Ode to a Depot
The depot stands there all alone
And empty by the track,
Where once it sheltered from the storm
A weary traveler and his pack.
Its sturdy beams once were filled
With laughter and with cheer,
But now its empty rooms are stilled
With no one there to hear.
No one cares if the trains come back,
Nor peers out the windowed bay,
To look up the track to see where it’s at,
Nor how long it is going to stay.
The empty windows no longer shine
With lights from the rooms within,
The agents are gone – forever gone
From the office rooms at the end.
The families who once knew the way
The building would creak and groan,
They too are gone, no longer to say,
The depot’s still here, we are home.
The old depot bows and bends and sways
As it weathers the gales, it seems to moan
To the winter’s storms, it is wont to say
I’m so tired – please leave me alone.
How long will it stand so empty and bare
And look, oh so lost and forlorn?
How long will it be before someone will care
Or will its roof and its walls be torn?
Its loneliness cries out to me
Of an era now long gone,
That this is not how it used to be
As each new day would dawn.
Someday will someone come to see
The names on the freight house wall,
That tell the tales with mirth and glee
And all the days of old recall.
Will a poet or painter come to hear
The tales that these walls could tell,
Will they paint of the life once so dear
That the old depot knew so well.
And then will the poet write today
Of the days now forever gone
To immortalize what it had to say
In the words of a sad, sad song.
The preceding poem was penned by Mary Allred, wife of Saratoga and Encampment Railway Depot Agent Jim Allred, following the closing of the Saratoga depot in 1978. The Allred family had lived and worked at the depot for many years during the 1960s and 70s.
Mary’s wishes were soon granted when the depot was purchased by the Saratoga Historical and Cultural Association in 1980, preserved and moved to house the Saratoga Museum, but then that’s another Postcard.