The Clearwater Passenger Station is located at the southwest corner of East Avenue and Court St. in downtown Clearwater, west central Florida which borders Clearwater Bay that opens to the Gulf of Mexico. According to records of the Seaboard Coast Line Railroad, this station was built in 1914. The original drawings, from which the drawings presented here were made, are of the Tampa and Gulf Coast Railroad Company, dated by the Office of Engineer of Buildings, Norfolk, Virginia, July 5, 1923 with a completed date of February 1924, by the Elliot Building Company ascontractors. It is possible that the 1914 date may refer to an earlier depot on the site, or that the present station was built in 1914 with modifications completed on it in 1924.
In comparing the original 1923-24 drawings to the station's present state of existence, it generally looks much the same now as it does in the original drawings, except for certain modifications that were made since 1923-24 period. The original T&GC drawings show the central office area separating two waiting rooms, one on each side of it with a separate wicket for each waiting room. The two sets of entry doors flanking the central bay window office at track side, the opposite at the rear or parking lot side, seem to verify that two separate waiting rooms originally did exist. The original drawings also indicate a brick chimney located between the former two wickets may have once existed although there is no indication whatsoever of this today. Eave gutters apparently once surrounded the perimeter of the roof of the entire station, but today only the full length gutter across the trackside length of roof eave exists with downspouts at the ends.
The central office area was changed to make it larger by removing the single west wall portion and both angled wicket walls, then adding two slightly angled walls to connect to the main outside wall as shown in the floor plan. The former south waiting room became an office area, but the north waiting room was retained, and a double ticket wicket made to the adjoining central office wall facing the present waiting room. The expansion of the central agent's office allowed for an air conditioner to be installed high on the outer wall with an opening made in the wall especially for it, as seen in the floor plan and parking lots side elevation drawings.
The station building is of wood frame construction with Kellastone Stucco on the main upper exterior walls, and Kellastone smooth cement finish below this around the lower base. The roof and end dormers have the original, but now faded, red composition shingles with peak and angled roof joint trimmings of molded tin.
One outstanding architectural feature of this station is its rows of matched wood columns standing on brick pedestals around the entire building supporting the wide roof overhang, thus allowing for a complete outside shelter on all sides. Old styled wood benches of different designs are placed around the station on the concrete platform walk against the outside walls on all sides except the south baggage room end.
The exterior of the building is brightly painted white, blue, and red. The walls and roof overhang are white, window frames, doors, and the wood columns are blue, and columned brick pedestals are painted red. Even the baggage wagon and carts are painted a matching blue. The roof now has a rustic red and grey weathered appearance. The right angled parking lot is paved with granite cut bricks.
The station is owned by the Seaboard Coast Line Railroad and continues in full active service as an Amtrak passenger station facility. An interesting location feature of this station is that it is served by a single track line that is in the center of a paved street used regularly by daily automobile traffic. The track runs several city blocks through the length of East Avenue in a North-South direction before it runs off at both ends of this short avenue into regular tie supported track. Passenger trains run both North and South bound making four stops daily at Clearwater Station. These trains are the Silver Star and the Silver Meteor, each usually having five to six passenger cars at this point enroute.
Passenger stations served by tracks in actively used city streets are less common today than they once were. The Clearwater Station exists today in good condition, and for its size is busy with passenger activity especially around train time. Seeing the train approaching the station along a city street is a rewarding experience. The diesel locomotive is like a giant blasting its horn as it approaches each street intersection crossing the tracks with a few automobilies scattering to get out of its way while others stop dead at the cross street giving way to the train. At the Court Street intersection signal bells ring out as crossing gates drop to halt traffic just before the train approaches the station reducing its speed slower as it eases to a stop. The departing and boarding of passengers and baggage lasts only a few minutes this time and soon the locomotive blasts its departure easing slowly away. The crossing gates rise, the backed up auto traffic quickly passes, and the station is quiet once again until next time.
From time to time between passenger train runs, through freight trains pass the station and once again dominate the short length of East Avenue. The old time flavor of Clearwater Station still remains for anyone who may wish to visit it, especially at train time for that added opportunity of seeing trains rolling along through the street.