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  • Last modified 21 days ago (July 25, 2018)

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MARION HISTORICAL MUSEUM PHOTO

Built in 1887, this frame depot offered the town’s first regularly scheduled passenger service on what eventually was known at the Rock Island railroad.

All aboard!

Marion’s first passenger train station

The historic Santa Fe depot that now is home to Marion’s city library was not the town’s only train station.

When the area’s first regularly scheduled passenger trains arrived in July 1887, conductors were shouting “All aboard!” from this station on the Chicago, Kansas and Nebraska Railroad, later known as the Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railway.

The original 22-by-89-foot building was constructed earlier that year at Washington St. and now-abandoned Pine St., a block west of Walnut St. Tracks at the old station site still are used by the Union Pacific Railroad.

Initial service went from St. Joseph, Missouri, to Wichita. As many as five miles of track were laid per day in the spring of 1887 to get the railroad operational.

A spark from a passing engine caused a fire that destroyed the north half of the building in 1911. A caboose temporarily was used as the station while the building was reconstructed.

The depot continued to serve the area until it was razed in May 1960 and replaced by an all-metal building. That depot was closed, and the building sold and moved to another location, in May 1964, after all passenger service had ended.

One of the more notable uses of the depot occurred in 1909, when residents were urged to go hunting one Tuesday in January.

In an old-time twist and the modern notion of a food bank, all rabbits they shot and took to the depot were placed on trains and delivered free of charge to the Salvation Army in Kansas City for distribution to the needy.

Last modified July 25, 2018

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