Snyder residents fought to the end to save historic structure

Snyder residents fought to the end to save historic structure

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SNYDER, Texas -

A piece of Snyder history will soon lose its spot that it has held for more than a hundred years. The Snyder Santa Fe Depot, which once served as hub of railroad transportation is now on track to be brought down.

Avon Rushing had a job there for two decades.

"I enjoyed my job," he said. "I enjoyed working here. I enjoyed the people that I worked with."

He was a train order and telegraph operator. It closed in 1982 and hasn't been used since.

"It was a help to the city as far as hauling in goods for groceries and furniture things of that nature," Rushing said. 

Exactly a year ago, Paula Hatfield and many others rallied to save the depot after its uncertainty. 

"We are the voice to this building," she said. "And 'till the bitter end, until the wrecking ball gets here we are the voice for this building."

During these 12 months, Austin resident William Osborn spent time and money to have architects and civil engineers look at the depot. He wanted to move it to his compound where he saves and repurposes historic buildings.

Chair of the Scurry County Historical Commission, Drew Bullard, said moving the building just wasn't possible. 

"Transporting the weight of it on the highways, going under bridges, they finally determined it had to be cut up into eight pieces," he said. "And he said it was would just crumble then, and wouldn't be worth saving."

BNSF owns the building, and last year it was on the demolition list.  Bullard said the railroad would have given them the building, but it couldn't stay at the original location.

"Every time we lose a historical building, we lose a part of our history," Hatfield said.

The Architect Louis Curtiss designed four other similar buildings like the one in Snyder. The Lubbock structure burned down, and the one in Sweet water was demolished. The only depot that will remain is the one in Post, which is currently being used as an office. 

Executive director of the Scurry County Museum, Daniel Schlegel, said that many people love the structure. 

"So many people like it, and I can't tell you how many times people come out here and there are people filming it or taking pictures," he said. "A lot of people in town I talked to, love it because it is so unique."

The Scurry County Museum and the commission will now work to document the structure before it is razed.

"We have very little in our collection that relates to trains," Schlegel said. "So, when we try to put it together we rely heavily on the community to bring stuff in, which is great. But we want to be able to save it. So, this way people won't be able to come down here to depot, but with all the exhibits we do have, we can pull all the things out and say here all the things of the Santa Fe or the BNSF."

Even though the actual depot will soon be history,  this group will still continue the fight to make it a permanent part of Snyder history.  A date hasn't been set yet for it to come down.

"This building will always be a part of Snyder," Hatfield said. "This history will always be a part of Snyder."

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