History of the Flora Depot
The Flora Depot was built by the Vandalia Railroad (Pennsylvania Railroad) carpenter crew on the east side of the tracks between Columbia and Main Streets. It cost $10,000 and opened April 20, 1908. W.O. Brown was the first station agent.
On June 18 at 12:34 p.m., Vandalia Freight #160 lost a
drawbar while passing the Flora Depot. Ten cars derailed,
two of which hit the Depot and caused $3000 in damages.
It was repaired and renovated.
Robert A. Clark, who started as a clerk in 1919, became the station agent in 1940. He retired in 1962.
In its heyday, eight passenger trains stopped in Flora daily.
Robert Clark's granddaughter, Kay Viney, was the last passenger to board a train at the Flora Depot on May 23, 1958 after which the Interstate Commerce Commission discontinued passenger service to Flora.
The Town of Flora purchased the land where the Depot stood (now the town parking lot). Fred Collins purchased the Depot. Helvie House Movers moved it to 411 S. Sycamore Street. Charlie and Doris Monroe converted it into a coin-operated laundromat and dry cleaners.
Mike and Ann Fletcher of Delphi purchased the business.
Mike and Ann Fletcher purchased the Depot building.
On June 21 a customer loaded gas-soaked items into a washer. The washer exploded as it began to operate and by 6:15 p.m. the Depot was engulfed in flames.
The Depot stood vacant for many years. Periodically there was interest in saving the Depot, but no efforts were initiated.
Despite its condition, a great deal of historic fabric remained. It was listed as a Notable example of the Queen Anne style of transportation architecture in the Indiana Historic Sites and Structures Inventory produced, in part, by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources and Indiana Landmarks.
The Carroll County Historical Society (CCHS) entered into a contract with the owner to purchase the Depot for $1.00. They plan to move the structure to Delphi and must do so within one year. The contract would expire Sept. 15, 2013 after which the Depot could be demolished as part of site development if not moved.
The Flora Community Club (FCC) inquired about progress CCHS had made in moving the Depot. In May FCC learned CCHS no longer had plans to move the Depot.
FCC moved quickly to investigate ways to salvage the Depot.
A public meeting was held and options discussed.
Information was presented to the Flora Town Council at their August 12 meeting. The Council committed funds to dismantle and store the Depot, and for site clean-up. The site owner agreed to allow more time for the Depot’s removal.
Grant funds were applied for to develop a restoration plan. Architect Dann Keiser (Cornerstone Design) agreed to begin work while waiting for funding and prepared a de-construction plan that would salvage all usable materials, and allow for proper reconstruction at some point.
Volunteers, led by Curt Hufty, worked several weekends in November and December to remove and wrap interior boards, and remove the roof.
D-K Construction completed the deconstruction on December 13. Sections were placed on a trailer.
The Depot sections and salvaged materials were stored in a town maintenance building on December 28.
FCC was awarded grants from the Carroll County Community Foundation and Indiana Landmarks (Endangered Places Grant) to develop a restoration plan. The Flora Depot was to be reconstructed on a site owned by the Town of Flora directly across the tracks from where it originally stood near the downtown.
The restoration plan was completed in July. It showed a project to be completed in five phases.
The Flora Depot Committee (part of FCC) put plans on hold while waiting for information from U.S. Rail Corporation regarding future developments that would have an impact on the placement of the depot. When the information was received, the site plan was revised.
The Town of Flora signed a Memorandum of Understanding with FCC allowing the use of two lots west of the train tracks for the depot reconstruction project. The deconstructed depot sections became the property of FCC.
Requests for Proposals were advertised in order to determine what the exterior reconstruction and restoration (Phase I) would cost. A bid meeting was held on April 16 at the Flora Public Library.
Proposals were received and reviewed.
The Flora Depot Restoration Project is named a Legacy Project by the Indiana Bicentennial Commission.
Flora Main Street is notified that the Flora Depot Restoration Project has been awarded a North Central Health Services (NCHS) Capital Grant in the amount of $150,625.92 for the reconstruction and restoration of the exterior of the Flora Depot.
Two years after the successful deconstruction and storage of the depot, ground is broken on December 18 at a ceremony on the site attended by 35 people representing the Carroll Co. Chamber, Carroll Co. EDC, Flora Town Council, Flora Community Club, Flora Main Street, Camden-Flora Rail Corridor Commission, U.S. Rail Corporation, Winamac & Southern Railroad, Wabash & Erie Canal Association, Heartland Heritage, Inc, Carroll Co. Historical Society, Cornerstone Design, Summer Chase Construction, and several interested citizens (and one poodle).
Phase I of the project is nearing completion (Restoration Project). A Request for Proposals for Phase II was advertised, and a pre-bid meeting was held on June 17. The Flora Depot Committee is seeking funding for Phase II.
Phase I of the project was completed.
History of the Roadbed: Logansport Crawfordsville & Southwestern Railroad, by Lee Appleton, is endorsed as a Legacy Project by the Indiana Bicentennial Commission.
For project progress and updates go to Restoration Project.
What's next for the Depot?
Flora Community Club envisions the Depot serving as a local history museum and railroad transportation education center. The Depot will be a destination for tourists visiting Adams Mill near Cutler, The American House in Burlington, and Wabash & Erie Canal Interpretive Center and Delphi Opera House in Delphi.
The activities of the Camden-Flora Rail Corridor Commission and U.S. Rail Corporation will bring exciting opportunities in the form of train festivals and train excursions.
The Depot will play an important part in the revitalization of Flora and the development of county tourism.