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Columbia, Missouri and Kansas Depots 9/11-14/2023

by Chris Guenzler

9/11/2023 Elizabeth and I slept in at the Best Western in Columbia and after our Internet duties, walked over to Cracker Barrel where I had French Toast and Elizabeth had cinnamon apple French toast. In preparation for our move to Columbia next month, we visited a bank and opened an account then drove over to our new house to meet Travis Wyrick, our real estate agent, who gave us a walk-through and Elizabeth measured a couple of rooms. After that, we drove to Furniture Row where we puchased desks and a comfortable recliner chair for me. Next we visited Target then enjoyed dinner at Jersey Mike's before returning to the hotel where I worked on stories then called it a night.

9/12/2023 Our regular morning preparations started this day before we went to the International House of Pancakes where I enjoyed waffles and pork sausage links and Elizabeth an omelette. We met Travis at Boone Central Title where we signed the ownership papers for our new house. Travis gave us the keys and we walked to City Hall and had the sewer and garbage transferred to our names then drove to the house to wait for Lowe's to deliver our washer and dryer. While waiting, I called the electric company and Elizabeth called Spectrum and she received our home phone number. Lowe's arrived and the workers installed both appliances before we locked the doors to our house and drove to the water department. After that I drove us to Rocheport and our first station of the day.

Missouri-Kansas-Texas replica station built in 1994. We then made our way to Otterville.

Missouri Pacific Otterville station. From here we drove to Sedalia and I visited a station from years ago.

Missouri Pacific caboose 12099 built by the railroad in 1955.

Missouri Pacific transfer caboose 13757 built by the railroad in 1977.

Missouri-Kansas-Texas Sedalia station built in 1872. Sedalia station, also known as the Katy Depot, was designed by New York architect Bradford Gilbert. It is two-and-a-half stories and was built in the Romanesque Revival style, with red brick on a limestone foundation. It has a two-storey, modified octagonal primary facade, slate-covered hip roofs and a broad encircling gallery.

As one of the largest MK&T depots between St. Louis and Kansas City, the Sedalia depot featured a dining room and second-story offices. Local newspapers promoted the depot as proof of Sedalia's importance to the railroad industry. Railroad strikes in the early 1920's weakened the Sedalia economy and the Great Depression sealed the fate of Sedalia's MK&T shops. They would close permanently by 1940. The decline in demand for passenger train service, fueled by the growth of the automotive industry, impacted MK&T and in May 1958, the last MK&T passenger train passed through Sedalia. The historic Katy Depot is the only structure remaining as a reminder of MK&T's once-extensive passenger operations in the city. The depot was renovated between 1998 and 2001 and now serves as the offices of both the Chamber of Commerce and the Convention & Visitor's Bureau.

Missouri Pacific freight house built in 1885.

Missouri Pacific Sedalia station built in 1885 which used to be a stop on the Anne Rutledge and is now served by Amtrak's Missouri River Runner. The depot underwent a drastic remodelling in 1951 that sheared off the second floor, reconstructed the ground floor, added new space and completely did away with any traces of the station's original Queen Anne design in favor of a streamlined Art Moderne aesthetic. The station closed in the 1970's and entered a period of deferred maintenance that threatened its structural integrity. In 1998, Sedalia Downtown Development, Inc (SDDI), a non-profit organization focused on downtown revitalization, began to plan for the transformation of the depot into a multi-modal transportation center. Renovations completed in 2011 created a new Amtrak waiting room and offices for SDDI and OATS, a regional public transportation service.

I then drove us to the Pettis County Fariground for more than we expected.

St. Louis and San Francisco 4-8-4 4516 built by Baldwin in 1943. When the Frisco completed the dieselisation of its locomotive fleet, it placed several 4500s in storage at Fort Scott, Kansas, including 4516, which had made its last revenue run on 29th November 1951. By 1956, it was apparent there would be no need to recall to duty any of the inactive steam locomotives, and three of the 4500s were scrapped in Fort Scott. During 1958, 4516 was sold for $1.00 to the Missouri State Fair Association. Fort Scott shop men cleaned and painted the steam engine, which was turned over to the Katy to deliver to the State Fair Grounds.

Old Smokie Frisco Engine history board.

Missouri Pacific caboose 12073 built by the railroad in 1955. Our next stop was the Tails End railroad display.

Union Pacific Railway stock car 701.

Railroad pump hand car.

Pacific Railroad drovers caboose 11.

A velocipede is also on display.

A working windmill.

New Philadelphia & Reading Coal & Iron 0-4-0T 91, ex. Morris County Central Railroad at Whippany, New Jersey 1968, exx. moved to Newfoundland, New Jersey, exxx. sold to Anthony Citro, built by H.K. Porter in 1925. It was originally built as an 0-4-0T then converted to a 0-4-2 in Kinnelon, New Jersey before being converted back to a 4-4-0 in 2014.

