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June 2012
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Man builds model of Mayfield depot

BY HAWKINS TEAGUE news@mayfield-messenger.com

An area man is re-creating a bit of Mayfield's past with hopes of raising money for Needline.

John Polsgrove of Bardwell said he was an interim pastor for Mayfield's First Christian Church in 2008 when he became involved in raising money for the Mayfield/Graves County Needline and Food Pantry. He now wants to donate a model of the old Mayfield train depot to Needline to auction off as part of its annual yard sale, which is expected be held sometime in September.

Polsgrove said he starting building models when he was in high school. In the past, he built small replicas of the historic depots from Henderson, Tennessee - where he was born - and Union City, Tennessee, where he spent the majority of his childhood. He also has an entire train track and village in his backyard garage.

With a desire to use his talents to support the Needline in Mayfield, it occurred to him that people interested in history might want to bid on a model of the train depot.

"I thought why not have something people could bid on and take it home and the money goes to charity?" Polsgrove said. "That's why I built it."

The model is meant to replicate the second Mayfield depot, known officially as the I.C. (Illinois Central) Depot, whose construction began in 1912. It was demolished in 1959.

Polsgrove said he wanted the model to be as accurate as possible, so he set about tracking down as many images of the depot and as much information about it as he could find. He said he tracked down photographs and postcards from various sources, although he said Wayne Youngblood was probably the most help on the project. Polsgrove was also able to find one photograph of the depot in a book of Wells family - of Wells Studio - photographs at the Graves County Public Library, he said.

Because detailed photographs were not available for the entire building, Polsgrove said, he drew a floor plan based on the photos or postcards he found and the style that was popular for other train depots of the era. He noted that Mayfield's depot shared a similar design to other depots in Tennessee, Kentucky and southern Illinois that were built in the early 20th century. He was able to obtain images of all four sides of the building, so although his re-created design might not be perfect, he thinks it is probably close to the real thing.

Polsgrove said he is not finished and wants to give the model some additional character.

"There isn't any grass growing in the cracks yet, there aren't any figures on it," he said. "I want it to look lived in, although it would have been too big if I had put a track in front."

According to a Louisville Courier-Journal news clipping, the construction of the depot began on Tuesday, Nov. 12, 1912. Mayfield historian Berry Craig said the depot was located on West Broadway next to where Myers Lumber currently stands. As with all I.C. depots of the era, it was painted "Battleship Gray," he said. The freight depot was located on the other side of West Broadway, he said.

Former Graves County Sheriff John Davis, also a local historian, said the last passenger train went through Mayfield in 1957. Phil Myers - whose parents, John and Margaret Myers, leased and eventually bought the land where the depot was located - said he remembered going to get ice cream cones to eat while watching trains as a child in the early '50s. He said Hal Gibson demolished the depot in 1959.

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