In late January, the Texas Historical Commissionannounced that the Longview, Texas depot has been named a Recorded Texas Historical Landmark (RTHL). This designation indicates that a property is at least 50 years old and historically and architecturally significant to the state. There are more than 3,600 RTHL, and the list includes nationally significant landmarks such as the Alamo, as well as Dallas Union Station, El Paso Union Depot and other railroad-related properties.
The Longview depot opened in May 1940 and was designed in the popular Colonial Revival style. Features include stylized quoins, a brick cornice and grey stone trim used to highlight the coping, keystones and lintels. The gabled one-and-a-half story central block originally contained passenger areas such as the waiting room and ticket office. To the east, a long one story extension included baggage and freight rooms.
Following years of negotiations with the Union Pacific Railroad, the city bought the depot and obtained a 20 year lease for the land in 2009 for approximately $129,000. Amid much fanfare, the title transfer took place the next year during Longview’s National Train Day celebration.
The city is transforming the building into a multimodal transportation center that will serve Amtrak, intercity and local buses, shuttles, and taxis; an existing UP communications center will be retained. It could also house a visitors’ center and museum, community conference room and offices. As part of the project, an open-air waiting room and dormers will be restored to take the building back to its original appearance.
Work began in early 2013 and should be finished in time for a dedication in May 2014 to coincide with National Train Day. City officials believe that the rehabilitated depot will spark renewed interest in the surrounding area and thereby encourage economic development in south Longview.