Monday, August 8, 2016

The Beginning of Repton Community

The Ohio Valley Rail Road began construction of its tracks along a right-of-way which bisected the Old Mattoon flats or camp-ground in the late 1880's.

 It was the practice of the Railroad company to set up supply-points for their construction crews along the route, unless there were already town or villages nearby which could be reached, and these spots were selected considering the later establishment of depots and loading pens.

As the tracks ran a mile south of Moore's store at Mattoon and a few miles north of Willow Grove, (near the entrance of Wilson Farm Rd.) the OVRR set the supply point at the railroad crossing of the Marion-Fishtrap Road near the Repton Branch bridge. 

Two merchants from Union County, Silas McMurray and J. S. Sullivant were coaxed by the Railroad into building two general merchandise stores on this site. 

 The busy little village of Repton soon sprang up around the stores and the railroad tracks as a depot, warehouses and extensive loading pens for livestock were built along the switch tract there.   

This picture was made in 1997, just two years before the railroad tracks were removed.  In the early days, the large stock pens were located to the left of the little depot.  Farmers drove their stock here from as far away as Weston and Bells Mines to be held until they could be loaded on the train cars and hauled to the stock yard in Evansville, Ind.

There was also a Post Office established here and a Repton Baptist Church built a short way from the center of town not far from the little depot office.  The Repton Post Office was discontinued in January 1958, with it become Marion, Route 7 & 8.

In 1957 the Repton Baptist Church was discontinued at this location and a new church was built near the village of Mattoon near Highway 60.  It is still an active church today.

The situation remained static, with population and business centers at Moore's store and Repton in the neighborhood, until the advent of the modern transcontinental highway system with the construction of U. S. 60 in the mind-1920's.

 The new highway bypassed far to the north of Repton, taking the business, which now began to flow more and more on the wheels of the automobile, away from that village. 

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