The Katy Depot and Katy Trail

Once the Missouri, Kansas Texas Railroad. Depot built in 1911/12. Now owned and operated as
the state hiking and biking trail from St. Charles to Clinton.

The rails of the MKT Railroad reached Boonville on May 31, 1873.  On July 4, 1874, a large celebration was held to dedicate the new MKT railroad bridge.  Thus began a long and prosperous relationship between Boonville and the KATY.

The Boonville station is the only surviving Spanish Mission style Depot on the MKT, or "Katy Railroad" as it was fondly referred to.  A total of five Spanish style depots were constructed on the Katy system.  The other four locations were:  Caddo, OK, Osage, OK, Cleveland, OK and Chanute, KS.  The construction of these five passenger stations, started in 1910 and ended in the 1920's, which marked the height of the Katy passenger service.

The Boonville Katy Depot was built in 1911 and 1912 in a vacant livestock yard.  A large amount of dirt was brought in by the Cochran Construction Co. to elevate this lot to its present level.  Katy employees constructed the 130X39 foot station with many items that were locally available at the time.  The concrete floor support beams are used 60-pound railroad rails.  Some of the land fill was cinders from the old steam locomotives that ran through Boonville.  The brick walkway and the archway bricks were brought in from Coffeyville, Kansas.

In its glory days, the Boonville passenger station was a popular stop for travelers on the way to and from the Southwest.  As many as 25 to 30 trains a day chugged into town.  Traveling salesmen, or "Drummers", came by train with trunks of samples to set up at the Fredrich Hotel on Main Street.  There they displayed their wares for local merchants to make their selections.

By 1958 the automobile had surpassed the iron horse as the most popular form of transportation.  On May 1, 1958, the southbound #5 and northbound #6 passenger trains stopped at the Boonville station for the last time.  Most of the riders that day were traveling for the distinction of being among the last passengers on the Katy.  Then, in the early 1960's, following completion of Interstate 70, the Katy Railroad finally closed the old depot.  Almost a hundred years of passenger and freight service to Boonville came to an end.  Although freight trains continued to run through Boonville for the next twenty years,  the old Depot was only used for storage.  Eventually, the red tile roof and the west dormer started to leak and both were removed and replaced with red asphalt roofing.  Finally, on October 4, 1986, the last freight train labored its way through Boonville.  Thus, the closing of the Katy Railroad presented a rare opportunity to create a hiking and biking trail, the Katy Trail State Park.

In 1994 and 1995 a concerted effort was made to raise funds to restore and preserve the Boonville Katy Depot.  The total project cost for this restoration was $425,000.  On May 31, 1998, the Re-Dedication of the Katy Depot was held, commemorating 125 years of Katy Rails in Boonville.  Now owned by the Department of Natural Resources, the restored Katy Depot houses the offices of the Boonville Area Chamber of Commerce and Tourist Information Center, plus District offices of the Division of State Parks. 

katy depot nite.jpg (58926 bytes)

Click on picture to see larger image.

Another neat link!

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Latest update:  March 15, 2005

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