| Submitted by Ray Evans
The following was submitted by Ms. Peggy (Hurt) Daniels and published in the
Mt Vernon Signal in the August 13, 1998 issue. A reference indicates that it
was also published in the February 23, 1961 issue of the Signal. It was also
published in the 1992 Rockcastle History book which was published by the
Rockcastle County Historical Society.
The Brodhead Depot
Here She comes. Is she on time? Magic words that made
the heart beat a little faster. Words that made many of us dream of far away
places with strange sounding names.
What is all this? Why, of course, its one of the four daily passenger
trains pulling into the station at Brodhead.
The Louisville and Nashville Railroad was to the residents of Rockcastle
County, and Brodhead, what the Mississippi River was to Mark Twain.
Brodhead was considered somewhat of a railroad town with so many of the men
living there while working on section gangs, or as station operators,
engineers, conductors, or on bridge gangs, or other railroad related jobs.
The Brodhead depot was the center of social life for the community, with peak
interest being on Friday night and Sunday evening. Those were the times the
workers would come home on Friday and leave on Sunday. Also, weekend visitors
arrived on numbers 21, 22, 23 and 24.
As the trains arrived, you could hear the word go through the crowd,
Whos that? Wonder who they are visiting?
Why, theres old Jim Jones, havent seen him for some
twenty-five years. All who got off the train were greeted with a hug or a
handshake, no strangers here.
Charlie Hurt, agent/operator, was Mr. Louisville and Nashville Railroad. One
had to see Charlie to ship freight, buy a train ticket and even find out if the
train was on time. It was said that he could even get a ticket for you to go
clear to California by railroad.
A true story was told many times about Charlies efficiency as the station
agent. A shipment of live honeybees arrived at the depot in Brodhead and
Charlie was faced with the problem of getting the bees in a hurry to Henry
Crawford who had ordered them. It was Sunday and no delivery was possible and
there was not a phone on the Crawford farm. Soon, however, Charlie saw
Crawfords dog outside the depot. He lured the dog in with some food, and
wrote a note about the arrival of the bees, attached it to the dogs
collar, and then shooed the dog homeward. Within the hour Henry
arrived to pick up his bees. Efficiency? Ill say.
Each freight train crew had his own signal, or whistle, when passing trough
Brodhead. Two short blasts let all know that Sam Long was the engineer. One
short and two longs meant it was Ed Hurt, brother to agent Charlie Hurt. One
short, one long and a short toot, toot was Russell Atkinson. Thus, the message
went out to say hello to family and friends alike -- all is well, dont
The depot was built at two different times. The freight room was built in 1880
and used only for that purpose. Offices, and passenger waiting rooms were added
in 1914. The company maintained 24-hour service, with three operators, an
agent, an assistant agent and freight handlers.
At one time, Brodhead served as a water station for engines for all trains on
the Lebanon Branch of The L & N. It also served as a lunch stop. Many
people still remember one could order a box lunch of sandwiches, or, if you
were really hungry, a two piece chicken dinner with two vegetables, homemade
bread, drink and a piece of homemade pie. This would set you back thirty-five
cents! Three local restaurants handled the task, these were the Frith, Murphy
and Clark establishments.
But then, the unthinkable happened. A fellow by the name of Ford invented a
contraption called a horse-less carriage. Dirt roads became two-lane highways.
Cars as many people called them, could zip along the highways at 25
to 30 miles an hour. From that day on things were never what they used to be at
the Brodhead depot; or, for that matter on the entire L & N system, or
anywhere else. An era had ended, progress had taken over, and on
December 31, 1954, the order came down to close the passenger service. A
freight station was maintained for a few more years, then that too was soon
After fifty-five years of service with the L & N and forty-eight as agent
at Brodhead, Charlie Hurt closed and locked the door for the last time. Maybe,
just maybe, we all shed a small tear when that was done. Soon the depot was
torn down and all trains ceased to run. The three restaurants are gone, the
water tower was dismantled and the tracks are in need of repair. What is the
old depot site now used for a parking lot for that contraption, the
(Note: Subsequent to when this was first written, The railroad tracks through
Brodhead were taken up about 1986. Peggy (Hurt) Daniels is the granddaughter of
Charlie Hurt. Henry Crawford (1906-1970) who had ordered the honeybees is the
father of my wife Norma Crawford Evans.)