Monday, June 29, 2015

Historic Sites II – Headed West on US 50

Continuing along US Hwy. 50 from St. Louis to Kansas City…and checking out the railroad depots and historic and/or interesting structures along the way…

While I wouldn’t call this “Eight-Ball” Water Tower historic, it sure is different…and original too!  It can be found in the town of Tipton Missouri.
This water tower originated in 1968, when Ewald Fischer (a native of Tipton) built his billiard table factory, the Fischer Manufacturing Co., a major U.S. builder of pool tables.  The company was purchased by Spalding and the plant closed when Spalding sold it in 1976.  By then, the water tower had been repainted. But the residents of Tipton wanted to have their eight ball back, so it was painted again.  The water tower is generally regarded as the world's largest eight ball!

Tipton is named for William Tipton Seely, a businessman from nearby Round Hill.  He’d received the land where the town is located for his military service in the War of 1812.  FYI…Tipton was an eastern terminus of the coast-to-coast Butterfield Overland Mail when it was launched in 1858.

This dilapidated structure is the former Missouri Pacific freight depot in Otterville Missouri.  It was moved to this site adjacent to the grain elevators from its original location and its being used for storage.  The nearby tracks are now used by the Union Pacific Railroad.  Given the construction details/timbers evident underneath the exterior shingles, this is a very old structure.

Otterville was platted in 1837.  The town was named from a nearby creek which once had large numbers of otters in and around it.  Otterville’s estimated population is right around 450 residents…

This beautiful old railroad depot is located at 600 East Third Street in Sedalia Missouri.  The Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad, (The KATY Line), came to Sedalia in 1873.  This limestone and brick Romanesque Revival Style depot officially opened on May 10, 1896.  This popular gathering spot served the community for more than 60 years.  The last passenger train departed from the Depot in 1958, 57 years ago! 

The old KATY Depot was offered for sale in 1983.  The Missouri Department of Natural Resources took title to the building in 1987 as part of the Katy Trail State Park.  If you were to follow the path of the old MKT railroad, you'd see that the tracks have been removed and the route has been converted into a walking and biking trail.

The exterior of the Depot was restored in 1998 and the interior renovation was completed in 2001.  The Depot is now the home to Sedalia's Welcome Center and proudly features “Heritage Exhibits”, which opened in June of 2003.   The exhibits are designed to represent the way railroads influenced the community.  The Depot also contains a gift shop that sells Sedalia related souvenirs as well as Missouri made products.  As you might imagine, this beautiful depot is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

On the other side of the coin, this is Sedalia’s Amtrak Station.  It is served by the Missouri River Runner with 4 trains daily, 2 going east and 2 going west, connecting St. Louis and Kansas City. 

How old do you think this depot is?  I was stunned to learn that the Missouri Pacific Depot was constructed in back in 1886!  However, in 1951   it was drastically remodeled, shearing off the second floor, rebuilding the ground floor and adding new space, completely doing away with any traces of the station's Queen Anne past.  The depot’s look can now more appropriately be termed as “Art Moderne”, the industrial streamlined architecture that was popular in the United States from the 1920s to the 1950s.

This is the Amtrak passenger waiting room in Sedalia.  It was unattended but it was clean and orderly.  This depot served 12,322 passengers in 2013.
Sedalia, the county seat for Pettis County Missouri, has a population of about 21,500.  It is the home of the Missouri State Fair and the annual Scott Joplin Ragtime Festival.


·       Renowned Ragtime musician Scott Joplin was from Sedalia.
·       Notorious old west gunfight, Clay Allison was also from Sedalia.
·       In the 1983 TV movie “The Day After”, Sedalia is destroyed when the Soviet Union attacked the Minuteman II Missile silos around the area. At the time of the movie's release, 150 of the missiles were located in the Sedalia area in underground silos.
·       Sedalia also was featured in 2 films from 1977: “Heroes”, starring Henry Winkler and Harrison Ford; and the TV movie “Scott Joplin”, starring Billy Dee Williams.
·       In the TV series “Rawhide”, Sedalia was featured as a destination for cattle drives.
·       The first Boy Scout Troop in Missouri (and one of the first in the nation) was formed in Sedalia in 1909, a year before the national organization was officially chartered. 

To learn more about Sedalia and it’s interesting history, you can go to,_Missouri.

I just liked the look of this building, the former J.A. Lamy Manufacturing Company.  It sits right behind the Amtrak Depot near downtown Sedalia at 108 West Pacific Street.   

It was built in 1893 as the Mackey Shoe Company.  Hundreds of Sedalians worked and supported their families as employees of the J.A. Lamy Manufacturing Co. since the business moved into the building in the late 1800’s.  The company was a traditional apparel contractor, manufacturing garments for such companies as Montgomery Ward (my former employer), J.C. Penney, Sears Roebuck and the United States Military.  Then for 50 years it was a contractor working exclusively for Levi Strauss & Co. before closing in 1998.  The interior has been greatly modified and the building is being used by a number of businesses. 

That’s it for this posting… Just click on any of the photos to enlarge them.

Thanks for stopping by for a tour of a small part of western Missouri.

Take Care, Big Daddy Dave


  1. Several years ago, Tom Brokaw drove route 50 for a documentary and I've thought it might be an interesting RV trip.

  2. David this look like a lovely and interesting place!

  3. Dear Dave, Sounds like you and Laurie enjoyed these choices. I know I certainly would like the wings.
    I hope that you and Laurie have a wonderful July 4th. Blessings, Catherine