FIRST RAILROADS CHARTERED - THE ATCHISON TEN YEARS IN BUILDING - THE GRANGER LINES - PACIFIC LINES - THE SANTA FE SYSTEM - THE "JOY ROADS" - THE "KATY" SYSTEM - THE "FRISCO" BUILT - FIRST RAILROADS STARTED FROM WYANDOTTE - WHEN THE "K. P." REACHED LAWRENCE - ASSASSINATION OF HALLETT - HALLETT'S VISIT TO PRESIDENT LINCOLN - EASTERN CAPITALISTS INTERESTED - HALLETT A RAILWAY GENIUS - FIRST COUNTY GRANT TO THE MISSOURI PACIFIC - BUILDING THE SANTA FE - WHEN THE MEMPHIS WAS BUILT - THE NORTHWESTERN - WHEN THE ROCK ISLAND CAME - THE CHICAGO-GREAT WESTERN - RAILROAD VALUES AND TRACKAGE - GREAT RAILWAY SHOPS AND TERMINALS - THE GREAT STILWELL ENTERPRISE.
EASTERN CAPITALISTS INTERESTED.
From Washington, Samuel Hallett went to New York, and raised a large capital for the Kansas Pacific, Thomas Durant representing it. On his return, he stopped at St. Louis and induced John D. Perry and others to invest. On his arrival at Wyandotte, a large and enthusiastic meeting was held, in which it was resolved to push forward the work. George Francis Train was one of the speakers.
The sudden death of Hallett was a serious blow to Wyandotte. It was claimed by many, and has been by many denied, that a letter was found at Quindaro written to Talcutt, from persons in Leavenworth, offering him money to kill Hallett. Be that as it may, Leavenworth felt chagrined over the boom at Wyandotte, and immediately after the beginning of work there by Hallett, it is said, a large delegation of prominent citizens of Leavenworth called on him and offered him large inducements to return there, Samuel Hallett was spoken of by many as a gentleman of culture, who made friends wherever he went. It is said that at one time he figured in London in stocks of some kind, and was arrested for debt. Later he negotiated loans in England and in Spain to build the Atlantic & Great Western Railway. His family spent most of their time in Europe, and at the time of his death they were in Paris. Later they returned to Hornellsville, New York. His son, Samuel Hallett, Jr., came to Wyandotte and married a sister of Hon. E. L. Bartlett.
There can be no doubt that Hallett was a man of exceptional business capacity and success, but his methods have been called in question by some, and it has been claimed that he was not so blameless in the trouble with Talcutt as his friends would have had him appear.
Mr. John Speer, writing to the Topeka Commonwealth, said: "I think the story of President Lincoln showing Samuel Hallett a letter from Talcutt in a familiar way is exceedingly thin. I do not think Talcutt ever wrote to the president, and if he had done so Hallett was not in the habit of walking into the executive chamber and familiarly reading Old Abe's letters. From memory, the circumstances, or rumors of them, were these: Mr. Talcutt was chief engineer of the Kansas Pacific, representing the capitalists - the principal of whom was John D. Perry, of St. Louis; or he may have represented Fremont, or both. Hallett, in his imperious way, had demanded that Talcutt should make an official report of progress of the work entirely inconsistent with the truth, under oath, either to get the first subsidy of $16,000 a mile, for twenty miles, from the government, or to secure more money from the capitalists by representations that the first donation of $320,000 was due. This Talcutt positively refused to do. Hallett left for Washington, attempting to get the proof in some other way, but, when there, met a report of Talcutt in the proper department which entirely blockaded his little game. Samuel Hallett then telegraphed to Thomas Hallett to whip Talcutt. Tom Hallett, being a burly, stout man of two hundred pounds, and Talcutt a little feeble man of not over one hundred and twenty-five pounds, the former proceeded at once to chastise him, and gave him an unmerciful whipping.
Talcutt awaited the arrival of Samuel Hallett, and "laid for him" with a rifle, and shot him dead in the street, just after he passed him. It was a deliberate, premeditated act, but the whipping by Tom Hallett was unmerciful and undeserved. I do not believe there was any reason for the story that some one in Leavenworth hired him to do the deed, though that story was told at the time. If Talcutt had been tried at the time, with the evidence of his excited condition, amounting almost to insanity, and of this terrible provocation fresh in the public mind, I doubt if a jury could have been found to convict him.
