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Local History

Turner Station Depot

Railroad Razes Turner Station
Leader & Press December 19, 1958

"A Greene County landmark, the old depot at Turner is being razed by the Frisco Railroad. Long out of use, the little gray frame building had fallen into such a state of disrepair the decision was made to eliminate it and two other small buildings owned by the company.

"Once a busy shipping point on the old Memphis Railroad, later the Memphis branch of the Frisco, Turner Station in more recent years has been merely a flag stop. Mail still is put on and off the train for the post office, which is in the general store operated by Mr. and Mrs. B. M. Murrell, Mrs. Murrell is postmaster.

"It is interesting that the shipping point has been known as Turner or Turner Station, while the post office address is Turners. This seems to date back to confusion caused when there was another Turner post office in the state. There still is a Turney in Clinton County, which might be more easily confused with Turner that with Turners. Around 40 families get their mail from the Turners post office.

"Settlement of the little village in the rich James River Valley dates back to October 19, 1839, when Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Neaves paid $1.25 an acre for their homestead. Mr. and Mrs. William Foren bought the farm in 1854 and three years later sold to John L. and Margaret Turner, who had moved to Greene County from Tennessee. The Turners paid $3,300 for the tract, which indicates it contained many acres at the time.

"The Turner family long has been prominent in Greene County affairs. First home of Mr. and Mrs. Turner on the farm was a small log house. Soon they acquired a frame two-story house, which came to be known as “the mansion”, as compared with the usual log homes of the time. The Turners had 12 children.

"Joe Gault, Greene County treasurer and resident of Turners, is a great-grandson of Mr. and Mrs. John L. Turner. His mother, whose maiden name was Clara Turner, was the daughter of Dan, one of the 12 children of the pioneer settlers. Two other sons, C. C. (Clum) and Albert Turner, donated the right-of-way for the railroad so a station would be maintained at Turner. This was deeded to the Kansas City, Springfield, and Memphis Railroad in 1882, and later acquired by the Frisco in consolidation with the road.

"The little gray frame passenger and freight station was built at the foot of a hill not far from the James and across the road from the general store and post office. Nearby were two small gray houses for section workers, which also will be torn down.

"This area always has been a favorite picnic spot for Springfieldians. Turner Station once was a rather lively stopping point on the Memphis branch. Passenger traffic, particularly to Springfield only about seven miles away, was brisk. Considerable express and freight was handled there.

"Apparently it has been a tradition that the operator of the general store should also be [the] Turner ticket agent. At first the station had a telegraph operator also. The first to serve was Jim Russell. He lived in the station. First section foreman was John Guffey.

"Around 1918 Joe Gault bought the store from Ben Royal and operated it until he first was elected county treasurer in 1944. He then sold the merchandise to Mr. and Mrs. Murrell, retaining the building and his home at Turners. Mrs. Gault was postmaster and Mrs. Murrell succeeded her in that office. They received mail for “Turners” while their husbands sold railroad tickets from “Turner.”

"Gault recalls that when he first became station agent, a pleasant Sunday would be a busy day for him. Many persons from Springfield would ride the train out to Turner Station in the morning to picnic on the James, and return on the afternoon train. It was nothing unusual to sell 100 tickets on such a day. The largest day’s sale was on a Fourth of July around 1920 when he sold 352 tickets.

"After the coming of automobiles this was changed. The railroad finally quit stopping its trains at Turner except upon a flag. The station fell into disuse.

"Today a hard-surfaced highway parallels the railroad tracks and climbs the hill from the pleasant little valley. The general store with its post office, bearing the sign “Turners”, still is the center of the settlement. The old railroad station a stone’s throw away with the sign “Turner”, however, will be leveled before today has gone."

The caption for the photo reads:

"The historic old railroad station sign "Turner" is being handed to Mrs. B. M. Murrell, left, and Mrs. Joe Gault by workmen for the Frisco who are razing the building. They include, left to right E. F. Anderson, Willow Springs, foreman, Lester Young, on the ladder, Springfield, L. M. Ferris, in the window, Mountain Grove, Lester D. Lakey and E. L. Lamar, Springfield. Although paint is peeling from the sign, it will be preserved by Mrs. Murrell and Mrs. Gault, who are residents of Turners."






This depot and photographs of other depots can be found at The Frisco; a look back at the St. Louis and San Francisco Railroad.

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