It's the general consensus of the local people in the area that "the railroad built Bunkie."
By the early 1870s, Captain Samuel Haas, who had been active in the Civil War, became the largest landowner in this part of Avoyelles Parish. In 1882, the Texas and Pacific Railway was seeking the right of way across Haas’ land to build the railway. In exchange for permission to build, Capt. Haas was given the privilege of naming the train station (depot).
The railway served as a significant source of transportation for many businessmen, and the depot was a critical point of travel, primarily south to New Orleans and north to Shreveport. Bunkie served as a central location for passenger service.Legend has it that the Captain, returning from a trip to New Orleans, brought his small daughter a toy monkey. In her excitement, his daughter mispronounced the word monkey with "Bunkie." From then on, she was his little Bunkie, and when time came to name the new depot, Capt. Haas suggested his daughter’s nickname, naming the depot and the town as we know it today.
Immediately after completion; the railway was hectic with activity. Bunkie was situated in the heart of some the South’s best farmland. The railway freight office stayed busy shipping local products such as, cane, cotton and corn. Passenger service continued to thrive.
The Depot as it stands today, was built by the Texas and Pacific Railway in 1911 on Main and Oak Streets. It included a telegraph office, and continued to be the main center of commerce and transportation for Avoyelles Parish through the 1950s.
As airlines dominated the transportation industry, passenger service was discontinued in 1968 by Union Pacific. The depot remained closed for many years, although the railway was very active transporting goods. It remained a vital part of the community.
All types of activities surrounded the depot ranging from logging and crop production, to mail delivery. In 2001, The City of Bunkie, Bunkie Chamber of Commerce and Union Pacific Railroad collaborated and remodeled the building and the surrounding grounds. Since then, the Bunkie Chamber of Commerce has called the depot home.
Inside is a small railroad museum, and the beautiful landscape outside pays tribute to the town's veterans and the railway industry.
On April 16, 2011, the Bunkie Depot celebrated its 100th birthday. The City of Bunkie and the surrounding areas are proud to sustain a piece of railway history.