Our Town Quitman: Historic Renovation

By: Stephen Bowers Email
By: Stephen Bowers Email

The historic train depot in Quitman lies along the train tracks that run down the western side of downtown Quitman.

"Quitman was built around the railroad. Long years ago, that was the mode of transportation," said Quitman volunteer, Helen Ann Beeman.

It was built in the decades following the Civil War, and nearly 100 years later, two locals in Quitman spoke of ideas to restore the depot.

Of course, for a small town in Mississippi, there would be problems finding the money to fund this kind of project. Lucky for Quitman, a mayor was elected in the early 1990s who wanted the project to happen.

His name was Sam Box, and he started a search for grants to make the restoration happen. He found a grant, but it came with a challenge. The community had to raise matching.

So people started finding ways to raise money. Projects included flea markets and luncheons and other events. Ultimately, Quitman was able to raise $93,000.

"The whole restoration was a community effort," said Beeman. "When we got the ball rolling, people from other towns came in to help us with the fundraising. It was something that brought the community together."

Beeman said some saw the restoration as a waste of time.

"If you look at these pictures, you can see where we started here. They said 'you'll save money by striking a match'," said Beeman.

Well they didn't strike a match. They kept the project rolling and eventually it was completed.

"We finally dedicated it March 26, 2001," said Beeman.

Now the depot holds art from local painters, all framed with the original wood from the depot, which serves as a gathering place.

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