The current Amtrak station in La Plata is a restored Art Deco style depot constructed of wood and brick. The original passenger and freight depot, built in 1887, was in need of replacement during World War II, but building materials were not readily available. In 1945, after a fire burned portions of the building, the interior and exterior were was remodeled and modernized in an Art Deco style. The remodeling actually preserved the original building within the inner and outer layers.
The station declined gradually until 1996, when a coalition of the Friends for La Plata Preservation and the NEMO Model Railroad Club began renovation of the exterior of the building, completed in 2001 with volunteer labor and money from individual donations. With their efforts, the station has been restored to its 1945 Post Art Deco appearance. The interior of the building has been gradually restored.
A grant of $2,500 and technical assistance from the Great American Stations Foundation came in the late 1990s and more than $41,000 was granted from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s TEA-21 program, which was administered through the Missouri Highway and Transportation Commission and required 25 percent in matching funds. The Missouri legislature granted $24,250 and $14,000 was raised by the Friends of La Plata Preservation in donations from private individuals, including $7,000 from the Surbeck Charitable Trust.
The North Missouri (later Wabash) Railroad built tracks through town in 1867. Twenty years later, the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad (now BNSF Railway) placed its route from Chicago to Kansas City through La Plata. This line, now owned by BNSF Railway, sees as many as 75 trains in a day.Today, La Plata remains a small town, its primary industries being manufacturing and agriculture-related. It also serves as the rail gateway to Truman State University and the College of Osteopathic Medicine at A.T. Still University, both located 15 miles north in Kirksville, Mo.
Upkeep of the station is now shared between Amtrak and the efforts of the American Passenger Rail Heritage Foundation. Grants and monies received by the APRHF has been used to install new gutters, fix doors and paint the building. It also has retro Santa Fe logos on each end of the building and new platform benches. The APRHF continues to seek grants and has fundraisers that directly go to a fund to keep this station looking and operating properly so it can serve its daily passengers well.
A caretaker opens and closes the facility coincident with train times, and provides the passenger with customer service and information. The station is served by the Southwest Chief daily.
LaPlata Santa Fe Station Year 1918
LaPlata Santa Fe Station Year 1953
LaPlata Amtrak Station Year 2011