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Things to do in Silver Rails Country.

"Trains to Planes 2010"

Taking the Southwest Chief to the Depot Inn & Suites Kirksville, Missouri, Regional Air Festival

September 11 and 12, 2010

Text and Photography by Carl Morrison (

Things to do in Silver Rails Country,

While Staying at the Depot Inn & Suites.  Get a map from the Depot Inn & Suites to easily get to these local attractions.

McLorn House in La Plata, MO, built in 1896

(No. 14 on the Silver Rails Country Map.)

(Click any photo below to get a double-sized image; Click BACK in your browser to return to this page.)

One of the things I had not been able to see so far in my many trips to La Plata, MO, was the inside of the Gilbreath-McLorn Victorian House.  The town librarian put me in touch with Ann Bullock in town and she gave Bob Williams and me an excellent tour.

This Queen Anne Victorian style house was built in 1896 for W. T. and Sara Gates Gilbreath, Olive McLorn's parents. It's 12 room feature leaded glass windows, lincrusta wall treatment in the entry way, a carved oak staircase with ornate newel post light, pocket doors, chandeliers and oriental decorations and artifacts. The house cost less than $6,000 to build. Before her death, Olive Gilbreath McLorn formed a trust to safeguard the home and it is used today for meetings by clubs and organizations, and for tours for interested people. The house was added to the national Register of Historic Places in 1978.

Front Entrance

South Side

North Side

Cross Streets

Just inside the door.

Front staircase

One of 3 panels from Asia.

Ann Bullock gave us a tour of the home.

Ann found these figurines in pieces in the basement, glued them together, and they represent characters in an opera in costume.

Olive Gilbreath McLorn's typewriter and a vase made from a funeral urn.

Olive Gilbreath McLorn, owner of the home.

Ann points out Olive Gilbreath McLorn's map of her world travels.

The Olive Gilbreath McLorn's library.

Thank you, Ann, for a great tour.

Doneghy Victorian House is just across the street on Owenby St.

(No. 15 on the Silver Rails Country Map.)

This Queen Anne Victorian was built by John T. Doneghy, a local banker, in 1895. The entire house is trimmed in solid oak woodwork and the sliding doors that section off the downstairs are also solid oak. The wall of a pantry was removed to make the kitchen larger, and there have been some other minor architectural changes. The butler's pantry was split into a downstairs bathroom and utility room, and a small back porch has been added. The house was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1989. Ed Green purchased the home in 1975.

The house was one of several built by the Doneghy family. The second owner of the home was John Surbeck, whose son and daughter, Clay and Villa, lived in the house for several years after the death of their father.

Ed Green purchased the home at a public auction on October 4, 1975, when the only original pieces still in the house were three light fixtures. He has done extensive improvements to the home since his purchase and has filled the entire house with antiques gathered from family and friends and purchased throughout the state.

Historic plaque.

Iron fence with hitching post.

Catalpa tree.

There were many items from the past in their back yard:  Cast Iron table and chairs, wagon wheel, lattice, glider, dinner bell, and hand pump.

Silver Rails Gallery and Memorial Library

Works of Railroad Art and Photography, a railroad gift shop, plus a collection of railroad books and journals.  (#3 on Silver Rails Map.)

109 S. Gex St., La Plata, MO   on the west side of the town square  660-956-4157  (No. 3 on the Silver Rails Country Map.)


Area Code 660

Show-n-Off Photography is right next door.  Enter through the Gallery entrance at 109 Gex St.   Bob or Amy can give you a tour of the Gallery at 660-287-1714 and Train

100 E. Benton St. La Plata, MO.  800-761-4294  (No. 6 on the Silver Rails Country Map.)

Home office of and Train  Take a tour of the warehouse of over 750 different railroad themed party supplies.

The office is south of the BNSF tracks.   Easy to find by its big red roof.

The building has been repurposed as a warehouse.  The short line behind it was formerly where hopper cars would come in to unload product through this elevator.

Just east of the building, across the short line and the BNSF Main Line, is the Chris Guenzler Millionth Mile Lookout.
Right, the sign all Amtrak riders can see as they arrive or depart La Plata, MO.

