One of the earliest subjects of my growing love of photography here at home was the old red brick depot in Montezuma.
My earliest memories of downtown, the depot was used by the local police department, but there are still plenty of people from here who remember passenger and freight trains stopping here in Montezuma. This Queen Anne stye depot was built in 1890 to replace an earlier depot on the same site. There are two rail lines running through town and there were once two depots as well. The Atlanta, Birmingham, and Atlantic Depot was built in 1905, but was moved to Tifton in the 1970’s, and is still a part of the Agrirama there today. Luckily we’ve held onto one of our depots which was given to the Macon County Historical Society by Norfolk Southern in 1980. This is personally my favorite photo of the old depot. In this picture of it, I have stitched together several photos to create a really wide panorama shot. The red building in this print thus looms at the viewer in a larger than life feel against a cheerful summer sky.
The depot really does feel like the heart of our town to me. In fact, the original settlement near here was Traveler’s Rest. And when the inhabitants of that community discovered the railroad was crossing the river further along the Flint River, they relocated to the town’s present site to be near the river crossing. This placed the town as a strategic spot for both river and rail traffic. So, clearly, Montezuma wouldn’t be the town it is today without the railroad.
This is a black and white night photo of the Montezuma depot. Don’t you love the way the lights surrounding the old railway depot are dazzling in their star-burst patterns! You can also see the trails from lights of multiple cars which passed by while taking the photo used for this print.
I will always look on this one fondly, not just because it won a local award in an art competition but my memory of taking it. I stood there for awhile taking a handful of photos of it as the light patterns left by the cars was a bit different in each take. Suddenly I heard someone ask, with some incredulity in their voice, if I was taking pictures of the depot. After my explanation, I heard her telling friends how pretty the depot looked at night, and it gave me a little boost that I had managed to pass on an appreciation for a piece of our home. I think that’s one of the great things about art in general and photography specifically giving people a chance to take a second look at the world and realize how much beauty can be found in the everyday world that surrounds us.
Both of these pictures are available as prints and can be seen larger if you click through to the prints gallery for more details (each photo links to the gallery). And I especially hope you will go see the panorama picture as there’s more detail to appreciate when you can see it larger – clicking to view the slideshow on the gallery page, for instance, will allow you to see it full screen!