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A stay at the Kingsley Inn 12/18-19/2007

by Chris Guenzler

After three wonderful nights at the Depot Inn & Suites in La Plata and following an excellent breakfast at the Red Rooster, I went on-line and checked the Southwest Chief which was running about an hour late. At 10:25 AM Harold drove me back to the Amtrak Station to wait for my train to Fort Madison.

First a westbound BNSF freight came through La Plata.

It was followed by a westbound UP double stack train.

I heard an Amtrak's horn but another westbound BNSF freight passed through La Plata just as Amtrak came into view from around the corner to the west.

Southwest Chief 4 12/18/2007

The Southwest Chief came into La Plata with engines 3 and 147, Baggage 1756, Sleepers 32115, 32071 and 32043, Diner 38050, Lounge 33001 and Coaches 34090, 34045 and 34029. I boarded and put my bags in the 34090 but rode in the Lounge Car almost to Fort Madison. I read a couple of chapters of the book "Guiding Light, Jonathan's Story" before I did a pair Sudoku puzzles and relaxed the last few miles to Fort Madison. I detrained here but did not know what to expect.

Looking down the Fort Madison Platform.

The Fort Madison Station.

NS power on the waiting train to be crewed eastbound.

Motive power behind the station.

The Mississippi River was off to the east.

A pair of views inside the Fort Madison Station.

Another NS power set came by the back of the station.

Another UP westbound stopped in Fort Madison to change crew. About that time the owner of the Kingsley Inn, Fayek Andrawes, drove up to drive me to the inn after the local taxi cab company never bothered to return phone calls from me or the Kingsley Inn. He told me the interesting history of Fort Madison and the old town Santa Fe now included in the city. We stopped at a Car Wash to rinse the salt off of the car before he drove me to the Kingsley Inn.

The Kingsley Inn 12/18/2007

The Kingsley Inn from the northeast.

The view of the Kingsley Inn from across the highway.

The front desk at the Kingsley Inn.

Two views of the lobby.

I went up these stairs to get to my room but let us take a moment to review the history of the Kingsley Inn.

History of the Kingsley Inn

The Kingsley Inn is located in a building that was built in the 1850's and served as the Troy Laundry. The fur vault still survives in the basement. The Kingsley Inn was started in the location by a group wanting to preserve the riverfront heritage along the Mississippi River in Fort Madison. The rooms are decorated in mid-Victorian style with furnishing from that era. The staircase was rescued from local homes and business. The large mirror in the lobby came from Bernard B. Hesse & Sons Men's Clothing and several faux fireplaces relocated from a small hotel in East St Louis and the lobby furnishing came from a lodge in eastern Illinois. Each room is named after one of the historical figures in Fort Madison such as Meriwether Lewis, Zebulon Pike, Francis Scott Key and Mark Twain.

My Room, the Lt. Zebulon M. Pike Room

My room was the Lt. Zebulon M. Pike named after the explorer who led the expedition up the Mississippi River in search of what later became Iowa. Pike held a council with the local Indians to let them know about the future building of Fort Madison.

The view from my room, the BNSF mainline and Mississippi River.

The bathroom in the LT. Zebulon M. Pike Room. I watched a little television before I took a walk to see Fort Madison along the Mississippi River.

Before I left two doors down the Morning Room where breakfast is served 7AM to 9AM weekdays and 8AM to 10 AM Saturdays. Sunday breakfast is served in the Alpha's Restaurant next door.

Off the lobby is the Emporium which we will look at later. Next I headed out of the Kingsley Inn to take my walk around Fort Madison.

My first train was another UP westbound.

Next a Peoria and Western Railway Company train headed east for home rails.

On display Santa Fe 4-8-4 2913.

The Santa Fe Bridge is a railroad/highway bridge across the Mississippi River.

The rear of a BNSF train crossing the bridge into Illinois.

Another view of Santa Fe 4-8-4 2913.

I took a picture of the Kingsley Inn from Riverview Park.

I saw the Old Fort Madison.

I saw the Old Santa Fe Station now a museum but the future Amtrak stop in town and three blocks from the Kingsley Inn.

The old CB&Q Station now an art gallery.

A view of both stations in Fort Madison. I stopped by the Fort Madison Post Office before I returned to the Kingsley Inn and my room. After a few minutes I decided to take pictures of The Emporium off the front lobby.

There is a Christmas Tree on the first landing on the stairs. Now we will visit the Emporium for a look around.

A unique vase on each side of the door greets you to the Emporium.

There are tables with chairs for all to use and a Pool Table in the Emporium.

Unique art work from Ancient Times is on display at the Kingsley Inn.

There is a little desk with unique art work on it.

There is a computer station free to all guests of the Kingsley Inn.

Also here is a Grand Piano.

There are couches around a chess board.

The television with the couches around to sit on as you watch.

A desk with books you may look at during you stay.

Santa Claus keeps a close watch on the pool table at the Kingsley Inn.

Items above the display cases of the unique collection housed at the Kingsley Inn.

A New York Yankee Clock caught my eye next. I then walked back into the lobby.

There are chairs in the lobby.

There are many unique pieces of art work to be found at the Kingsley Inn.

The Front Desk of the Kingsley Inn.

Holiday Decorations are up at the Kingsley Inn.

At the main entrance to the Kingsley Inn. I went back in the room and I waited until it was time to go to Dinner.

Click here for Part 2 of this story