Built as the Iron Mountain Railroad Train Depot in 1916, "The Depot"
became a museum and cultural center in 2000. The Depot features dozens
of permanent and rotating exhibits depicting the area's history and art. The history of
railroads in Sikeston dates bate to 1853 when a group of businessmen
from Arkansas, Kentucky, and Tennessee met in nearby Benton to form the
Cairo Fulton Railroad. When John Sikes founded the town of Sikeston in
1860, he set aside property on the track thus assuring that Sikeston had
a railroad depot. Sikeston was a supply depot of such importance in the
Civil War that the track between Sikeston and Charleston were torn up to
stop supplies from arriving in the area.
When the Cairo Fulton defaulted on bonds issued by the state of
Missouri after the war, and ownership was transferred to the Iron
Mountain Railroad. In 1916, the Iron Mountain began building the present
depot. Soon after the building
was constructed, the line was acquired by the Missouri Pacific Railroad
Company. It remained a Missouri Pacific station until the company merged
with Union Pacific in 1982. The Sikeston Depot was closed in 1985 and
the building was emptied, the windows boarded up, and the building
became completely dormant.
1997, concerned citizens met to discuss revitalization of the Depot,
forming the Sikeston Cultural Development Corporation and worked with
the railroad and the School of the Ozarks to open the facility for
community use. In 2000 the Sikeston Historical and Cultural Center (The
Sikeston Depot Museum) opened to the public. The facility contains a
historic museum section recounting the most important aspects of area
culture, an exhibition hall where rotating and traveling exhibits are
displayed, an art gallery featuring artists from different areas and
disciplines, and a small community room where a video of Sikeston’s
history is shown. The Depot was added to the National Register of
Historic Places in 2000.