The Trail's End water tower.

The whole train display.

Cattle and a cowboy.

End of the Trail sign.

We left the fairgrounds and on the way to the hotel, passed Delaware Lackawanna and Western "Low Roof" multiple-unit trailer coach 3xx built by Pullman in 1930 which is a restaurant. We went to Colton's Steakhouse where I enjoyed top sirloin and Elizabeth a loaded chicken breast. After a good meal, we checked in the Best Western Inn for the night.

9/13/2023We arose and had breakfast at the International House of Pancakes where we both had waffles then drove to Warrensburg.

Missouri Pacific Warrensburg station built in 1890 from sandstone in the Richardsonian Romanesque style. It has seen several remodels and enlargements, the most recent major change being in 1984 when the baggage section and loading platform were added. The station houses the Warrensburg Chamber of Commerce visitors center and is also a stop on Amtrak's Missouri River Runner.

We next drove to Pleasant Hill.

Missiouri Pacific Pleasant Hill station built in 1903.

Missouri Pacific caboose 13543 built by International Car in 1973.

As we were getting ready to leave, Amtrak's Missouri River Runner train 311 came through with Siemens Charger SC-44 4621, dinette 481651, Venture coaches 4263, an unknown coach, Midwest Venture Business Class 4029, Viewliner baggage 61025 and baggage 600212. We then made our way to Cleveland.

Kansas City Southern Cleveland station which has been relocated. Our next stop was Grandview.

Kansas City Southern Grandview station built in 1912 and is now a museum, featuring artifacts, displays, historical photographs and antiques.

Missouri Pacific caboose 13068 built by the railroad. Elizabeth then navigated us across the state line to Bonner Springs, Kansas.

Union Pacific caboose 25271, nee Union Pacific 3971, built by the railroad in 1952 and donated to Agricultural Hall of Fame in 1989.

Santa Fe station from Morris, Missouri, 8.8 miles away and is part of the Agricultural Hall of Fame. More of Elizabeth's navigation resulted in our last station of the day.

Union Pacific Tonganoxie station. Built in 1868 on the Leavenworth branch of the Union Pacific, it is reportedly the oldest railroad depot in Kansas still at its original location. The trackage was abandoned in 1977.

I then drove us to Topeka and we checked into the Baymont Inn then later walked over to Cracker Barrel where I had the roast beef and Elizabeth enjoyed their chicken pot pie. After dinner I worked on stories before we called a night.

9/13/2023 A good night's sleep was had and Perkins served us breakfast, with me enjoying a waffle with sausage and Elizabeth a Denver Omelette before we drove to the Great Overland Station. We had visited last year but were there before they opened. So we made sure to arrive after opening, paid our admission and toured this incredible station.

Great Overland Station 9/13/2023

By the late 1860s, Topeka was a bustling hub for the railroad. Miles of track connected cities and towns in the state and throughout the nation. Railroads criss-crossed the state, bringing with them a flood of immigrants and goods. Just after the Civil War, African American refugees from the South arrived in Topeka and began settling in the area and other parts of Kansas, becoming known as Exodusters. A group of these refugees settled in Nicodemus, Kansas, which became the first African-American settlement west of the Mississippi. By World War I, roughly 1,850 train depots dotted the Kansas landscape. Built as a passenger station for the Union Pacific in 1927, the Great Overland Station was described as one of the finest on the line. The last passenger train left the Station on May 2, 1971. The building continued to serve as railroad offices until 1988, when it was abandoned. Adjacent to historic North Topeka, the station today houses a railroad museum that bring the people and stories of an earlier time back to life.

This picture of a Santa Fe train on Raton Pass catches your eye as you enter.

There is Harvey Girl display which we will see later.

We walked into the main part of the depot and immediately noticed the chandeliers overhead.

Union Pacific emblems are above each door.

The area where passengers would buy tickets.

Those chandeliers are certainly impressive.

Another Union Pacific emblem above the door.

The other door with a Union Pacific emblem.

Display cases of Union Pacific dining car china.

The banquet room with steam engine lights.

A clock above the exit dooor.

Santa Fe De-Luxe and the Super Chief Turquoise Room advertisements.

Back into the main station.

Kansas and Pacific Railway. We went up the stairway to the second floor where there were displays of all the railways that served the station.

Santa Fe All of Way is featured in the display cases.

The Great Overland Station.

Union Pacific 4-6-6-4 3985.

Union Pacific display items.

War time slogans.

Railroads of Topeka.

Displays, military and station buildings.

A Santa Fe bell.

Chandeliers hang high overhead.

Looking down at an exit door.

The Presidental Seal and pictures of Presidents from Kansas.

Santa Fe Railroad United States bicentennial units.

Railroad offices.

Marketing the Frontiers.

