The 1940s modernization of MoPac rail station in Alexandria, Louisiana


Architect: A. L. BECKER. under the direction of A. A. MILLER. Chief Engineer. Maintenance of Way. both of Missouri Pacific Rail-road Company. 

Services: Missouri Pacific Railroad. In 1941, in order to meet the increasing demands of an ever-growing passenger business and at the same time economize in administrative charges through the consolida-tion of several of their facilities. the Missouri Pacific Rail-road undertook an ambitious program of modernization affecting several of its stations. Among these were the station at Alexandria. Louisiana. and those at Wichita. Kansas. and Kirkwood. Missouri, described elsewhere in this book. In all cases, since the buildings were adequate in exterior appearance, generally speaking, the principal alterations were carried on inside, the main object achieved being the complete transformation of an otherwise old-fashioned "depot" of dreary aspect into a thoroughly up-to-the-min-ute passenger service station of inviting and pleasing as-pect. where the comfort and convenience of the patrons was the first consideration. 

EXTERIOR. The area of this station is approximately 103' long x 42' wide, with the long axis pointing roughly north and south. Nothing of unusual significance was done to alter the exterior appearance of this building, except for the substitution of modern type. flush, slab doors for the older ones and a general cleaning of the exterior surfaces. 

INTERIOR. It is here that the greatest amount of work was done. a project which turned a badly chopped up public area of a markedly older vintage into a modern service center for the road's passengers combining ease of administration and maintenance with complete comfort for travelers. 

The White Waiting Room is nearly square in its over-all dimen-sions, measuring approximately 40' x 37'. Entrance to this Room is from the street or east side, with large double swinging doors on the western side leading to the platform. The south end of the building is taken up by the Women's Lounge and Toilet and the den's Room. A partition across the room forms the north wall of the White Waiting Room, separating it completely from the Colored Waiting Room occupying about 20' of the north end of the building. In the northwest corner of the White Waiting Room, a new type Ticket Office has been built—an open working area of about 16' x 8'. enclosed by a counter on two sides. The west wall of this area forms the east wall of the Agent's Office. 

In the northeast corner of this Waiting Room is a news stand with counter running along two sides.

There is nothing in the middle of the room except the groups of leather-upholstered, chromium-finished settees and arm chairs which are arranged for ample space and informal freedom of movement. 

To create this restful atmosphere of comfortable ease, many changes were effected. The old Ticket Office with its forbidding partitions was eliminated, and the new one built in its place. At the east side of the station, an office of the traffic department was re-moved, thus affording more room for public use, and for the news stand. The walls of the Waiting Room are finished with a green wainscot of asbestos cement board, above which a light gray plaster runs to a wood cornice just below a new low ceiling of bevelled insulating panel board applied in squares. The facing of the Ticket Office counter is of the same green asbestos board, on a frame or 2 x 4's. topped by a 27 counter with glass partitions and wickets for the ticket sellers. 

The floor is asphalt tile in marbleized tones harmonizing with the wall finish. 

Illumination is furnished by low, half-cylindrical fluorescent fixtures.

The north wall of the Waiting Room is provided with 6 cabinets, each composed of 4 Self-service Parcel Checking Lockers. These cabinets are recessed into the wall, as shown on the floor plan. Two similar cabinets are located in the Colored Waiting Room beside the Colored Ticket Counter on the north wall or the Ticket Office. In both cases these Parcel Checking Lockers have been placed in unobtrusive locations, yet convenient to incoming or departing passengers as they move along their normal paths to news stand, Ticket Office, street door or train platform. 


images and info provided by the Popular Mechanics Archive | Zetu Harrys Collection


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