Laurel, MS (LAU)
Located in the Mississippi Pine Belt, Laurel was established in 1882 and flourished with the lumber industry. The historic 1913 depot includes a waiting room and community meeting space.
230 North Maple Street
Laurel, MS 39440
Annual Station Ridership (2016): 3,575
- Facility Ownership: City of Laurel
- Parking Lot Ownership: City of Laurel
- Platform Ownership: Norfolk Southern Railway
- Track Ownership: Norfolk Southern Railway
For information about Amtrak fares and schedules, please call 1-800-USA-RAIL (1-800-872-7245).
Restoration of the Laurel depot came about as a collaboration between the city of Laurel and Leadership Jones County, a community-based service group. Leadership Jones County petitioned the city to obtain the station facility from Norfolk Southern Railway. When the city took it over in 1994, the structure was sound, but the interior significantly decayed. The building was open to vandalism and considered an eyesore at that time.
Restoration of this 1913 brick structure included functional redesign of the existing rooms and adding a waiting area, replicating and repairing as many of the historic characteristics as possible. The original terrazzo floor in the main room was restored, turn-of-the-century style light fixtures were installed, and the original wooden benches repaired. The building now serves as not only a working passenger station but also as a community meeting place. Rehabilitation was completed in 1998, and the next year the project won an award of excellence from the Mississippi Heritage Trust.
Located in the southeast region of Mississippi known as the Pine Belt, Laurel was established in 1882 and first flourished during the growth of the timber industry in that region. Three families, the Eastmans, Gardiners, and Rogers came from Iowa to settle in Jones County in the small town emerging from a lumber camp, and named for the flowering shrub abundant in the forests there. In the early twentieth century, oil and poultry replaced lumber as the main product of the area. Manufacturing in the region is now considerably more diversified.
However, the wood industry in Laurel received a needed boost when in 1924; William Mason of Laurel invented a process for steam-pressing wood chips into sheets, now known worldwide as Masonite. Production began in 1929 and Masonite is still produced in Jones County today. Masonite is used in construction, especially in high-end renovations, among many other uses, including the manufacture of skateboards, and as a base for fine art paintings and illustrations used for book covers.
In 1942, oil was discovered in Laurel, and today there are more than 150 companies providing regional service for oil and gas drillers. Laurel has been the birthplace of several celebrities, including Lance Bass of the pop group NSYNC, actors Ray Walston and Parker Posey, and Olympic gold medalist Ralph Boston. Laurel was also the childhood home of world-renowned opera legend Leontyne Price.
Laurel is also home to the Lauren Rogers Museum of Art, which opened in 1923 as a memorial to a son of one of the founding families, and was established as a public library, museum, art gallery and educational institution. It houses a significant art history library, as well as works by such noteworthy American artists as Winslow Homer, Albert Bierstadt, Frederick Kensett, John Singer Sargent and Mary Cassatt. The Museum also houses a collection of fine European paintings, as well as 142 Japanese Ukiyo-e woodblock prints from the 18th and 19th centuries.
Amtrak does not provide ticketing or baggage services at this facility, which is served by two daily trains.
- 10 Short Term Parking Spaces
- 2 Long Term Parking Spaces
- Accessible Payphones
- Accessible Platform
- Accessible Restrooms
- Accessible Waiting Room
- Dedicated Parking
- Enclosed Waiting Area
- Wheelchair Lift