Where the cats hang out
This is the east side of the old L&N freight depot in Hopkinsville, Kentucky. Most recently, a portion of it was used as a video store. As far as I know, the building is now unoccupied.
When the depot was in active use, the docks on the east side of the building (photo above) were used for loading freight that was leaving the depot and for unloading freight that was arriving to be shipped.
The train stopped beside the freight docks on the opposite side of the building to load and unload. It appears that the docks had big sliding doors that could be closed and locked (photo at right.)
The L&N passenger depot was a little farther down the tracks -- the gray-green building on the right. When the train stopped, passengers could get on and off while the freight was being handled.
A soft heart for cats
On the morning that I took these pictures, I saw ten or so feral cats gathered at the rear of the building. Soon, a man pulled up in a Jeep Cherokee and filled some water and food dishes under the steps (left photo below.) Then I realized that the cats were waiting for him.
The cats and their caretaker reminded me of an article that was in the newspaper a couple of years ago. When I got home, I looked it up. The man whom I saw is surely the man whom the newspaper article was about -- Wallace Henderson, who feeds the feral cats of downtown Hopkinsville in several locations. One of the places the newspaper article mentions is the old L&N freight depot:
Next, from Clay Street, Henderson heads for the old L&N freight station on Ninth Street. The cats slink behind a fence and hurdle across the railroad tracks when he arrives.
Henderson is content to let the cats watch him from a distance. They are too wild to trust him.
"I have not named any of them, but I am concerned if I don't see one that I am used to seeing," he says.
At this spot, the cats eat from a dry spot below a set of metal steps. It looks like rain today, so Henderson pushes the food bowl well beneath the steps.
Quoted from "Feline Feed" by Jennifer P. Brown, Kentucky New Era, December 19, 2006. (Subscription required.)
At the time the article was written, Mr. Henderson said he had been feeding the cats for ten years. If you look closely at the small photo above, at right, you can see one of the cats crossing the railroad tracks after he has had his morning snack.
Related post: Hopkinsville's Railroad