The first mention of a railroad in the records of Wyandotte county after it was organized was in 1865, as follows:
To the Board of County Commissioners of Wyandotte County, State of Kansas: The Missouri River Railroad Company, a corporation duly chartered and organized under and by virtue of the laws of the state of Kansas, has surveyed and located, and is about to construct and build a railroad from the state line between the states of Missouri and Kansas, at a point within the county of Wyandotte, to the city of Leavenworth, in the county of Leavenworth, and a portion of said line or road will pass through the county of Wyandotte; and the said company now desire to procure the right-of-way, and to acquire title to the lands necessary for the construction of the said railroad. Now, therefore, the said company by the undersigned, the president thereof, and in pursuance of the statutes of the state of Kansas in such case made and provided, hereby apply to your honorable body to forthwith proceed to lay off the said road and the lands necessary for the same, its side tracks, turnouts, depots, water stations, etc., as surveyed by the engineer of the said company, and that you at the same time assess and appraise the damages to the owners of the land so to be taken and used for such railroad purposes, to the end that the said railroad company may obtain the possession, right of way and title to the lands necessary for the construction of said railroad.
"Signed by S. T. Smith, president."
"County commissioners' notice to lay off the route of the Missouri Railroad in the county of Wyandotte: Pursuant to the application of S. T. Smith, president of the Missouri River Railroad, made on the 13th day of November, A. D., 1865, the undersigned, the county commissioners of Wyandotte county, will at 11 o'clock A. M., on the 18th day of December, A. D., 1865, proceed to lay off the route of the said railroad and the lands necessary for the same, its side tracks, its turnouts, depots, water stations, etc., as surveyed by the engineer of said company, and will at the same time appraise the damages to the owners of the lands so to be taken and used in said county, as provided in the statutes of the state of Kansas, in such cases made and provided.
"Signed by Francis Kessler and Joseph Grindle, chairman and members of the board."
The board of county commissioners caused a notice to be published in the Wyandotte Commercial Gazette, a newspaper published in Wyandotte county, weekly, more than thirty days before December 26, 1865, and in pursuance of said notice, on the date mentioned, they proceeded to the point of intersection of the route of said Missouri River Railroad with the Eastern division of the Union Pacific Railroad, and thence over the whole route of the proposed road to the western boundary of the Wyandotte reserve; examined each tract and appraised and awarded the damages separately to each of the owners of lands through which the route had been surveyed, irrespective of any benefit to said owners from the construction of the railroad.
The flurry of excitement caused in Wyandotte by the building west, along the Kansas river through Wyandotte county, of the Kansas Pacific, and north along the Missouri river of the Missouri Pacific, had not died out before a line was constructed along the south side of the Kansas river to the west, The Kansas City, Topeka & Western was the name which gave the great Santa Fe system its first start in this section. This company, incorporated in the seventies, succeeded to the rights of the Lawrence & Topeka and the Kansas Midland and built the stretch of sixty-six miles from Kansas City to Topeka to connect at that point with the Santa Fe which already had been constructed from Atchison across the state to the Colorado line. But instead of being a mere connection from this point to the main line, it really became the main line and the most important piece of track for traffic on the Santa Fe system. In a few years the Southern Kansas had threaded the south half of the state and extended down through the Indian country to Texas and the Gulf Coast, with lines to be operated as a part of the Santa Fe system. Then came the building of the air-line to Chicago, under the name of Chicago, Santa Fe and California, giving the Santa Fe system a line from the great lakes to the Pacific coast. And with the development of these came the building of the terminal in Wyandotte county reaching from Turner down through Argentine and Kansas City, Kansas, to the state line, and on in Kansas City, Missouri, to within a block or two of the Union depot.
In the spring of 1866 work was commenced on the Kansas City, Fort Scott & Gulf Railroad at Rosedale and Kansas City. The line, with its terminals, was built along the Turkey Creek valley through Rosedale to Olathe, twenty-one miles, in that year. This was afterward extended southeast through Fort Scott and Springfield and on to Memphis and Birmingham, and it became the shortest and most important line to the southeast and the port of New Orleans. A few years ago the Kansas City, Fort Scott & Gulf became a part of the Frisco System as it is today.
The work of constructing the Kansas City, Wyandotte and Northwestern Railway began in 1885, with Major E. S. W. Drought as the builder and chief local promoter. It was the original intention, as its name indicated, to give an air line to the northwest with the Black Hills country as the objective point. Under various administrations the line was extended to Virginia City, Nebraska, to a connection with the Rock Island; then built from St. Joseph to Beatrice. That was as far as the Northwestern was extended. The company failed and the road passed into the hands of a receiver, from whom it was purchased by the Jay Gould interests and made a part of the Missouri Pacific.
