Denver Rails -The Railroads of Denver and the West
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The Garden City Kansas (GCK) train statiion served by Amtrak, the national railroad passenger system. Located in downtown Garden City all along the BNSF Railway La Junta Subdivision. Originally built in 1907 by the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad, this hip-roofed brick depot, with a wide roof, attractive glass and bay dormers was remodeled in 1957; and renovated again in 2002 and declared a historic landmark by the Finney County Preservation Alliance. It now has a 600-foot long gated platform protected by wrought-iron fencing. The station, which is also used by BNSF Railway, has a waiting room and is staffed by an Amtrak employee. The station is served by AmTrak’s Southwest Chief. Although the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad (now BNSF Railway) already passed through that area, there was no depot or stop when the city was founded. Mail was sent in those early days by means of holding it up on a hook for the trainmen to catch. In 1879, the settlers organized formally as a town and reached an agreement with the railroad to stop there, at which time the town was resurveyed. By May 1, 1879, a wooden frame station house was shipped in from Topeka, and a depot installed in Garden City. In 1885, the depot and freight office were moved to the north side of the tracks, and later added to. However, in August of 1890, this depot was destroyed by fire; a temporary depot was erected and the permanent station was built. Garden City is located on the prairie, in the fertile river bottom to the north of the Arkansas River in southwestern Kansas, and is the seat for Finney County. As with many towns in its day, Garden City sprang up along the railroad line as farmers moved west, busting sod and planting crops. In February of 1878, the Fulton family together with Charles van Trump, the county surveyor, arrived at the site of present-day Garden City, and in March of 1878, presented their claims to the United States Land office. The name of Garden City was proposed because of the lush irrigated garden the Fultons grew, allegedly to spite the cattlemen who opposed the settlement of range lands there. Garden City today is one of western Kansas’ largest, a trade center in a heavily irrigated farm and dairy region growing wheat, sugar beets and alfalfa. It has a gas and an oil field, cattle feedlots, and hide-processing and meat-packing plants. Its manufacturing plants produce farm machinery, cultured marble, and fertilizers. The city also boasts an agricultural experiment station, the Lee Richardson Zoo, and the Sandsage Bison Refuge and Wildlife Area. Author Truman Capote temporarily resided in Garden City and traveled here by train in order to cover court trials described in his best-selling book, In Cold Blood.
(submitted by phOTOGRAPH_oF_tHE_dAY on 06/29/11)
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