Monday, October 6, 2014

Railway Depots and More Along the Way

It’s been awhile since we’ve been out cruising along the back roads and byways through a new area of the country… When we do, we always look for historical structures listed on the National Register of Historic Places; railroad depots and other related structures or equipment, and; quality small town dining.

When we visited our son and his family at their new home in Omaha, we took a couple of days off after our Labor Day sojourn with them and then headed west.

This bright yellow Diesel Locomotive belongs to Frontier Coop, a company with 20 different locations in Nebraska.  I took this photo in the village of Mead, which has a population of roughly 600 people.  Every little town in Nebraska seems to have big grain elevators and many of the larger facilities have their own locomotives for use in shuttling and loading grain cars.

This is the grain elevator in Mead.  Frontier Coop’s operation in Mead, all of which is along the tracks, includes a chemical plant, liquid fertilizer storage and a dry fertilizer facility.  The Union Pacific Railroad provides mainline freight service to and from Mead. 

The problem I had was that my Internet research told me that there was a former railroad depot in Mead…

This is it!  Despite Mead being a small town, we just didn’t pick up on this structure and connect it to the railroad.  It wasn’t next to the current tracks and we just missed it!  It looks like a great use was found for the building...

I copied this photo from a very nice website that contains a plethora of depot photos from around the country, all with an interactive map!  It’s called ‘Dynamic Depot Maps’ and you can check it out at

This classy and well maintained depot is located in Wahoo Nebraska.  This depot was built in 1887 by the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad and it’s listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The railroad arrived at Wahoo in 1876.  Eventually three railroads found Wahoo's location ideal for their needs, dissecting the county like a giant pie.  The Union Pacific branch line from Valley to Lincoln was first.  By 1886 the Chicago and North Western established a Fremont to Lincoln line through Wahoo, and the next year, the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy built a branch line connecting Schuyler and Ashland.  Currently, the Union Pacific is the only railroad operating through Wahoo.

This is a view of the Wahoo Depot from the other side of the building.
Wahoo was founded in 1870 by predominantly Czech, German, and Scandinavian settlers.  The town has a population of about 4,500 and it’s the county seat for Saunders County Nebraska.  This is the only city in the world named Wahoo…

The town's name either comes from the eastern wahoo, a shrub found on the banks of Wahoo Creek, or from an Indian word meaning "burning bush". (The first attribution is from Wikipedia and the second is from the Wahoo Chamber of Commerce)

With the demise of the caboose in the USA, just about every town that wants one has one on display.  This well maintained caboose is located next to the Wahoo Depot.  The Depot is part of the Saunders County Museum complex.  To learn more about this museum, you can go to:

Trivia: Darryl F. Zanuck, Academy Award–winning producer, writer, actor, director, studio executive, co-founder of 20th Century Films was born in Wahoo in 1902.  He played a major part in the Hollywood studio system as one of its longest survivors.  He’s credited with such movies as The Grapes of Wrath; How Green was My Valley; Twelve O’Clock High; All About Eve; The King and I, and; The Longest Day.  His son, Richard Darryl Zanuck, was also a film producer who is best well known for his 1989 film, Driving Miss Daisy.

We’d been following Nebraska Highway 92 west from Omaha with plans to follow NE 15 south to Seward Nebraska.  Instead, I diverted north to the well-named town of David City.  This is the only city in the world named David City.  It was named for an early settler.

This is another former Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad depot.  It was built in 1915.  The Union Pacific line from Valley Nebraska arrived in town in 1877, followed by the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy line from Lincoln in 1880, and the Chicago and North Western line from Fremont in 1887.  Freight service is still provided by the UP and Burlington railroads.

Active rail lines still bracket this depot.  One is a siding and the other is a main line track.  As you can see, this building now serves at the Butler County Historical Museum.  However, I couldn’t find a website for the Museum or Historical Society. 

Trivia: Two people of note who came from David City were Ruth Etting and Joyce Hall.  Music lovers may remember that Ruth Etting was an American singing star and actress of the 1920s and 1930s.  She had over 60 hit recordings and her signature tunes included "Shine On, Harvest Moon", "Ten Cents a Dance" and "Love Me or Leave Me".  Too many, including my wife, Joyce Hall had a more important historical role, perhaps even a critical one… She was the founder of Hallmark Cards!

That’s about it for now… Just click on any photo to enlarge it.

Thanks for stopping by for a visit!

Take Care, Big Daddy Dave  


  1. Good that the old depots are still in use.

  2. Hi, Your blog has brought back memories today. We live about a 2 hour drive from Omaha. We liked to just get in the car and take a drive. I didn't care which direction we went as long as I could get home at night. My hubby loves trains and anything relating to trains. I remember visiting Wahoo, Nebr. I like the two lane because you can see more. Thank you for sharing. Hugs and Prayers from Your Missouri friend.

  3. I agree with Larry. It's good that the old depots are still in use. My favorite of the ones you showed was the one in Wahoo. You must have quite a collection of pictures of old depots.

  4. I love all these especiallty that say "David city" :)))