Pensacola, FL, Pensacola Subdivision, MP 916.5

Discussion in 'Depots G-P' started by High_Iron, Jul 10, 2010.

  1. High_Iron

    High_Iron Member

    I'm a model railroader and ex-Missouri Pacific brakeman from Houston who has been researching the Missouri Pacific passenger station in Brownsville, Texas. I recently became aware of the Frisco passenger station in Pensacola. The structures are so markedly similar that it cannot be by accident. Especially the stonework around the entryways of the two buildings, which are virtually identical right down to almost every nook and cranny. The MP station was designed by noted San Antonio architect Robert Bertrum Kelly. (His middle name sometimes is spelled "Bertram".) My research has disclosed he only designed one railroad station and confined his designs to south Texas, but that could be in error. There has to be some kind of connection between the two stations. The most likely to me is that Kelly did consulting work for the company that designed the Frisco Pensacola station. I am interested in any information on the Frisco Passenger station, particularly if it sheds a light on this similarity between the two stations. Note the similarity in the accompanying photo of the MP station and a photo of the Frisco station already posted on your website.

    Attached Files:

    FriscoCharlie likes this.
  2. The MoPac's line to Brownsville was originally built in 1903-04 by the St. Louis, Brownsville & Mexico, which was controlled by the Frisco. After the Frisco ran into financial trouble in the 'teens, it lost control of this line, and the MoPac took control ca. 1925.

    Handbook of Texas entry:

    I don't know whether the depot in question was built during the period of Frisco control, but this does suggest one possible connection between the Brownsville and Pensacola depots.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 11, 2010
  3. Karl

    Karl 2008 Engineer of the Year Supporter

    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 11, 2010
  4. High_Iron

    High_Iron Member

    Thanks Bradley,

    I had considered that the Frisco was in control of the StLB&M at the time, and had checked that out previoiusly. The MP Historical Society's history states that the Frisco sold the StLB&M to the New Orleans, Texas & Mexico Railway (Gulf Coast Lines) in 1916, well before the Mopac Brownsville station was designed and built. My research shows that the MP station was completed in 1927 as part of a large project that included the El Jardin Hotel next door and a city government building--all designed by Robert B. Kelly. (The design was not done inhouse, but was contracted out to the Kelwood Company.) The station was featured in a Railway Age article in October, 1927.

    I've reconsidered this aspect of it, though, and think It is probable that some of the personnel involved in the MP and Frisco station developments were there before 1916 and still around in 1925 or so when the MP and SLSF stations were probably designed. There has to have been a connection somehow.

    I don't know how big the Frisco Pensacola station was, but it seems to have been slightly larger than the MP Brownsville station.

    The dome of the MP station was light blue. Was the Frisco station similarly colored?

    Most of my research has been geared towards drawing up plans of the MP depot in order to build a model. I've included my front elevation here.
  5. High_Iron

    High_Iron Member

    Thanks Karl.

    The article was very illuminating. I especially was interested in the statement that read,
    On either side are the two main entrances constructed of semi-glazed terra cotta product, the base being of polychrome effect with various ornament and decorative features in bright, attractive colors.
    The "bright, attractive colors" part was intriguing. The general construction of the station as deswcribed seems similar to the MP station.
  6. High_Iron

    High_Iron Member

    Upon rereading the FEM article, one thing in particular struck me. The article stated that the Frisco Pensacola station had a raised baggage floor. I now think the Missouri Pacific Brownsville station also had a raised baggage floor, as it has a door on the hotel side of the building (where there was a driveway), and the bottom of the door is several feet above ground level. Previously I had thought that the station had only a small raised dock next to the raised door inside the building. I can't think of any other all-passenger stations that had raised baggage room floors, though combination passenger-freight stations usually had a raised freight floor. This peculiarity in design that both stations had seems to provide further evidence that there is some connection between the two depots. These two depots had very attractive architecture, and to me are very unique and stand apart from all the other depots in the United States.
  7. Maunsel

    Maunsel Member

    Here's a Sanborn Map of the Pensacola station.

    Attached Files:

  8. Maunsel

    Maunsel Member

    I have the above Sanborn image in a very high resolution version that you can zoom in on, if anyone wants it.
  9. adougherty

    adougherty Member

    Hi everyone, I was going through boxes of my family's old railroad stuff and came across some blue prints of the Pensacola Depot in 1928. I can take pictures of the two "aerial" blue prints that show the tracks and location of the depot, etc. if anyone is interested. Just let me know!

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