If you've spent any time in Marshall, Texas, chances are you were traveling through the town on Highway 80. Yes I know, US-59 runs through there too, but Hwy 80 stretches for miles from Louisiana through far East Texas. As you drive right through the heart of Marshall, you may have caught a glimpse of a 2-story building covered in vines with rows of boarded up windows. I've seen this building multiple times, and now I've just got to know...what the heck is it? Or 'was' it?

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A Not-So-Inviting Exterior

First off, from the street, it looks like something right out of a horror movie. I haven't been through this area at night, but I can imagine it looks much worse. The building sits about 50 yards back from Hwy 80, but it feels like if you look hard enough, you could catch someone looking back at you. Well, maybe.

I've only lived in East Texas 5 years or so, but anyone I've ever asked about the building has told me it was a school or an insane asylum. With the boarded up windows, neither of those stories really felt welcoming.

So what was this building?

I did some digging in order to answer my own question. According to Doorway Into The Past, a blog dedicated to answering questions like this regarding places all over the state of Texas, this building was the Texas & Pacific Hospital dating back to the 1920s. It's said to have been closed in the 1960s, and at one point used as a juvenile detention center. However, for the most part of the last 60 years, its sat empty.

Credit: Postcard
Credit: Postcard

The T&P Hospital served the employees of the Texas & Pacific Railroad. If you take a look at pictures of the back and side of the hospital (you can see it by clicking here), this story makes a lot more sense. There's a covered path and side building that was the emergency room entrance and parking spaces for ambulances.

What's the building's future?

According to the Marshall News Messenger, the owner of the building is interested in selling it. However, there's a small, but very large, problem: asbestos. Because of that, once a safe approach is determined, chances are the T&P Hospital won't be standing much longer.

T&P Railway Shops Fire marks 50-year anniversary

Marshall acknowledged another anniversary this year - the April 1, 1971 fire that destroyed the T&P Railway shops.

“The evening will go down in history as the saddest and most depressing day for the Texas & Pacific Railway family in Marshall, a day that sealed the fate for what remained of Marshall’s massive and proud shops,” Daryl Ware, a Marshall Depot board member, told the Marshall News Messenger.

The blaze caused $5 million in damages. Ware said that the blaze could be seen from "Elysian Fields and probably seen from Caddo Lake, Harleton and Hallsville.”

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