HENDERSON UNION STATION HAS INTERESTING HISTORY
Many Employees Trained Under Agent L. W. Rogers Now Occupy Positions Of Influence In Several States
Through the portals of the Henderson Union Station pass daily all classes and kinds of people. Human interest stories, in a constantly unfolding drama, follow each other like vague and disconnected portions of a dream. Youth and age, rich and poor, the learned and the illiterate, in a never-ending but incessant stream, are on review.
STATION 20 YEARS OLD
Twenty years ago the commodious and well-equipped station was opened to the public. Prior to that time when Hendersonians traveled it was at three different points of the city that trains could be boarded. As business expanded and the city grew in population and importance the companies operating through here planned to build one central station.
The site of the present station when purchased was a depression, which was later filled in the required depth. When it was dedicated and thrown open to the public on July 1, 1902, the three stations then in use were abandoned. The buildings were either utilized for other purposes by the various companies or the materials dismantled and rebuilt elsewhere.
THREE SEPARATE STATIONS
The L&N station was at Fourth and Adams streets. Part of the old depot is now the residence of the yard foreman, W. C. Edmondson, and after the lapse of years is still in use. The Illinois Central and Henderson Route stations were near together, at a point where the I. C. freight house now stands.
The cost of the Union Station was about $25,000 and that was at a time when labor and materials were much cheaper than now. The contract was let to a Henderson firm, Bailey & Koerner, and the result of their skill stands as a monument through the years.
LONG IN SERVICE
Three employees have been on duty continuously since the opening, and after twenty years, with faculties unimpaired, minds alert, ever on the watch that they may render service commensurate with the importance of the positions occupied, the public meets them without a thought of the history involved.
W. Rogers, who was the first ticket agent in the new station twenty years ago, is the ticket agent now. Age has dealt kindly with him. But few gray hairs are observed and it is only on rare occasions, when he has dropped into reminiscences that he will consent to tell some stories of his experience.
SONS ARE TRAINED
Of his three sons, all have at times sold tickets under his direction, although none of them are employed at the local station.
John C., the youngest, alone remains in Henderson, and he is now principal of the Barret High School. Fred T., another son, after serving as apprenticeship under his “dad” abandoned railroad work for a college professorship in the medical department of Baylor University at Dallas, Texas. William B., the third, remains loyal to his first love, and in the Union Depot at Akron, Ohio, sells tickets to thousands of visitors to the hustling Northern city.
Eliza Marshall, colored, matron and Shelton Harvery, colored, baggage man, have length of service equal to that of Agent Rogers, as they were members of the first force to operate the Union Station.
The complete list of original employees is a follows: L. W. Rogers, ticket agent; A. S. (Smith) Logsdon and G. A. Littell, ticket sellers; William Crowe and Shelton Harvery, baggage men; John Harvey, porter, and Eliza Marshall, matron.
The lunch room was opened in August 1902, within a month after the first ticket was sold in the new station. Louis Amiet was the first manager, continuing in that position until a few years ago.
The first telegraph operators were: G. D. Blevens and G. D. Legler.
24 PASSENGER TRAINS
When opened for business, the amount of money handled each month was about $5,000. Now this has increased many times over. From a few trains, the traffic now demands 24 passenger trains daily.
Smith Logsdon, of the force twenty years ago, is now in business at Fort Worth, Texas and operator Legler, his co-worker, general agent, for the M. K. & T. railway in Texas.
The following is a list of the employees now at the station: L. W. Rogers, ticket agent; J. B. Goad and Mack Hunter, ticket clerks; Shelton Harvey, colored, baggage man; Ben Hardisty, baggage man; Walter Evans, colored, baggage man; Sam Powell and Charles Ray, porters; Eliza Marshall, matron; C. D. Day, H. L. Eades and W. G. Marinner, telegraph operators.
Operator Day has a record for service rarely equaled. He began railroad work for the Evansville Henderson & Nashville railroad, the first name of the L&N in 1872, and remained two years as agent and operator at Bakers, Tennessee and when the road was taken over by a new company, the St. Louis & Southwestern, in 1874, Day resigned. He returned to railroad work in 1876, and was sent to Crofton, Christian County, where he remained 28 years and 5 months, his term of service extending from July 1, 1876 to December 1, 1904, when he was sent to Henderson, which has since been his home. His half century of railroad life has been spent within the confines of the states of Tennessee and Kentucky, and scarcely more than one hundred miles apart are the most distant stations.
Three different companies have been in ownership of this transportation line since he first became connected with it. Known first as the Evansville, Henderson & Nashville from 1872 to 1874, when it was changed to the St. Louis & Southwestern. Then in 1879 the road became the property of the Louisville & Nashville Railroad Company, which has remained the owner since.
MANY BOYS TRAINED
In the twenty years here Agent Rogers has trained many young men who now hold lucrative and responsible positions elsewhere. Most of them are in railroad work, but some have changed to other lines of activity.
Among those who have gone out into the world from the Henderson Union Station are:
William Crowe, baggage man at the opening of the station, now in the police department of the L&N at Evansville.
Mrs. Mattie Rogers has been a valuable assistant to her husband, and at rush occasions throughout the twenty years has sold tickets at the window.
Among former employees now dead are: Higgerson Riley, son of J. C. Riley, city; Walter Bottoms, Henderson and F. M. Morris of Osage, Kansas.
The present location of the following are unknown to Mr. Rogers: J. F. Shuttleworth, O. L. Gorby, J. C. Redmond, David Murray, Chas. H. Genische, O. M. Powers, Bert Chamberlain, Melvin Barker, H. R. McKelligan and R. L. Adcock.
In the switch tower adjoining the Union Station, where they watch over the passing of the trains are: H. P. Willett, foreman; Thomas Flaherty, lever man, and W. P. Mitchell and W. M. Keller.
A unique record spanning a quarter of a century is that of Lever man Flaherty. He has been on duty continuously since February 1898. Sundays included, during which time he has not been out of the county or on a train.
All employees of the Union Station work seven days a week. They don't know anything about vacations with pay, such favors as are enjoyed by men engaged in other vocations.
Contributed by Netta Mullin, HCH&GS
Copyright 2007 HCH&GS