Union Pacific Emigration.

American Railroad for Three Centuries.

Historic locomotives.

The copper bar front from a Santa Fe lounge car depicting a landscape along the Santa Fe route.

Two kinds of marker lights.

Historic locomotives.

A spitoon.

The Harvey Girls display area.

Santa Fe Railroad display items.

BNSF area.

Union Pacific area.

BNSF simulator.

Santa Fe items.

Raised Santa Fe emblem.

Santa Fe train and calendar.

Santa Fe Railroad wall.

An HO model of a Santa Fe train.

Santa Fe Kachina Dolls.

Great Overland Railroad caboose 2010 in the children's area.

Hawkins Junction, also part of the children's area.

Krupp 1881 N.B. & K.C. Railroad piece of rail.

AT&SF name plate.

Santa Fe display case.

Railroad plates.

Santa Fe bicentennial units in Fort Madison.

Santa Fe 4-6-4 3463.

Steam engine and station photographs.

Model of Santa Fe caboose 1982.

Santa Fe 4-4-0 1491.

Union Pacific 4-4-0 945 at Topeka Great Overland Station.

Various railroad pictures.

Kansas Railroad Map 2023.

A railroad bench.

Great Overland Station.

The Military Order of World Wars The Commander-in-Chief.

Topeka Station timeline.

Views of Topeka station.

Prairie Place.

Station views.

Topeka Railroad History.

Pictures of the 1951 Flood that inundated Topeka.

Model of the Great Overland Station.

Map of the Great Overland Station.

After buying a couple of lapel pins, we exited and at that moment, Union Pacific SD70ACe 8670 East with CSX AC44CW 457 passed by north of the station.

An exterior view. There are several pieces of railway equipment on display beside the station, which I did not photograph this visit as we had done so in August 2022.

Santa Fe Welda station built in 1927 and moved from Welda, 82 miles south of Topeka.

As we departed, Elizabeth spotted the Southern Hertiage Unit on an eastbound train so we drove west but returned to a grade crossing where we found our train which was on the move.

Norfolk Southern heritage unit ES44AC 8099 built by General Electric in 2012. We then drove to Wamego where we first found a park train.

We came to the station and asked to ride but we were told adults were not allowed to ride the train, only children, due to the State of Kansas not allowing it. We walked sadly back to the railroad buiding in this city park.

A former Kansas Pacific shop building, now the Wamego Historical Museum, buit in 1867.

Union Pacific caboose 25386, nee Union Pacific 2786, built by International Car in 1964 and donated to the City of Wamego in 1977. Next, we drove to St. George.

Union Pacific St. George station moved back from track along 1st Street. We then proceeded to Manhattan.

Union Pacific Manhattan station built in 1901. Seventy years later, the last passenger train pulled out of the station. Waters from the flood of 1951 were over six feet deep in the building, with the fast-moving current gouging a large hole in the platform. A fire in 1981 did significant damage to the roof and from the mid 1980's until the restoration, stood as an empty shell with no apparent use. In 1993, a community effort to preserve the depot began to take shape and a year later, the Manhattan/Riley County Preservation Alliance was formed with the depot renovation as one of its main goals. Restoration occurred in three phases - over an eleven-year timespan - culminating with the dedication of the restored facility in summer 2006.

From here I drove us to Enterprise where thirteen former Utah Transit Authority cars are being stored by the Abilene & Smoky Valley for new owner, American Heritage Railways. BNSF delivered them on September 3rd and the A&SV took six cars to Enterprise while the remaining seven are stored in Abilene.

Utah Front Runner Comet Car 318, nee New Jersey Transit 1618, built by Pullman in 1971.

Utah Front Runner Comet Car 311, nee New Jersey Transit 1611, built by Pullman in 1971.

Utah Front Runner Comet Car 321, nee New Jersey Transit 1621, built by Pullman in 1971.

Utah Front Runner Comet Car 306, nee New Jersey Transit 1606, built by Pullman in 1971.

Utah Front Runner Comet Car 301, nee New Jersey Transit 1601, built by Pullman in 1971.

Utah Front Runner Comet Car 321, nee New Jersey Transit 1621, built by Pullman in 1971.

Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific maintenance-of-way bunk car 96329, ex. Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific, exx. Tourist Sleeper 2096 1936, exxx. "Bonsal", exxxx. "Bonsall", nee Pullman 12-1 sleeper "Germanton" built by the company in 1910.

Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific caboose 178xx built by the railroad in 1933 and was formerly at Junction City.

The Abilene and Smoky Valley restroom building in Enterprise.

Kansas and Pacific outside-braced box car.

Chicago Rock Island and Pacific two-bay covered hopper 95225 built by the railroad.

Burro crane.

Maintenence crane THC 62.

Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific signal for the former crossing of the Santa Fe Railroad at Enterprise. After this bounty, we drove to Abilene.

Chicago Rock Island and Pacific Abilene station built in 1887, is a combination depot designed to accommodate both passengers and freight on this 45-mile spur stretching from Herington to Salina. It is associated with Abilene's second boom period after the cattle trade was forced out of town and the local economy shifted to agriculture. The depot features a standard plan with Victorian-era Stick style embellishments. The wood-frame building includes multi-textured wall surfaces created by varying patterns of wood siding and shingles, a low-pitched gable roof with wide overhanging eaves supported by brackets, and wood windows with stained glass transoms. It is located across the street from its original location and was moved there in 1959 to accommodate the development of the Eisenhower Presidential Museum and Library.

Abilene & Smokey Valley 40 foot box car 373, nee United States Army, number unknown, built in 1953.

Abilene & Smoky Valley coach 3431 "Chicago", nee Chicago & North Western coach 3464, built by Pullman-Standard in 1947.

Abilene & Smoky Valley open platform-dining car 2002 "Enterprise", ex. Missouri-Kansas-Texas maintenance-of-way dining car X2002, nee Missouri-Kansas-Texas coach built in the 1890's.

Abilene and Smoky Valley caboose 25466, nee Union Pacific 25466 built by the railway in 1959 and donated to Riley County Historical Museum in Manhattan in October 1989, then to Abilene and Smoky Valley upon its start in 1993.

Kansas Historical Marker Historic Abilene.

Abilene & Smoky Valley S1 4, ex. Hutchison Northern 4, exx. Delray Connecting 69, nee South Omaha Terminal Railway 1, built by General Electric and American Locomotive Company in 1945.

Utah Front Runner Comet Car 324, nee New Jersey 1626, built by Pullman in 1971.

Utah Front Runner Comet Car 307, nee New Jersey 1607, built by Pullman in 1971.

Abilene and Smoky Valley S4 6, ex. Empire District Electric Company 6, exx. Vermont Railway 6, nee Chesapeake and Ohio 5107 built by American Lcomotive Company in 1953. It was donated by the Heart of the Heartlands Railroad Museum in Carona, Kansas.

Abilene and Smoky Valley 44 ton switcher 029, ex. Ideal Cement 029, exx. United States Air Force 7411, nee Arkansas Valley Interurban Railway 93, built by General Electric in 1940.

We decided to go down to the engine house and met trip coordinator Dak Dillion and Kevin Madore, a fellow rail photographer from Boston.

Union Pacific caboose 25183, nee Union Pacific 3883 built by Pullman in 1944.

Abilene and Smoky Valley 45 ton switcher 5, ex. North American Coal, exx. Powhatan Mining, exxx. Ideal Cement, nee Oak Ordnance 106, built by Whitcomb in 1943.

Santa Fe 4-6-4 3415 built by Baldwin in 1919, being prepared for the trip tomorrow.

We talked with Dak and Kevin and then Dak removed the ladder.

Final pictures of Santa Fe 3415.

Milwaukee Road coach 656, nee Milwaukee Road 546, built by the railroad in 1948.

A grain switcher moving cars at their elevator.

Unknown passenger car.

Power car 100.

Elizabeth walking over to photograph the switcher. I returned to the car and drove down the road to meet her.

Debruce Grain GP11 8738, ex. National Railway Equipment Company 8738, exx. Illinois Central Gulf 8738, exxx. Iliinois Central 8738, nee Ilinois Central GP9 9231, built by Electro-Motive Divison in 1957.

We then visited the rest of the stations in Abilene, much to Elizabeth's surprise as this was her first time here.

Santa Fe Abilene station built in 1927.

Union Pacific Abilene station built in 1928. President Eisenhower frequently travelled to and from Abilene by train, as a citizen, General and President of the United States. He departed Abilene from this site in 1911, for West Point and his future military career. At that time there was an older three-story depot/hotel building located on the site. Following his death, his body was returned for burial at the Place of Meditation, via the Union Pacific Railroad, arriving in Abilene at this Depot.

California architect Gilbert Stanley Underwood designed this depot and the matching freight depot to the West, in the Spanish Colonial Revival style. Passenger service began in 1929. When the UP Railroad announced intentions to close the depot building in 1986, a community-wide campaign was launched to preserve the depot. Renovation costs were shared equally between city funds and community fund-raising efforts. The Abilene Civic Center was officially dedicated in 1988 as a public-use facility. It has since housed hundreds of meetings, seminars, family gatherings and more. Offices for the Abilene Convention & Visitors Bureau and the Abilene Area Chamber of Commerce are located in the west end of the building.

Union Pacific Abilene freight house. From here we went to the Holiday Inn and checked in. There was no restaurant around that appealed to us so Elizabeth went to Subway and then across the road to Arby's where she bought my meal then called it an early night