In 1897, the Kansas City Southern (KCS) Railroad completed its track through DeQuincy and the first depot was built on this site. The line descended southward from Shreveport through Leesville and DeRidder and forked at DeQuincy with one route going south to lake Charles and the other toward Beaumont and Port Arthur. This fork became the original town site of DeQuincy.
In the early 1920’s the railroad company began a building campaign during which several stations along the KCS line in western Louisiana were either rebuilt or remodeled with varying degrees of Mission Revival features. The DeQuincy depot was completely rebuilt in 1923, and is now home to the DeQuincy Railroad Museum. The annual Louisiana Railroad Days Festival is held on the museum grounds on the second weekend in April.
The 1923 Kansas City Southern Depot is important in the area of architecture at the state level as one of the most significant and intact structures of its type in Louisiana. It is an outstanding example of Mission Revival architecture.
The two-story building, which is practically a textbook example of its style, is characterized by the following elements:
- Stucco walls.
- Red Spanish tile roof.
- Round arched windows and arcade.
- Curvilinear gable parapets with copings of red tile.
- Wide overhanging eaves with exposed rafters and heavy brackets.
Other original exterior features include brick wainscoting, “medallions”, and urns with finial tops on the two major parapets.
The interior consists of an office flanked on one side by a waiting room and an arcaded patio and on the other by a second waiting room and a baggage room. Both waiting rooms retain their tile floors, plaster walls, brick wainscoting, and ticket windows. The open patio area is completely original with its cement floor and brick stringcourse forming the top of the built-in cement benches. The two upstairs rooms were used as an office for railroad officials and as a train dispatching area.
On National Register
The building is on the National Register of Historic Places and is owned by the City of DeQuincy.
The architecture of the railroad stations in Louisiana ranged from grand Neo-Classical and Beaux Arts styles in the major cities to modest board and batten structures in smaller towns, many of which were literally created by the coming of the railroad.
Today a fair number of railroad depots remain in Louisiana. Most of these, however, are architecturally undistinguished village depots and are only locally important as reminders of the importance of the railroad in a particular town’s history. Urban depots of the period were much larger buildings and had more than just a single story. Moreover, they were not just random collections of standard decorative features placed on a frame shed. they were consistently articulated with the vocabulary of a recognized historical style of architecture.
Besides the DeQuincy depot, only two other urban depots (as defined above) are known to be extant in Louisiana: the Central Station in Shreveport and the Yazoo and Mississippi Valley Station in Baton Rogue. The Baton Rogue depot is a handsome Neo-Classical building Mission Revival style, but is relatively plain with only a single-story shaped pavilion and only one archway.
By contrast, the DeQuincy depot has numerous arches, four shaped gable pavilions (two of which are two stories), and finial urns. Moreover, each of the two story pavilions has a recessed facade with its own curvilinear top that echoes the shaped gable. This gives the building a much richer sculptural effect. Based upon the foregoing, it is reasonable to state that, of the three large urban depots remaining in Louisiana, the DeQuincy depot is the finest.