Back in the day the first impression of a town was often made from the train depot. Create your own agenda for visiting passenger-train depots. The long-ago mode of transportation has nearly disappeared except for re-created historic train rides and the Amtrak.
In Hoboken, New Jersey, a locomotive ran along a test track in 1825. Thereafter, railroads became a part of our heritage. Touring depots can be centered on small-town depots; big-town stations, or just follow the tracks!
Three big-town-depot suggestions, easily reached in a day, might include: Jefferson City, Columbia, and Boonville.
Located at the Jefferson Landing Historic Site in Jefferson City, rail enthusiasts can visit three restored vintage landmarks. The Union Hotel has the waiting room in the ground level next to the railway tracks.
The hotel has housed the Amtrak waiting room and the Elizabeth Rozier Gallery for Missouri art and culture exhibits. The old Lohman Building is part of the Missouri State Museum.
It had once been a store and warehouse as well as a tavern and early hotel. The nearby home is that of the family of Christopher Maus who was the early owner of the Union Hotel. The Landing is located at 101 Jefferson Street.
Check out the Dinner Train at 6501 North Brown Station Road in Columbia. Here participants can “recapture the romance of a by-gone era while watching the Missouri landscape roll by your window.” The train uses 1938 Pullman cars to treat customers to a variety of dining menus while traveling the tracks. Reservations are needed prior to departure.
Twenty minutes from Columbia is the Boonville Missouri, Kansas, Texas Railroad depot.
The passenger station is the only Spanish Mission-style station of the Katy Railroad. Completed in 1912 it had as many as thirty trains a day stopping at the depot.
It is now home to the Boonville Chamber of Commerce.
Create a trip that just follows some of the old tracks. The Richland depot was used by the St. Louis-San Francisco Railway Company.
The town was established in 1889. The depot was Number 160.
The Number 152 Frisco railroad depot was at Swedeborg. The circa 1878 town is a Swedish settlement and railway point between Richland and Crocker.
Interestingly, the train station number, or mile post, was equivalent to the miles from St. Louis. The first railroad in the southern part of our area was in Stoutland in 1869.
Within the archives of the Camden County Historical Society and Museum is the personal notebook diary of W. E. Sharp.
It is a daily account of his first train ride from Richland to Jefferson City and his week’s stay for his appearance before the Grand Jury in 1872.
Page 2 of 2 - “8:19 p.m., Monday, Mar. 4, 1872 finds me for the first time in life on a R.R. train ready for a ride. I had scarcely seated myself when the train was under motion. I had thought I would be at a loss how to act or behave myself in this new situation. But knowing that when we are in Rome we must do as the Romans - so I soon decided how to conduct myself. I had a strong desire to look around but seeing the others sitting lazily around I dropped into my seat and did likewise. About 4 a.m. March 5, 1872 found me at Franklin 127 miles from Richland the place at which I first entrusted my mortal frame to a R.R. train. …train thundered along at a fearful rat carrying us up the bottoms and along the banks of the Missouri River just about as fast as I cared about going upstream, passing several stations. …A few hours ride brings us to Jeff City and alighting from the train I met my friend E. W. Craig who escorted me to the court house…”