Downtown Historic District
THE TRAIN DEPOT HISTORY
The oldest building on Main Street is the Zachary Railroad Depot, built in 1894. The Louisville, New Orleans and Texas Railroad laid 456 miles of track from New Orleans to Memphis, and the first passenger train schedule was put into effect on October 6, 1884.
Darel Zachary owned much of the land where the City of Zachary now lies. He sold a strip of land 50 feet wide by 650 feet long, to the LNO&T Railroad for the sum of ONE DOLLAR and the promise from the Railroad Company that they would build a depot there.
The railroad became the focal point of the town, and the corporate limits were measured as a “starting point beginning at the railroad crossing.” After the Zachary railroad was completed and the depot was built, stores and businesses sprung up everywhere.
“Drummers” would ride the trains to Zachary and rent horses and wagons to travel through the area selling their wares.
THE GREAT FIRE OF 1903 (Zachary Faces & Places; page174)
The Great Fire of 1903 destroyed much of the town of Zachary, except for a few houses and the Train Depot. Having no waterworks or other apparatus for protection, and with a stiff wind blowing from the north, the efforts of the citizens to check the flames were of little avail.
The Yazoo and Mississippi Valley depot is about the only building within proximity to the burned section upon which the efforts of the “bucket brigade” had any effect. With charred and blistered walls, it stands as an evidence of the heroic efforts of those who, seeing they could not save their own property, exerted unselfish energy to the aid of their neighbors.
SPELLING OF ZACHARY (Zachary Faces & Places; Page 182)
In 1894, the sign on the railroad depot was lettered: “ZACHERIE.” Even the first name of the man who gave his name to Zachary has been spelled many ways: Dearl, Darryl, Dariel. The handwritten indenture was executed in October 1885, between Mr. Zachary and the Louisville, New Orleans, and Texas Railroad Co. Mr. Zachary gave the company the right of way for the railroad to be built and for the construction of a depot “for the price of $1 and the advantages and benefits to be derived from the building, etc”. The document is signed by Mr. Zachary in the following way: DAREL ZACHERY. So, we have really been spelling it wrong, these many years.