Carlinville’s oldest surviving dept still serves the city
CARLINVILLE (Aug. 24, 2017) – With Carlinville set to open its new train station, a depot that began operations in 1906 continues to serve the city by housing a thriving Carlinville business.
Carlinville native Marsha Crane has cut hair for 35 years, but it wasn’t until 1999, when she was able to purchase the old depot from the city of Carlinville, she became ingrained in the city’s history. Crane considers the history of her building, located at 125 North West Street, as much a part of her business as the shears, lotions and makeup inside it.
“I thought this building would be a great building for my salon. I bought it from the city. I moved my business from North Broad Street to here in 1999. I can’t believe it’s been that long ago,” said Crane. The depot was the original home of the Illinois Traction System (ITS), which later became known as Illinois Terminal Railroad. “I love the history of my building as much as I love my business.”
The Body Depot Salon and Spa is a full-service salon, but it didn’t start out that way. Although she started out offering hair services and tanning beds, following her move, Crane expanded her business to include services like massages, facials, waxing, manicures/pedicures, makeup and spray tans.
The salon is a distributor of Bare Minerals, a national makeup brand. Crane considers her business lucky to be able to carry the brand in this area. Zum, which is a maker of bath and personal care products, is another exclusive line she is able to offer for her customers.
When Crane says The Body Depot Salon and Spa is a full-service salon, she means it, explaining she sometimes holds classes for her customers in order to teach them how to use the products and tools available to them.
To accommodate the additional services, Crane did a small expansion of the building’s north side, where the loading dock used to be. The spa is located in the back of the building. Maintaining the building’s integrity is important to Crane, who is a member of the Illinois Traction Society. She has used the building to host member gatherings so those who wish to view the structure have an opportunity to do so.
“I have a lot of people that stop to look at the building for its historical nature. I love that part of it,” said Crane, adding, “I try to keep the nature of my building a landmark or monument. That’s my goal because I feel like that’s what brings people to town. To have something historical, something old, something you can’t see somewhere else. This building is a one-of-a-kind building.”
Crane appreciates people who visit the business just for the history it provides. There are pamphlets available giving a brief history of the building and the ITS in Carlinville.
Even though The Body Depot isn’t located on the square, Crane works hard to promote the square, knowing people who stop in Carlinville for its historic buildings might like to see her building as well. “I feel like that’s [the square] what we have to offer that nobody else has. I think it’s so easy to get complacent with your surroundings and not realize what you have. I think we get so used to driving around our square that we don’t realize how great our square is.”
The depot was built by William McKinley, who also built the McKinley Bridge, which crosses the Mississippi River at St. Louis. Part of the original bridge now serves as the railing in front of The Body Depot, further strengthening the building’s historical significance.
Crane speaks fondly of her staff. “I have a great group of girls here. We do a lot of things together. We work out together. We socialize together.”
Giving back is also important to Crane, as she has used her business to support charitable causes. “We’re trying to do a little more charitable work. We’ve done some things for the American Cancer Society before. We’re all pretty involved. We all kind of have a lot of faith in trying to work together.”
The Body Depot has a staff of six people and they are open Tuesday through Saturday. They can be found on Facebook and at their website, bodydepotsalon.com. Their phone number is (217) 854-2175.
Marsha Crane leans against the railing that was part of the original McKinley Bridge over the Mississippi River at St. Louis. William McKinley also built the depot in Carlinville, home of The Body Depot Salon and Spa.