This picture of the truck, laden with the old Anna train depot on its trailer, is materiel proof that the depot restoration project has become a reality. The following story is a detailed description of how the depot was reclaimed and brought back to its permanent home.
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Compiled by Relda Beall, Linda O’Neal and Betty Morriss for AAHPS, September 27, 2017
The Houston & Texas Central Railroad came through the area in 1872. By 1883 twenty residents had moved to what eventually became Anna. The Depot was built in 1885. For many years the Depot saw a great deal of freight pass over its platform. Some of the items shipped out of Anna were an abundance of Johnson grass hay and large bales of cotton.
Because of the railroad and the depot, Anna had a new spurt of growth. The first depot agent was Andrew Sherley. In the 1930’s Charles Darwood was the depot agent. The last agent was Milton Cadenhead. The railroad closed the depot in the early 1960’s. For a number of years it remained in its original spot on the west side of the track near the downtown crossing.
Several years later, Lewis “Nip” Roberts, a business man in Anna approached the railroad authorities and inquired as to their plans for the depot. Their plan was to tear it down. He asked them about buying it to use as a hay barn. The railroad agreed he could have it, if he would move it off the property. He quickly took them up on the offer and moved the depot to his farm land west of town. The land was located approximately two miles west of Highway 5 on the south side of County Road 455. This move happened in the late 1960’s. The depot served as a barn for many years.
The “Anna Area Historical Preservation Society” was established on February 12, 2004. Its purposes (as filed in the Articles of Incorporation in the office of the Texas Secretary of State) are as follows:
-to encourage the preservation of historical, cultural, ethnic, and artistic places, things and events in Anna, Texas and surrounding area
-to encourage and document careful and accurate research into the history of Anna, Texas and surrounding area
-to provide for dissemination of knowledge of the heritage of Anna, Texas and surrounding area
-to provide a suitable place for collection of all types of objects of art and objects of value (A repository)
The members of the Society were very interested in the preservation of the depot. They knew the depot was in jeopardy as the land where it sat was destined for development. Therefore they inquired about the possibility of having the Society buy the depot. The land-owner donated the building to the Society and AAHPS began plans to have it moved. In April of 2006, Jan Miller, President of the Society, contacted an Anna native, Tom Miller about moving it. The depot was moved by Miller Movers on November 8 ,2007, to its temporary location on the property of Bently Powell. On May 8, 2018 the depot was moved to its permanent location in the Sherley Heritage Park.
Ultimately the new attraction at Sherley Heritage Park will include the restored Anna Texas Depot, a statue of Collin McKinney, a fully restored circa 1900 locomotive and tender, a replica of the Collin McKinney Anna home, and a large open air pavilion for social events. It is still difficult for our members accept that all of this is actually happening.
Below is a plat of the ongoing Sherley Park / Anna Depot project.
Pictured below right are Maurice Schwanke (Anna Parks Department) and AAHPS member Gary Hughes (in red cap) summer 2018.
How the depot looked in November 2007 when it was stored on
Bently Powell’s property
How it looked in late December 2018 with restoration ongoing
Signage on site