Railroad and Depot

History of the Quilt


Project Description

Evaluations of Accomplishments

Future Plans for the Project

Proposal Letter

Request to Commissioners

Biographies by Homemakers Clubs

Biographies by Friends of the Library


Railroad & Depot

James T. Coats, formerly of Johnston County, bought over 700 acres of land in Grove Township in Harnett County, and moved to this location in 1875. He used the land for farming and also opened a general store on his property.

Much to his pleasure, in the summer of 1901 surveyors started preliminary work on the railroad that was to pass through the county. Construction workers were frequent sights along the railroad in 1902 and 1903. There was a celebration along the line of the new railroad in the fall of 1903. This was the first completed trip on the new tracks along the lines of the Durham & Southern.

James T. Coats had the railroad right-of-way through his property. He gave a deed for the land on which the depot now stands, May 23, 1903. The structure was completed shortly before the completion of the railroad in 1905. The railroad was built to service points between Durham, the Southern Railroad, Dunn and the Coast Line Railroad.

Stops made by the train between Durham and Dunn, included Erwin, Coats, Angier, Fuquay and Apex. Erwin Mills was the prime user of the railroad.

Upon the completion of the railroad, mail was brought by the train. Andrew Coats, son of James T. Coats, was appointed postmaster and depot agent.

Mr. Coats served as agent for the Durham & Southern Railroad from 1905 to 1911. Walter E. Nichols became agent following Mr. Coats' tenure. Adequate records are not available to show how long Mr. Nichols was employed by the railroad or who was employed as an agent in the late 1920's.

In 1923, A. K. Gunter became an agent and served in this capacity until 1942 when his health forced him to retire. Following Mr. Gunter's employment, Mrs. O. K. (Billie) Keene became the agent for the railroad and served in this capacity until the late 1950's.

Services of the train were used less as time went by and sometime during the early 1960's schedules were reduced to less than daily trips. Rachel Barnes of Angier served as agent on a part-time basis.

Finally, in the early 1980's the railroad stopped all train service through Coats. The tracks were removed and the roadbed reverted to the original owners.

Nelson Currin and Nassie Dorman, local contractors, rented the old depot, to house their office and store building materials.

After Mr. Dorman's death, Mr. Currin assumed control of the company, Currin & Dorman Construction BG Real Estate, and has remained in the depot building. Mr. Currin purchased the depot and shortly thereafter renovated the building.

The old depot building is a monument that keeps alive, the memory of days past, a part of the Town of Coats's history.


Compiled by: Elaine Keene

For: Coats Extension Homemakers Club

References: Historical Sketch of Coats

Daily Record, November 16, 1988

By: M.O. Phillips

Quilt Square: Row 2, Number 7

Embroidery and applique: Mary Forrest

Coats Extension Homemakers Club