Daily Archives: November 17, 2017

Idabel, Oklahoma Depot

Idabel, Oklahoma Depot (date unknown)
Idabel, Oklahoma Depot

Idabel, Oklahoma Depot (date unknown).

Idabel (ID) is located at mile post 728.0 on the Arkinda–Ardmore Subdivision.

The town is located in the southeastern most county in Oklahoma. As the county seat of McCurtain County the community received a substantial brick depot. Through the community the railroad runs, and depot lies, on a northwest to southeast axis. The depot sits on the north side of the tracks at the southern end of the central business district.

This is the second depot at this location. Built in 1912, it replaced an earlier smaller frame depot built in 1902. The brick depot’s dimensions are 24’ by 102’ (2,448 square feet). With the exception of a newer standing seam metal roof the exterior remains largely unchanged. The depot is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The building is now occupied by the Idabel Chamber of Commerce and Agriculture. Its address is 7 Southwest Texas Avenue.

The railroad route started as the Arkansas and Choctaw Railway in 1895. By 1902 the railroad extended through the community and was renamed the St. Louis, San Francisco and New Orleans. The later was merged into the Frisco in 1907. Local traffic was initially timber and related products. As the forests played out the economy turned to cotton and later cattle and chicken products production.

Early on the town went through a series of name changes. The first name was Purnell. Isaac Purnell was a railroad official at the time. The post office rejected the name due to its similarity with another community, Purcell. Mitchell, after another railroad official, was then chosen. Postal officials rejected the second attempt as another community with that name existed in the territory. The postal department then proposed and opened a post office called Bokhoma (Choctaw for Red River). The railroad then chose the station name Idabel to honor Isaac Purnell’s two daughters, Ida and Bell. The post office and community then adopted the latter name on February 3, 1904.

The view is looking north.

Special thanks to Mark Davidson.

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