The Wilton Depot served the Southern Railroad in the town of Wilton, Alabama which is roughly 10 miles west of Calera, Alabama. Wilton was incorporated in 1918 although the town existed for years prior. The first rails to be laid in Wilton where by the Alabama and Tennessee River Railroad in 1853. At that time the Wilton was known as Woods, Alabama. Woods gave way to several other names as well as other railroads such as the "East Tennessee, Virginia and Georgia Railroad" (ETG&V), "Selma, Rome and Dalton", and the "Brierfield, Blocton and Birmingham Railroad" known as the "3B Railroad". In 1894, the ETG&V was merged with the Richmond & Danville Railroad by financier J.P. Morgan and formed the Southern Railroad which later became Norfolk Southern.
A "Combination Depot"
The Wilton Depot is known as a "combination depot" meaning the building served freight needs as well as passengers out of the same building. The Wilton Depot had a large storage area with two large rolling doors which opened up to a wrap around loading dock. On the other side of the depot was a " White" waiting room and a "Black" waiting room as the building served during the "Jim Crowe" era. Seperating the waiting area and the freight area was the station agent's office. The office had a ticket window opening to the waiting rooms as well as a door to the freight storage area. There was a bay window that protruded 3 feet on the track side which allowed for better visibility for the station agent to observe station track activity. The bay window area also contained the controls that operated the "station board signal" which was located on a mast outside the bay window and signaled to passing trains whether or not they were to stop at the station.
There is not a clear date of the origination of the Wilton Depot however other stations built in the immediate area and of similar design by the Southern Railroad were built in the 1900 - 1910 timeframe.
The Move to Calera
In January of 1984, the Wilton Depot was relocated approximately 13 miles East to the Heart of Dixie Railroad Museum to serve as its Depot Museum. The depot houses displays and artifacts to tell the story of Alabama railroad history. The Wilton Depot is now named the Calera Depot and tickets are sold from its ticket agents window for weekend train rides on the museum's Calera & Shelby Railroad.