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Nostalgia & History > WAG Wednesday: a depot in twilight

Date: 07/11/18 09:14
WAG Wednesday: a depot in twilight
Author: santafe199

By 1984 Santa Fe’s branch line depots around Kansas were beginning to “drop like flies”, as the saying goes. In the fall of 1981 I was on some sort forgotten railfan outing when I (we?) came across the depot in Cunningham, KS. This was on the Wichita District of the old Plains Division. The early evening sun was setting, but I did a walk-around photo study anyhow. In the fall of 1984 our own ‘wag216’, namely Art Gibson passed through Cunningham under very similar circumstances. And he did the same kind of photo study. Note the train order board in my shot (image #4) is still in place in Art’s shot 3 years later. After the great depot purge of the 1980s quite a few of Santa Fe’s branch line depots had been razed. But there is good news concerning this depot. Some of the purged depots were saved, but moved off site. And the Cunningham depot was one of the lucky ones.

I did the standard Google Maps street view for Cunningham. Looking west at the Elliot St crossing we can see all of the buildings from Art’s shot (image #1) are still in place. Including the derail & close clearance signs! But there’s a big gaping hole where the old Santa Fe depot once stood. I asked a fellow SFe train serviceman & railfan when this depot was torn down. He told me it was actually saved and converted into a museum. Looking closer at the street view we can see a tantalizing corner of the old depot between the right-hand elevator and the cluster of small buildings further to the right. The Cunningham depot now resides a block west of South Main St on (appropriately enough) Atchison St. And that red train order board is still there…

1. Looking at the SE corner of the AT&SF depot in Cunningham, KS.

2. Looking just a bit north of due west, straight along the Wichita District we see a sunset developing, with the Cunningham depot in the right-hand twilight.

3. Sunset is just minutes away as ‘wag216’ has very ARTfully composed into a stark silhouette scene. Complete with the Eye of God looking back at us…
Photos 1-3 taken September 24, 1984 by William A. -Art- Gibson (WAG Jr).

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/11/18 09:16 by santafe199.

Date: 07/11/18 09:19
Re: WAG Wednesday: a depot in twilight
Author: santafe199

Tagging along:

4. The sun is setting on the operator’s bay window.
(My shot taken October 10, 1981)

Thanks for looking back!
Lance Garrels (santafe199)
Art Gibson (wag216)

Date: 07/11/18 10:45
Re: WAG Wednesday: a depot in twilight
Author: valmont

Image 3 = IOTD

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/11/18 11:15 by valmont.

Date: 07/11/18 13:30
Re: WAG Wednesday: a depot in twilight
Author: bmarti7

valmont Wrote:
> Image 3 = IOTD



Date: 07/12/18 00:44
Re: WAG Wednesday: a depot in twilight
Author: Evan_Werkema

The relocated depot:


I really envy scenes like these.  I started chasing Santa Fe depots in 1985, and by then most of the damage had been done.  With a bare handful of exceptions, Santa Fe's classic small town frame depots had either been torn down or relocated.  I shot them regardless of where I found them, but I only got a few chances to shoot an on-site, intact depot+elevator scene like the ones above.  Looking back now, nearly all of the ones I did get are gone now, too.  Wonder how Ness City is faring these days.

Date: 07/14/18 12:19
Re: WAG Wednesday: a depot in twilight
Author: Ritzville

NICE series!


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