Monday, January 9, 2012

On the Mainlines by William B. Claycomb & Katy Depot Historic Site edited by Deborah Biermann

Claycomb, William B. On the Mainlines: Railroading in Sedalia, Missouri. Sedalia, MO: Sedalia Heritage Foundation, 2003.

Biermann, Deborah, ed. Katy Depot Historic Site. Sedalia, MO: Sedalia Heritage Foundation, 2002.

Two small books describe the import of the railroads to the town of Sedalia, Missouri, and one of the architectural remnants that era, the Katy Depot. On the Mainlines by William B. Claycomb and Katy Depot Historic Site edited by Deborah Biermann are published by the Sedalia Heritage Foundation.

Neither book has the volume to be comprehensive histories of Sedalia railroading, though only the most die-hard devotees of railroad or Missouriana might read such a book. For the more casual reader, Claycomb’s monograph has lots of interesting tidbits about both of the major railroads that operated in Sedalia. Each short chapter covers an element of the railroad operations there, the depots, the shop yards, even the railroad hospital. A few stories and anecdotes are thrown in to spice it up.

Katy Depot Historic Site focuses on one structure and its part in the Sedalia rails. Built by the Missouri, Kansas & Texas Railroad (MKT or Katy), the depot was once hub of activity with rails running on both sides and features that might normally be found only in larger stations. Now it’s part of a state park and sets on an open stretch with easy access to a trail that follows the old rail line. The book briefly covers the history of the depot and the efforts of local organizations to preserve it.

Sedalia was built with the hope of attracting the railroads. The Missouri Pacific was the major railway, but the Katy railroad was also significant to the town. Sedalia’s fortunes rose and fell with the railroads, too. The state fair still attracts travelers to the town, and if you’re there you might check out some of town’s preserved railroad heritage.

If you’re interested in these books, you may also be interested in
Dreams of Iron and Steel by Deborah Cadbury