As the oldest railroad station in Arkansas, the beautifully restored Frisco Depot reflects its original turn-of-the-century Victorian appearance. Brick walkways, slate roofs, and diamond shaped panes in dormer windows were all common features in Victorian structures. This building has it all and then some. Ornate and unique capitals top all of the columns in the breezeway in the shape of animals native to Mammoth Spring, and extra-wide eaves protect travelers waiting for the train from the elements.
Within the depot, life-size figures portray depot attendants, train crew, and passengers frozen in time. Short audio presentations complement each display, and a couple of short videos tell the history of Mammoth Spring. The baggage room, at the opposite end of the depot from the main museum, displays a wide variety of railroad artifacts too.
Storyboards detail information about the steam locatives that passed through during that time, how they worked, and the value brought to small communities like Mammoth Spring. Just beyond that, parked outside stands a restored Frisco 1176 Caboose folks are encouraged to climb aboard and explore.
The town of Mammoth Spring flourished in part due to this small railroad depot, built as part of the Kansas City, Fort Scott & Memphis Railroad line. People from all over the region would ride the train to town and stay at a hotel near the site.
The Frisco Railroad acquired the line in 1901, but merged into Burlington Northern Railway in 1980 and continues freight service on the line. The depot, later leased to Mammoth Spring State Park in 1968, enjoyed a quick remodel for the opening of the park in 1972, and full restoration during the 1990s to its current state.
Know Before You Go
Admission to the Frisco Depot and Frisco caboose is free and open every day of the except Monday. Tuesday is by appointment only