Skip to main content

Apopka Seaboard Air Line Railway Depot

Apopka Seaboard Air Line Railroad Depot, 1960s

Apopka Seaboard Air Line Railway Depot, ca. 1960s.

Located at 36 East Station Street in Apopka, the Apopka Seaboard Air Line Railway Depot is a historic Seaboard Air Line (SAL) Railroad depot that was built in 1918 to serve a line that had been used by the Tavares, Orlando, and Gulf (TO&A) Railroad since 1885.[1] Like many nineteenth century southern cities and towns, the city of Apopka experienced a population and economic boom following the construction of railroad lines throughout the region. Backed by Henry Sanford, the South Florida Railroad was completed in 1882, connecting Sanford to Kissimmee. Henry Plant acquired the line in 1883 and incorporated it into the Plant System, which was a system of railroads, steamships and hotels that operated from 1860 to 1902 in south, central and coastal Georgia with lines extending down into Port Tampa and Punta Gorda, Florida.[2] The Plant System was purchased by the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad in 1902.[3] Seaboard Air Line Railway emerged July 1, 1900, when various railroads were tied together by constructing connecting lines, stretching from Virginia to Florida.[4]

Apopka Seaboard Air Line Railroad Depot, 1988

Apopka Seaboard Air Line Railway Depot in 1988.

Apopka Seaboard Air Line Railroad Depot

Apopka Seaboard Air Line Railway Depot in 2014.

The second of two stations in the downtown Apopka area, the original brick structure was constructed by the TO&A Railroad in 1887, along with a hotel located between Park and Central Avenues. The brick depot was destroyed in a tornado in early 1918, and a wooden replacement depot was constructed later that year.[5] Less ornate that its predecessor, the Seaboard Railway Depot was constructed with pine wood and consisted of a freight bay and two passenger waiting areas. The line was typically used to transport freight from citrus growers, turpentine harvesting and logging. As the city grew, the railroads increased passenger service. In 1928, new SAL agent F.E. Henry formed the Apopka Warehouse Company, which offered a local dray service.[6] The station continued to serve as both a freight and passenger depot until 1938, when passenger service became inadequate due to the advent of the automobile.[7] To relieve passenger demand, a bus route to larger depots was established, and this method continued to be used until the 1960s. The building was then used for storage by the owner of a nearby meat market, until city codes forced him out.[8] After being sold, the building was renovated and used as a warehouse. The structure was placed on the National Register of Historic Places on March 15, 1993.[9] In 2010, a proposal was made to relocate the depot to a more solid foundation.

Apopka Seaboard Air Line Railroad Depot

Apopka Seaboard Air Line Railway Depot in 2014.

[1] Michael Mulligan, Railroad Depots of Central Florida (Charleston, SC: Arcadia Publishing, 2008), 63.

[2] Gregg M. Turner, A Journey into Florida Railroad History (Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2008), 124-126; Gregg M. Turner and Seth H. Bramson, The Plant System of Railroads, Steamships and Hotels (Laurys Station, PA: Garrigues House, Publishers, 2004), 47.

[3] Mulligan, Railroad Depots of Central Florida, 9.

[4] Ibid. 63.

[5] Shofner, Jerrell H. History of Apopka and Northwest Orange County, Florida. [Tallahassee, Fla.]: [Sentry Press], 1982, 154.

[6] Ibid. 180.

[7] Ibid. 221.

[8] Ibid. 71-74.

[9] Mulligan, Railroad Depots of Central Florida, 66.