Today we begin a series based on the Mississippi entries from the 1976 document A Nation in Motion: Historic American Transportation Sites. The informal compilation sprang from a 1973 suggestion by the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation to the United States Department of Transportation. Its purpose was not to be a definitive listing of significant transportation sites, but rather a collection of information on nationally significant transportation-related sights that might be considered for inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places. There were a total of five separate entries for Mississippi. We’ll take a look at each item and see what their status is today. This may give us some insight as to how effective this type of document is. This is the first of the series reviewing the Mississippi entries in the Department of Transportation’s A Nation in Motion: Historic American Transportation Sites.
Mississippi Circa 1836: The Office and Banking-House of the West Feliciana Railroad Company was built in Woodville around 1836, although the company had received baking privileges from the State in 1831. The West Feliciana Railroad ran through the Louisiana parish of the same name from St. Francisville on the Mississippi River to Woodville, a distance of some 20 miles. The first railroad to operate in the Mississippi Valley, the West Feliciana was a joint venture of Mississippi and Louisiana planters seeking a more efficient means of transporting their cotton to the Mississippi River. In 1848, the West Feliciana charged 50 cents per hundred pounds for freight and 75 cents, or 3.1 cents per mile, for passengers. This was the fifth railroad to begin operation in the United States and was the first to use standard gauge track. It is still in operation today.
Outcome: It appears that the structure was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1977 shortly after the report was published. Click here to see the original nomination form. If you were involved with this structure at the time please fill us in on what you remember!
Current status: The structure houses a museum operated by the Woodville Civic Club. The building was most recently rehabilitated in 2002. Judging by the 2010 photograph from the MDAH HRI database the structure still looks like it has an active museum. Have you been to the museum? If so share your thoughts about the building with us in the comments section.