Silverhill Train Depot

Silverhill Train Depot

         The Silverhill Train Depot was constructed by the L&N, the Louisville, and Nashville Railroad Company, three miles northeast of the center of Silverhill. A community, named Robertsdale, grew around the Silverhill depot, and was founded in 1905.
Silverhill train depot located in what is now Robertsdale on Chigago street, across from Campbell's Hardware. - Click to enlarge.

         From 1897 to 1900, many Swedish families had moved to Silverhill. They cleared land, built homes and farms. The crops they grew were only raised to feed the farmers' own families.

         In 1901, farm produce was raised for market for the first time. Crops the farmers planted were potatoes, (sweet and Irish), string beans and some strawberries. These had to be hauled with horse and wagon to Daphne, then across the bay by boat to Mobile to be sold. Often the prices were so low that the farmer received practically nothing in return. At that time, Mobile was a very poor place for marketing produce.

         Also in 1901, the Silverhill farmers receive news that the L&N Railroad intended to extend their rails south from Bay Minette to Fort Morgan. Hopes were high that the L&N would put a depot in Silverhill. This would have made shipping produce much easier for the farmer.

         The Baldwin County section of the railroad was completed on May 11, 1905. It extended from Bay Minette to Foley, never reaching Fort Morgan as earlier planned. And to the dismay of the Silverhill farmer, the railroad did not run through the center of Silverhill, but instead it was built three miles to the east of town.

Above is a map of the L&N railroad with all of its stops and the names of the stations. The map is dated 1-28-'13. - Click to enlarge.

         With a train depot came the need for a hotel. The Silverhill Hotel was built near the depot on the main street running beside the railroad.

         The area was still known as Silverhill and the depot was named Silverhill by the L&N Railroad, so the hotel was named the Silverhill Hotel. It is believed to have been built across the street from the Silverhill Train Depot, on the corner of Ohio and Chicago Street. The hotel may have been destroyed by fire in the 1930s.
The Silverhill Hotel is believed to have been built across the street from the Silverhill Train Depot, on the south corner of Ohio and Chicago Street in what is now Robertsdale. - Click to enlarge.