Many children were read the famous Dr. Suess book, Planes, Trains, and Automobiles. Today, the main sources of transportation seem to be just planes and automobiles. It’s a rare occasion that trains are a common form of transportation in this southern neck of the woods.
Brookhaven home to one of the eleven train stops in the whole state, opened its newly renovated Amtrak Train Station on August 17th, 2011. The process of building this station began in 1997 by Mayor Bill Goldbold who was inspired by a similar facility in Meridian, MS. Mayor Goldbold’s idea was to have a multi-functional transportation facility that allowed for inner-city bus riders and passenger rail riders to have a welcoming, weather-controlled environment while waiting for their next ride.
Though many improvements have been made to the Amtrak station along the way, this station dates back far beyond the days of climate control and fancy vending machines like we see in our train stations today.
In the 1800’s, Brookhaven was not conveniently placed near a river, which made it difficult to export or trade any type of goods. It also made it really difficult for the town to grow, because there was no industry. During the 1850s there were rumors of a railroad line from New Orleans to Jackson. If this rumor were to come true, this would majorly open up doors for Brookhaven!
The rumors of the railroad, did in fact become a reality. At the time, Brookhaven consisted of no more than twelve houses. After the railroad was established, people began to discover Brookhaven. Cotton production increased as well as lumber production. Soon after, Whitworth college was established. Brookhaven was on the rise!
During the Civil War, the railroad experienced severe damage that would leave the railroad obstructed until the war was over. Brookhaven faced many trials during the post-war such as the political division over prohibition. Though divided, Brookhaven was not going to let that get them down. In the early 1900’s Brookhaven began to get their feet back under them and started to become unified. Whitworth College was booming and timber production had become a great source of income for the city. By the 21st Century, Brookhaven had almost tripled in size and things steadily began to look up for the city.
City officials continued to work hard to finish the new Amtrak facility. There were many setbacks along the way but the city persevered and opened its new facility in August 2011. The station is named the Goldbold Transportation Center after former Mayor Goldbold who was the founding idealist behind this project.