It is a site on the National Register of Historic Places.
It was placed on the Register in May 2007, after being nominated by the Indiana Department of Transportation. It is one of the few railhouses built in the 1920s still standing.
It was built by Cleveland, Cincinnati, Chicago and St. Louis Railway (CCC & St. L RR), also known as the Big Four, around 1925. It was built Craftsman-style, and is 1.5 stories high. Its foundation and walls are made of wood, and the roof is asphalt shingles. It includes a brick chimney. The property upon which the freight house is upon covers .52 acres.
It was originally part of “Jeffersonville Springs”, a resort that featured mineral springs, which being chalybeate was deemed back then to be good for the body. This lent the name to a nearby street, Spring Street. The resort was started by Swiss immigrant John Fischli, who originally owned 13 acres (53,000 m2) of the property, until his death in 1838. In 1852 it was bought by a Methodist church, who converted the gambling houses by it into school houses. The hotel which Fischli had built burned down in 1857.
The property was bought by the Big Four in 1890. There were initially plans by the railroad to rebuild the resort, but that never happened. In 1907 the Railroad had destroyed the Springs.
After the railroad abandoned it in 1963, R.A. Alms & Sons Feed Wholesalers used it from 1970-1975. In the 1980s a cable company used it. It is currently unused, but the Ohio River Bridges Project had plans to restore it in 2008 and turn it into its headquarters; as of August 2009 nothing has been done to renovate it.
The building is a near-perfect example of how train depots of that time period were built and is considered rare as many from that era were dismantled as rail transportation evolved through the late 20th century. The facility still houses the original freight scale, manufactured by the Fairbanks Scale Company, which is still in working order. The scale dates to the early 1900s and was potentially manufactured 20-25 years before the building itself.
In addition to its architectural significance, the Freight House played an important role in the economic and demographic growth of the Jeffersonville and Indiana. INDOT’s nominating document called it, “significant as a symbol of the railroad’s vital role in the city’s economic growth, as well as that of the state.”
Find more great sites on or near the famous bridge.