La Plata Santa Fe Depot/Amtrak Station

535 N. Owensby St., La Plata, MO.  Restored Historic Santa Fe Depot.  (No. 5 on the Silver Rails Country Map.)

The La Plata, MO, Amtrak Station is the dark red roofed bldg. at the top left of this photo.  Follow the road that crosses the tracks near the station, to the right to reach the Depot Inn & Suites.  The red-roofed bldg. in the center of the photo is and The Chris Guenzler Millionth Mile Rail Lookout is in the bottom right of the photo, reachable by road from the Depot Inn and Suites.

Nice waiting room for guests.

The Amtrak Southwest Chief arrives, eastbound, about 9:47 a.m.  and westbound at 8:06 p.m.

Because of the short platform, the SWChief has to make two stops to detrain passengers.  One stop for the sleeping cars in the front of the train, and one stop for the coaches in the back of the train.  Since this is not a full-time staffed station, there can be no luggage checked, so all detraining passengers must drag their luggage on and off the train.

Often, Amtrak trains pull private cars, usally single level.  On this day 5 BNSF Business cars were in tow.

The Missouri River

Fred Harvey

Mountain View

Marias Pass

Glorieta Pass

Private rail cars must be self sufficient, so this set had their own generator car.

Chris Guenzler Millionth Rail Mile Lookout Point

Located at the end of the road behind the Red Rooster Restaurant.  A Cabin and Deck ovelooking the BNSF mainline.  
(No. 4 on the Silver Rails Country Map.)

Above, On this day, I was lucky.  The SWChief had come to the station on the track farthest from the station, so the westbound BNSF Freight had to stop to allow passengers to cross his track.  I got this shot of both an Amtrak train and a freight train at the Lookout.

To get to the lookout, either walk out the west door of the Depot Inn and Suites and walk across the lawn, left, on the old Wabash Right-of-Way to the curved road to the Lookout, or walk from the Depot Inn and Suites, south past the bank and the Red Rooster Restaurant, turn right and walk on the curved road to the Lookout.  The Depot Inn and Suites has a golf cart that you can drive to the Lookout if you like, or you can drive your own vehicle.  There is enough room to turn around at the Lookout.

View West of the Lookout toward the Station.

On the walls inside the Lookout are signatures and dates of visitors to the Lookout. Many of them are fellow Train Travel Meetup group members.  We meet once a month in Fullerton and talk trains.

An unidentified visitor on this day.

Shivam Surve helps run and enjoyed the Amtrak/BNSF meet at the Lookout on this day, shown above.

The Lookout has a screen showing the location of trains in the area (which is also permanently on a screen in the Depot Inn & Suites).  The lookout also has free Wi-Fi, chairs and tables inside and out on the deck, as well as restrooms (above).

 New Business on the Town Square

at 121 J. Street, La Plata, MO

Cast Iron pillars in front have been nicely restored.

The Post Office on the Town Square is Classic

Check the stone work near the top outside when you are there.

Wood carving showing agricultural products of the region at the time.

 Christy's Auction

East 1 block from the Post Office

The store itself is interesting and the Saturdays when they have auctions you can see many Amish in horse and buggies arriving to buy and sell.

A sign, right, announcing a Draft Horse and Mule Sale also is of Amish interests.

A long-time local business.

One of the biggest John Deere Dealerships I've ever seen is at the Junction of Hwys. 63 and 36 in Macon.

Santa Fe Restaurant, Elmer, MO.

The Silver Rails Crew had dinner here together:
Karri, Amy, and Bob Cox, and Matt Melzer.

Good food at the right price.

Pork Steak

Chicken Wings

French Dip Wrap


You may have noticed all the signatures on the walls.  The only place left was near the ceiling, so the proprietor provided a ladder for me to sign.  Photo Credit:  Bob Cox.

Matt found a place to sign near our table.

Photo Credit:  Bob Cox.

Saw this whimsical illustration on the floor near the cash register.  No one died from eating here that I know of.

Nicely landscaped vacant lot next to the Santa Fe Restaurant and brick store front as I left to return to the Depot Inn & Suites in La Plata.

West Winery, Macon, MO, and their Loco-Vino Railroad-Themed Wines

I have a page devoted to the West Winery in this report.  In case you haven't seen it yet, go to:  Click Here

Next Page:  Links for This Report

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