Plaque to mark old train depot


Plans are underway to install a historical marker along the Big-4 Rail Trail in Zionsville to commemorate a since-demolished train depot that was built 130 years ago.

The Historical Preservation Committee of Zionsville, a nonprofit with the mission to maintain the character of the Village in the Town of Zionsville, announced its plans at the parks board meeting April 14 to have a marker made to commemorate the depot.

The committee is attempting to raise approximately $3,000 to order and install the marker.

“We thought it would add interest as people are walking along the route as to why this beautiful trail is here and learn there was a railroad going through there,” said Mark Zelonis, a member of the Historical Preservation Committee.

Zionsville has a rich history that dates back to the late-1800s. A significant part of that history is the Big-4 Rail Trail, which runs through the heart of the town.

The Rail Trail, formally known as the New York Central Railroad, was one of the reasons the town was created, as it played a vital role in Zionsville’s development and growth.

“It’s amazing to think that these big locomotives came through the middle of town,” Zelonis said. “The train came right up 1st Street to drop off and pick up passengers from the train depot.”

The train depot originally stood next to what is now Lincoln Park before being moved to 5th Street in 1923 for safety reasons.

“This was all done on logs back then,” Zelonis said. “They just picked up the depot and rolled it on these rollers up the street.”

Lincoln Park received its name several years ago as a historical site where President Abraham Lincoln made a train stop on the way to his inauguration in 1861.

The depot was an essential part of the town’s economy, as it facilitated the transportation of goods and people to and from the town. But in 1961, the depot was decommissioned and sat idle for a number of years.

“I think there was some talk back then of having it become a museum, but for reasons we don’t know, that didn’t happen,” Zelonis said.

Consequently, the train depot was demolished in the mid-1970s.

The plaque will be installed at the depot’s last location, which is now the popular hiking and biking trail, the Big-4 Rail Trail.

Mark Walters, chairman of the Zionsville Historical Preservation Committee, said doing things to enhance the appreciation of the town’s historic heritage is why the committee was formed.

“This plaque is one of several we are hoping to put around the village that celebrates our railroad heritage,” Walters said. “The whole reason Zionsville exists is because of the railroad.”

The town has offered to pour a concrete pad and install a bench near the marker.

The bronze plaque will include a QR code to learn more about Zionsville.

A future plan to replicate the train depot as a welcome center for the Town of Zionsville is being considered as well.

The funds to acquire the plaque will be raised through a GoFundMe account. For more, visit