After a railroad was completed to Lowell from Boston in 1835, it was promoted to continue on to Nashua. The Nashua & Lowell Railroad completed it's rail line to the new mill city of Nashua in 1838, becoming the first railroad into the State of New Hampshire. The terminal of the railroad was located at the corner of Canal and Main Street, where the railroad built what would become a hub of the city, the Nashua Depot.
With the boom in railroad construction, other rail lines were built from Nashua, with each railroad company having its own Nashua train depot. The three main ones were the Concord Depot, Worcester Depot, and this one, the Lowell Depot. Each name reflective of the company's name and destination of its trains.
The brick building that we're familiar with was built in 1848. The Lowell Depot was unlike the others in the city, it was a community building. Upstairs, the entire second floor was home to the Franklin Opera House. It changed with the times and as interests went towards other entertainment, it did to. In the 1910s, silent movies were shown here, with a piano providing the soundtrack. Constructed during the time when north of the river was known as Nashville, once completed in 1848 it served as city hall.
Over the years, the downstairs space saw a variety of businesses. The New Hampshire Banking Co. (later Indian Head Bank) moved into the depot after it was started by Nashville residents in 1851. This was one of New Hampshire's first guaranty savings banks and was located there until 1893. The depot was also home to the real estate office of E. Ray Shaw, Phil Smith's barber shop, Fagerson's Newsstand, the railroad waiting room, and the uptown office of the Railroad Express Agency.
By 1887, the railroad came under the control of a familiar name, the Boston & Maine Railroad. Because the B&M ultimately came into control of all the railroads in Nashua, it then had itself three Nashua Stations. The Lowell Depot became known as "Nashua, City Station" or "City Station", representative of its location being in the heart of the city.
Nashua has seen its fair share of presidential visits, where back in the day many visited Nashua Union Station over on Temple Street. One notable guest that used City Station was President William H. Taft in 1912 when he laid the cornerstone of the YMCA on Temple Street.
Sadly, like many historic buildings in Nashua, City Station succumbed to fire on April 19, 1931. The B&M didn't rebuild the station and ended up using the station site as a bus lot for the inter-city Boston & Maine Transportation Co. Since the 1950s, the corner of Main and Canal has become a new modern hub of activity... a Dunkin Donuts.
While the passenger station is gone, the City Station freight depot (built in 1860) has had better luck - even brushing fate when it was condemned by the City in 2008. After seeing various uses by many small businesses, Portland Pie Company called the restored building home for a number of years.
The Rail Lines of Northern New England by Robert Lindsell
B&M Railroad Officers, Agents and Stations, July 1, 1923
The Nashua Experience by the Nashua History Committee
Nashua, A Pictorial History by Florence Shepard
Nashua Telegraph, January 23, 1951
Nashua Telegraph, March 17, 1965
Nashua Telegraph, May 8, 1965