Depot Receives Historical Marker
The former Cooper Rail Depot recently received a new historical marker which was installed in front of what is now the Delta County Patterson Memorial Museum. The museum houses a collection of memorabilia related to early settlers in the county. It is open April-Oct. on Saturdays from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. and is located at 700 W. Dallas St., Cooper, Texas.
Delta County Sheriff Ricky Smith and the inmate work crew helped install the marker.
Built in 1913, this Spanish Revival Style brick depot for the Texas Midland Railroad serviced the town of Cooper and Delta County. While the railroad dealt mainly on freight, the depot focused on facilitating passenger service, functioning as a stop along the 130-mile route of the line between Paris and Ennis. It remains a rare example of surviving Texas Midland Railroad structures, being one of the only two remaining depots from that time still standing.
Commonly seen in smaller rural communities throughout the United States during the late 19th Century, the arrival of railroad in 1895 brought a dramatic increase in population and commerce to the isolated town of approximately 300 residents. The following year saw Cooper’s population grow to more than 1,000 and for the next three decades the population steadily increased until it peaked with 2,563 residents in 1925. The Great Depression and Cessation of Texas Midland Operations in 1924 thwarted the growth of Cooper. The population remains relatively steady to this day.
The Depot remained vacant from the closing of the Texas Midland Rail Line until World War II. Following the United States’ entry into the conflict, local student Harry Patterson established a cannery operation within the building. Workers canned chicken here that was sent overseas as part of troop rations. Cans originating from Cooper Depot Cannery carried the stamp “4P” for identification purposes. Following the end of the War, Depoyster Lumber Company briefly set up operations on the property until relocating in 1967, that year Harry Patterson purchased the Depot and dedicated it as a local history museum to showcase the heritage of Cooper and Delta County.
Recorded Texas Historic Landmark - 2014