Just as promised in my last posting, since I also had a hospital visit to make there, the Legacies On The Rails Road Show destination yesterday was historic Downtown Lee’s Summit, Missouri. Hometown of my buddy Fred Liggett, of the Lee’s Summit Tribune. Anytime that I can visit a depot that is for one of the railroads that I have family history in, that’s always an extra plus for me and since the one there is the former Missouri Pacific Depot, I was thrilled.
Not only that but this has now become another of my favorite regular spots to visit for rail-fanning, as Union Pacific trains, much like they do at the depots I have visited in Weston and Parkville, rumble by there multiple times a day, and my timing was perfect as I had just stepped out of my car when it was clear that my first video catch of the day was upon me, with the blast of a UP 7982’s air horn. Here are both videos that I took during my visit.
The former Missouri Pacific Depot in Lee’s Summit is third generation. The very first depot was a box-car. Later a wooden building that later burned, and was then replaced by the current brick structure that like the depot in Parkville,housing its Chamber Of Commerce, this one currently houses the Lee’s Summit Chamber Of Commerce. One of their ladies was kind enough to oblige me in taking my photo shown above with the caboose that sits next to it. The Depot is currently undergoing renovations. When I asked if someone could share with me about the history of the depot,I was directed to Kathy Smith-Executive Director of the Historical Society Of Lee’s Summit Museum http://www.leessummithistory.net/ .
Kathy was so gracious in taking time to ask if I needed anything as I looked around the facility, where a Lee’s Summit Veterans display is currently housed, as well as in taking time to share the information I sought with me. I was thrilled to find out that the museum is housed in a former WPA Post Office since I have been studying the 1930’s as I eluded to in my last posting in preparation for doing the 1930’s murder mystery ride wit the St Louis, Iron Mountain & Southern Railway on 4/25/15.
Kathy shared about how important the railroad has always been to the city of Lee’s Summit. It helped them rebuild after the ravages of the Civil War. A time period that saw the likes of Cole Younger and Bloody Bill Anderson. And Dr Pleasant Lea. Ir brought jobs, and made sure that farmers could ship their goods, receive supplies, and send equipment out for repairs and get it back. It has provided for the transportation of people, and still does today with the Amtrak Missouri River Runner coming through several times a day. It is one of the reasons behind the rich history of Lee’s Summit. History represented by murals like these on buildings around town. Speaking of Cole Younger, Kathy Smith was also well acquainted with our own Cathy Kline of the Cathy Kline Art Gallery, as Cathy Kline also has a Cole Younger mural there in town, which I missed on this trip but hope to catch next time.
I also found this mural inside the Lee’s Summit Historical Society Museum by Aileen Franklin-which is among many of her circa 1960 Lee’s Summit history murals including The Community Church, The First School, Dr Pleasant Lea, Early Settlers, and The Star Route.
Unfortunately, like some of my other Legacies On The Rails Road Show trips, a technical issue bit me in that the audio of my conversation with Kathy that I thought recorded and that I planned to upload as Legacies On The Rails-The Podcast Volume Two did not record. Even If I had known this as soon as we were done, she would not have had time for a re-take. I should have taken video to upload to You-Tube as I seemed to be doing well with that on the day. But, more opportunities will come very soon when I return to the Lee’s Summit Historical Society Museum to help bring several railroad artifacts up from their basement to display on the main floor.
I hope you have enjoyed this snipit of the fabulous history of the railroad in Lee’s Summit, Missouri. I assure you that like my blogs about Kansas City Union Station’s Model Rail Experience, (which I hope to return to soon if my personal schedule allows), there will be much more Lee’s Summit highlights to share in the near future!
I’m John Losh, reminding you to keep leaving Legacies……On The Rails!