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Depots East of Columbia 2/4/2024

by Chris Guenzler

We decided to go for a drive and made a plan to photograph some new stations. Elizabeth drove us out to Hermann via Interstate 70 and soon we were at our first depot.

Hermann station which is the visitor information center and the Missouri River Runner Amtrak station. It became came a permanent stop on September 28, 1991 when the Mules and Ann Rutledge began stopping there; trains had previously stopped only during Hermann's annual Mayfest and Octoberfest.

A rebuilt station was approved for construction in 2006 and opened on September 12, 2014. The one-story depot features a random rubble stone veneer base, walls clad in traditional clapboard siding and a hipped roof. The waiting room is trimmed in bead board wainscotting and there are also accessible restrooms. Displays trace the area's transportation history, with a focus on the Missouri River, railroads and roadways. Funding for the project came through the Federal Highway Administration's Transportation Enhancements program, the city of Hermann and the Dierberg Educational Foundation, a local non-profit organization that supports projects to preserve the region's cultural heritage.

Hermann Depot historical board.

Close by is Missouri Pacific caboose 13538 built by International Car in 1971, which houses a museum that opened in 2022.

Historical board for the caboose.

A statue of a Pullman Porter beside the caboose. I next drove us to Gerald.

Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Gerald station built in 1909. The Rock Island Railroad was completed through Gerald in March 1901. In 1902, a depot was built but it was destroyed by fire; the present depot was erected to replace it and was operational until March 1975, when the Rock Island Railroad filed for bankruptcy. Scheduled for demolition, the Gerald citizens wished to preserve the historic depot, raising funds to move the depot to the present location. This depot, the only remaining original Rock Island Depot left on the Rock Island line and a part of the City of Gerald Heritage, is maintained by the Chamber of Commerce.

Information board on the depot. We continued our journey, this time to Washington.

Missouri Pacific Washington station built in 1923. The previous passenger depot, of wooden frame construction built by the Pacific Railroad in 1865, was moved on log rollers to make way for this current passenger depot. This older building was completed to replace the original station from 1855, which had been burnt in General Sterling Price's raid during the Civil War. Now sitting next door to the passenger station, it has been used as a freight depot since its move in the 1920's. Some say it is the oldest standing wooden railroad depot west of the Mississippi River.

The freight station information board.

Texas and Pacific caboose 2306 built by the railroad painted as Missouri Pacific 11122.

Missouri Pacific freight house information board.

Missouri Pacific Washington freight house built in 1865.

The plaque on the building.

The Missouri Pacific station information board. We made our way to Pacific.

The replica Pacific station that houses restrooms and shelter, built to resemble a depot.

Union Pacific 7674 East came through while we were there.

Burlington Northern caboose 12435 built by International Car in 1971.

Chicago, Burlington and Quincy model T-19 speeder 14510 built by Fairmont and added to the railroad display in 2018. From here I drove us to Labadie and our next station.

We thought this was the depot but were mistaken.

The Rock Island warren through- truss bride across Labadie Creek built by Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railroad in 1904.

Missouri Pacific Labadie station at 128 Front Street. Although the railroad laid tracks through Labadie to Washington in the mid-1850's, it is believed that this combined use depot was built in 1890. Next we proceeded to Marthasville for the final station.

Missouri-Kansas-Texas Marthasville station built in 1893. The Missouri River washed away all remains of the original village of La Charette many years ago. When Lewis and Clark were there, the mouth of Charrette Creek was across the river and perhaps seven miles upstream from where it now enters the Missouri opposite the present town of Washington. The town, named after George Washington, was platted in 1827 on the site of a Spanish fort, San Juan del Misuri (St. John's of the Missouri), which existed there from 1796 until 1803.

Burlington Northern caboose 12276 built by International Car in 1978 which is home to KT Caboose, serving snacks and ice cream. Before that, it was an antique store in Hannibal. We stopped in Truesdale but were unable to find the station then Elizabeth drove us back home to Columbia.