MP Warrensburg Depot

Also known as: Warrensburg Amtrak Station
100 S Holden St, Warrensburg, Missouri

Historic Amtrak Station

Map 

Description 

From Amtrak's Great American Stations:

"Opened to service in December 1889, the Warrensburg depot has been a steady presence in the lives of numerous generations of townspeople. Composed of the original one-story structure plus a later addition erected to the west, the depot was built with light grey sandstone quarried north of town. The walls of coursed, rock-faced ashlar give the building a strong textural quality; as the sun passes over the surface, it creates an evolving pattern of light and shadow. The third course from the ground protrudes slightly to form a water table at the level of the window sills.

The original building is divided into four distinct parts. A central pavilion is flanked by smaller, identical recessed wings that draw attention to the height of the pavilion. Attached to the western wing is another slightly smaller volume that features a classical, tripartite thermal or “Diocletian” window. The central pavilion is marked by prominent gabled bays on the track and street facades. Each bay is punctuated by three ground floor windows capped by a tripartite ventilation screen that mimics the look of a thermal window. The round arch of the louvered screen is accentuated by a band of stones while the wall surface below the screen is decorated with a run of stones in which every other block is recessed. Coping executed in smooth, finished sandstone caps each gable. Projecting onto the platform, the trackside central bay has windows on all three sides that would have allowed the station master to look out and monitor traffic along the rails.

The wings are topped by hipped roofs that intersect the steeply pitched roof of the central pavilion. On the east façade, two projections on the upper wall are most likely the remnants of tall chimneys which once rose above the roofline but were removed by the 1950s. A canopy supported by large brackets runs the length of the platform and serves to protect waiting passengers from inclement weather. In 1984, the depot was enlarged by the addition of a low, narrow baggage room on the west end of the building. It was clad in a stone veneer that approximates the sandstone of the original depot but shows clear distinctions in color and pattern. As the canopy extends along this addition, it widens substantially and sports a shallow gabled roof held up by posts with brackets.

Overall, the use of large, rock-faced stones and prominent arched openings recall the work of Henry Hobson Richardson, a Boston architect known for an oeuvre characterized by squat, compact buildings usually constructed with unfinished stone in dark red, tan, brown, and gray hues. The asymmetrical compositions were often pierced by deep-set, round arches reminiscent of Medieval Romanesque structures found in Europe; polychrome decoration was also a common feature. Richardson’s work would influence a generation of architects practicing in the late 19th century.

The exterior of the depot has not changed greatly over the last century except for the removal of chimneys and the conversion of the arched eastern window into a doorway sometime in the 1930s or 1940s. Although the interior space was remodeled in the 1960s to include new light fixtures and flooring, by 1972 the station was closed to the public. A decade later, the Warrensburg Chamber of Commerce formed a “Depot Renovation Group” to investigate the possibility of restoring the depot to accommodate its offices and a passenger waiting room.

The group raised $300,000 in part by selling a limited edition print of the depot created by a local artist; Chamber members also dressed up in period railroad clothing to attract attention to the history of the structure. The depot was rededicated in 1990 and the Chamber of Commerce office and the Amtrak waiting room opened for business in 1992. The Visitors’ Bureau later moved in and the western addition was transformed into a meeting space available to civic and business groups. Routine maintenance is necessary for any historic structure and therefore the Depot Renovation Group remains active."

Update Log 

  • November 14, 2019: Added by Nathan Hopper

Sources 

  • Nathan