In 1889 the Chicago, Kansas & Nebraska, building across the state from St. Joseph through Topeka to the southwest corner, leased trackage over the Union Pacific from Kansas City, Kansas, to Topeka for a connection here. The line, after 1,100 miles had been built, became a part of the Rock Island system which was entering Kansas City from the east and north over the tracks of the Hannibal & St. Joseph and the Kansas City, St. Joseph and Council Bluffs. Before the real estate boomers at this point were aware of the significance of the move, $1,000,000 had been expended for terminals in the Armourdale part of the city.
The next line to come this way was the Chicago-Great Western, known as the Maple Leaf. It obtained a 999 years' trackage lease on the Kansas City, Wyandotte & Northwestern from Leavenworth to Kansas City, Kansas, and began at once to operate trains between Kansas City, Kansas, Minneapolis and Chicago, constructing expensive terminals in Kansas City, Kansas.
About this time the Missouri, Kansas & Texas, known as the "Katy," sought an entrance to this point by building from Parsons to a connection with the Kansas City, Fort Scott & Gulf and entering Rosedale over the tracks of the latter line. The terminals of the "Katy" were built in Rosedale.
In the years while the railroads were building out through Wyandotte county into Kansas north, south and west, the railroads from the east - the Missouri Pacific, Burlington, Wabash, Alton, Milwaukee, Rock Island, Kansas City Southern and Frisco - were building into Kansas City, Missouri, from the east, northeast, south and southwest. Thus the present great railway center, straddling the state line, was builded, with a promise of soon becoming one of the leading railway points on the American continent.
The total value of the railway property in Wyandotte county for purposes of taxation was fixed by the Kansas board of railroad assessors for 1910 at $10,876,482. The total mileage of main lines is only 79.87, by reason of the fact that the county, the smallest in Kansas and irregular in shape, has a length of only sixteen miles from east to west and its greatest width is eight miles. The Chicago-Great Western, the Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific and the Missouri, Kansas & Texas, three important railway systems, enter the county over leased lines and have no main lines of their own. The Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe has three tracks on its main line, through the south side of the county, and the Union Pacific has a double track system. The Missouri Pacific also is double-tracking its main line along the Missouri river through Wyandotte county. These railway lines had more than 244.39 miles of sidetrack, in 1910, and since then more than sixteen miles of side track have been added, all of which, if linked together, would make a line that would reach from Kansas City to St. Louis. The following figures indicate the value of property and the mileage of main and side tracks of the lines in Wyandotte county:
|Santa Fe, (Leavenworth Branch)||1.64||.35||78,766|
|Missouri Pacific (K. C.-N. W.)||18.60||9.21||1,019,321|
|Missouri, Kansas & Texas||1.00||8.39||150,853|
|Kansas City Terminal||2.37||12.77||859.101|
|Kansas City Southern (Belt)||4.53||11.71||324,220|
Of the eleven railway systems represented in the foregoing, four have extensive shops in Kansas City, Kansas, which represent more than $2,500,000 of the assessed valuation and employ more than 2,000 men; these are the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe, the Union Pacific, the Missouri Pacific and Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific. The other railroads have repair shops and tracks suitable for their respective needs.
The railway lines have six great steel bridges spanning the Kansas river in Kansas City, Kansas, each costing not less than $500,000, while two other bridges are contemplated. One is to be constructed by the Edgewater Terminal Railway Company for the Missouri Pacific, and the other, by the Kansas City Junction Railway Company, both near the month of the Kansas river.
These lines all maintain separate freight and passenger stations in Kansas City, Kansas, and Rosedale, and efforts are now being made to bring about the building of a Union passenger station for the former, by the Kansas City Terminal Railway and Union Depot Company. This company is now constructing a new Union station in Kansas City, Missouri, which is to be used by all of the lines entering Kansas City, Kansas, and Rosedale. The railroad lines in Wyandotte county also maintain freight stations and trackage in the Missouri Kansas City.
The Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway Company has the best equipped and most extensive system of terminals at this point, reaching from the state line through Kansas City, Kansas, to Turner, with fine passenger and freight depots, roundhouses, repair shops, a car-icing plant, elevators and live stock feeding yards.
The Union Pacific railway terminals extend from the state line west through the length of Kansas City, Kansas, with outside yards at Muncie. The Armstrong railroad shops, erected in the early days when the road was building up the river valley from Wyandotte, are the largest plants of the kind in Kansas City. The company has plans for the erection in the near future, of a magnificent passenger station at Seventh street and Scott avenue.
The Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific uses the Union Pacific tracks between Kansas City, Kansas, and Topeka; the Burlington tracks to Cameron for its Chicago line, and its own tracks for its St. Louis line. The company's extensive terminals parallel those of the Union Pacific in Kansas City, Kansas. Its shops, roundhouses, freight stations and elevators were recently built, and are thoroughly modern in construction and equipment.
The Missouri Pacific system, which includes the Kansas City, Wyandotte & Northwestern, has terminals along the Missouri river from Quindaro to the state line, with its cypress yards in the Kansas river valley at Kansas City, Kansas, beside freight yards in the East Bottoms of Kansas City, Missouri. It has recently been enlarging its system of terminals in Kansas City, Kansas, under a subsidiary corporation known as the Edgewater Terminal Railway Company, which has erected a new passenger station at Third street and Washington boulevard, with entrance to trains facing the old Wyandotte levee, where steamboats landed passengers in the early days, and within a few rods of the place where the Constitution hall stood.
The Chicago-Great Western had been using the tracks of the Kansas City-Northwestern Railroad from Leavenworth to Kansas City, Kansas, for fifteen years, but recently has been utilizing the main line of the Missouri Pacific to Leavenworth. Its trains enter the passenger station of the Missouri Pacific in Kansas City, Kansas, but the company has extensive freight terminals of its own along the Missouri river from the North Bottoms of Kansas City, Kansas, to the state line, and across into Kansas City, Missouri.
The St. Louis & San Francisco, entering Kansa's City through Rosedale, has extensive terminals straddling the state line. The Missouri, Kansas & Topeka, using the St. Louis & San Francisco tracks from Paola to Rosedale, has constructed fine terminals in Rosedale.
The Kansas City Terminal Railway Company, which recently succeeded the Kansas City Belt Railway Company, is enlarging its system on both sides of the state line, while engaged in erecting a new Union station for Kansas City, Missouri. In the Armourdale district of Kansas City, Kansas, extensive plans have been formulated for bringing the railroads to a common meeting point and carrying their passenger traffic across the Kansas river to Kansas City, Missouri, on an elevated structure. These plans as originally announced provided for a Union station for Kansas City, Kansas, but no announcement has been made to the date of this publication as to what is to be done to carry out the plan. The company, however, has acquired an extensive body of land in the Armourdale district for shops, a roundhouse, a large freight depot and several miles of tracks for freight handling.
The Kansas City Southern Railway Company, fifteen years ago, took over the belt railway system constructed by the Union Terminal Railway Company in Kansas City, Kansas. This valuable property, reaching the stock yards, packing houses and many of the large industries along the Kansas river valley in Kansas City, Kansas, is now operated in connection with that railway system from this point to the Gulf of Mexico.
In 1903, when Arthur E. Stilwell was promoting his great Kansas City, Mexico & Orient Railway, as an air line from Kansas City to the Pacific coast, he chose Kansas City, Kansas, as the future location for the terminals of that line. The Kansas City, Outer Belt & Electric Railway, then organized as a terminal Company, acquired a right-of-way through Kansas City, Kansas, from the mouth of Jersey Creek at the Missouri river to the Kansas river, at the west limits of the city. The right-of-way, including lands purchased and condemned, involved an expenditure of about $500,000. More than $500,000 also has been expended on grading and placing this roadbed in condition; so, on the completion of the Orient line in the near future, the terminals also will be made ready for use.
Recently several important moves have been made on the part of other great trunk lines toward obtaining entrance to this territory, which have resulted in several new plans for terminals for the use of these lines. One of these, organized in Kansas City, Kansas, as the Kansas City Junction Railway Company, acquired about 600 acres of land, at a cost of more than $300,000, in the Missouri river bottoms at North Kansas City, Kansas, this tract to furnish sites for shops, roundhouses, freight handling houses and extensive railroad yards. The purpose of this company was to construct a short line to St. Joseph on the east side of the Missouri river to provide entrance to the city for both steam and electric railways. A charter for a bridge to span the Missouri river at the north terminals of Fifth street in Kansas City Kansas, was obtained, and the right-of-way for the line to St. Joseph was purchased and is now being graded. No official announcement, however, has been made concerning the construction of the proposed bridge and terminal system.
Home Page for Kansas
Search all of Blue Skyways
The KSGenWeb Project