Frank S. Nichols
Flora Depot Architect & Builder
The man who is directly responsible for designing and building Flora’s historic three-story brick railroad depot is a name from Flora’s past that most residents today know nothing about. Frank S. Nichols was born in Rushville on Dec. 30, 1873. He spent his early manhood in and near Rinard, south of Flora, where he farmed and followed his favorite pursuit, carpentry. He moved to Flora in the fall of 1900, working as a carpenter. On May 18, 1902, he married Sallie Burton. The couple later had a daughter, named Eileen.
Being public spirited and involved in civic activities, Frank Nichols was elected mayor of Flora in 1913. He is described as a quiet and unassuming man, cheerful and devoted to his family. Owner of a construction company, Nichols built many structures in Flora. Sidewalks, originally installed in the town, were constructed by his firm. Some of the original sidewalks still existing today retain the imprint logo of his company.
The B&O announced in April 1916 that it would build a new, modern brick depot in Flora and the structure was to be completed by 1917. Nichols took on the project. It is believed he designed the beautiful three-story structure himself, and no expense was spared. However, when the impressive building was finished, it was reported to have caused Nichols to declare bankruptcy. Three years later, in 1920, he moved his family to Kokomo, IN., where he continued work as a carpenter. He died two years later, on Aug. 24, 1922, being stung to death by wasps as he was working to tear down an old barn for a customer. He was 48 years old. Survivors of his immediate family included his widow, daughter, mother, two brothers and three sisters.
His time in Flora was brief, from 1900 to 1920, but his visual impact on the city lasts to this day in the Flora depot and those original sidewalks still utilized that bear his company’s logo in the city. Frank S. Nichols, 1873-1922.