Work To Preserve Durant Depot (Illinois Central RR)

00durdepotwestvuThis year the Durant Historic Preservation Commission is working with city officials to promote the renovation of the north building (passenger depot) of the Durant Depot. DHPC also seeks help from all the friends and alumni of Durant and the Mississippi preservation community. The Commission has applied for a Mississippi Landmark Grant with MDAH to supplement an application for funds from the Transportation Alternatives Program with MDOT. Durant is a Certified Local Government, and DHPC will also apply for a CLG grant this year. CLG grants require a 50 per cent match. Cash for grant match funds is at the top of the list of DHPC financial planning this year. A small grant from the National Fund for Historic Preservation will be used in 2013 to pay for a preliminary engineering study. Architect Belinda Stewart was contracted in 2012 to provide a preliminary existing facilities study to include with DHPC grant applications.

The Durant Depot, a large brick structure built in 1909 by the Illinois Central Railroad, measures about 276 feet in length by 33 feet in width on the outside, and contains two sections connected with a breezeway. The depot is well suited for renovation because it is built of durable brick and masonry, and is covered with Spanish red tile. Spanish gables on the north and east add a distinctive style. Brick walkways in a herring-bone pattern surround both sections of the depot.

Durant Depot, c.1910 postcard

Durant Depot, c.1910 postcard

In its restoration work on the Durant Depot, DHPC needs two types of assistance. Several Holmes County groups have written letters of support for the depot renovation, and DHPC asks preservation supporters to add to this effort by mailing letters to Sharron Cauthen, DHPC Chairman, 136 Savannah Bend, Madison, MS 39110, or by sending email posts in the contact form below. We will use these letters in asking for approval of our current grant applications with MDAH, MDOT, NFHP, and possibly the National Railway Historical Society and other grant providers.

00durdepot1915

Durant Depot, c.1915, with south freight depot in foreground and passenger dept in background.

DHPC also asks for donations to our restoration fund. Checks can be made out to Durant Historic Preservation Commission and mailed to Durant City Clerk, P. O. Box 272, Durant, MS 39063. Donations in 2012 were used for repair of a bad hole in the tile roof, for painting doors and downspouts, for repair of the basement shed roof, and repair of the wooden facing and supports for the warehouse platform. These repairs will contribute to the stabilization of both the north office section and the south warehouse section. CN Railway was a major 2012 donor to the DHPC Depot Fund, along with BankPlus and other commercial donors and families. DHPC offers subscriptions for inscribed bricks to be placed in a memorial brick walk adjacent to the Durant Depot. For more information please call Sharron Cauthen at 601-826-5429 or Durant City Clerk at 662-653-3314.

Email your Comments to the Durant Historic Preservation Commission below:



Categories: Cool Old Places, Depots, Historic Preservation, Renovation Projects

12 replies

  1. I hope they can restore the Durant depot to it’s former glory soon! I’m happy to see CN Railway was a major donor for 2012, gives me hope that maybe CN is interested in buying the line the Durant depot is on back. Given that the current owner last ran a train through Durant on August 11, 2011.

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  2. The building appears as though it could lend itself to a number of purposes.

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  3. All in Holmes County, the state of Mississippi and beyond should appreciate the potential contribution that the Durant Depot can make as a historic site within which American and Southern history can be communicated. A historically restored depot at Durant offers a venue for sharing with the entire world the rich and diverse history of Mississippi, Holmes and other counties in Mississippi, the city of Durant and other surrounding towns and cities. Members of the Tchula (MS) Attendance Center Class of 1962 (currently S. V. Marshall High School) were priviliged with a tour of the now defunct depot building during their 50-year Reunion in May 2012. Durant Mayor Johnson, Sharron Cauthen and other members of the Durant Historic Preservation Commission (DHPC) hosted the tour for the group. Many alums in the group (comprised of individuals from throughout the nation) recalled during the tour having migrated or traveled through the Durant Depot to points North, South, East and West. Realizing the historical potential of this restoration effort, these alums individually and collectively made donations to the DHPC to support the depot’s restoration. Further, the group individually and collectively vowed to provide support for this cause in the future. We ask that other alums of all races, creeds and religious persuasions follow the lead of the Class of 1962 and assist the DHPC in this important historical restoration and preservation effort.

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    • Sylvia, I need to speak with you. You wrote a piece in 1991 about holmes county entitled Educating a Southern rural community : the case of blacks in Holmes County, Mississippi. You spoke of my great great grandparents, Benjamin and Silva (Sylvia Buck Hoover. I would like to know more about what you found out about them. Please get in touch with me. I can only hope.

      Benjamin and Sylvia’s daughter was Mary Bacon whose daughter was Madeline Bacon, whose is Jacqueline Hubbard whose son is me.

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    • Sylvia Reedy Gist,

      I would be very interested in reading your 1991 article about “Educating a Southern Rural Community: The case of Blacks in Holmes County, Mississippi.” If your article is still available how may I obtain a copy?

      Richard Darnell

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  4. I am moving to Durant MS and I noticed the train depot and I would like to help raise money for its restoration. My only question Is, what could the train station be used for?

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