Monday, August 17, 2015

Historic Sites in Marysville Kansas (#3)

Marysville was our last stop in Kansas before we moved up into southeastern Nebraska…and eventually our son’s home in the Omaha area.  We visited the sites of 3 more locations that are listed in the National Register of Historic Places. 

This Mission Style building is the former Union Pacific Railroad Depot in Marysville.  It was built in 1927.  The town owes much of its prosperity over the years to the railroad. The railroad has been a major employer in the town for nearly 100 years.  Even today, over 60 trains pass through the town daily. 
However it took a while for all that rail traffic to come to town.  It all started with the completion of the “Topeka Cutoff” in 1911.  Constructed through some difficult terrain including part of the Flint Hills, this route cut about 100 miles off the coast to coast journey. 


·       Two United States Presidents have come through Marysville by train…President Theodore Roosevelt in 1912 and President Franklin Roosevelt in 1943.

This is a view of the back of the Depot.  I was encouraged to see some people working around the building, taking measurements and talking about needed refurbishments.

This classic depot almost fell to the wrecking ball!  Union Pacific had been set to demolish the building.  Passenger service was eliminated in the 1960s.  The depot has sat completely vacant since 2009. 

In the Marysville City Council voted to approve the purchase of the depot from Union Pacific for $151,000.  The railroad company also agreed to pay for the removal of the building’s exterior asbestos and lead paint.  The plan was that after the deal closed, the depot would be sold to the Union Pacific Depot Preservation Society for $20,000.  Part of this agreement allows the city to retain the surrounding land which can be sold to adjacent businesses and used for future development.

The old Marshall County Courthouse is located at 1207 Broadway in Marysville Kansas.  This 2-story Romanesque red building is highlighted with the 5+ story 8-sided tower over the front door.  The building was completed in 1892. 

This building served as Marshall County’s courthouse for nearly 90 years. By the 1970s many felt that it had outlived its usefulness and was too expensive to maintain.  The Marshall County Historical Society took the lead in generating public support to save it.  Eventually the county built a new courthouse next door and in 1979, the old courthouse was deeded to the Historical Society.
Over $200,000 has been spent since then to preserve and maintain it.  Initially some of the rooms were converted to display the growing collection of county history artifacts.  It’s now a full-fledged museum with 21 display rooms.


·       When the cornerstone for this courthouse was laid in July 1981, 3,000 people were there for the ceremonies and a parade!

·       The bonds that were issued back in 1890 and 1891 to help finance construction of the courthouse weren’t retired/paid off until 1941.

The Koester House/Museum was built in 1876 in four different stages as a wedding present from Charles Koester to his new bride Sylvia.  The house, at 919 Broadway, is decorated with items that all belonged to members of the family that lived there.  The brick retaining wall was built around the house in 1883 to keep water from Spring Creek from entering the property when the creek flooded.

Charles Koester was born in Germany in 1841 and he arrived in Marysville ca. 1859.  Mr. Koester was a merchant and a banker.  He served as the Marshall County Register of Deeds as well as County Treasurer.  He was also elected as a town Councilman and he served several terms as Mayor.

In 1878, a newspaper from Kansas City called the home’s yard to be the “most beautiful yard in the country”.  Many of the flowers and trees are still in place from their original plantings, including a buckeye tree that has been there for over a hundred years.  The Koester’s youngest daughter married but continued to live in the house her father had built until she died in 1968… Heirs donated the house to the city of Marysville in 1972, which explains the original furnishings.

The Marshall County Historical Society operates 3 museums in Marysville: The Pony Express Barn; The Old Courthouse, and; the Koester House.  The Pony Express Barn and the Koester House are closed from November through March except via appointment.  The Website for these museums is at
For the next leg of our trip, we’ll be exploring part of Nebraska.  Just click on any of the photos to enlarge them…

Thanks for stopping by for a visit!

Take Care, Big Daddy Dave


  1. I would love to visit Kansas! Reminds me of the song Kansas City by Fats Domino! :) Have a nice day David!

  2. Interesting, Dave! The buckeye tree got my attention since I'm a native Buckeye! Don't think I've seen one that old. The Koester House is beautiful and I see the name engraved on the step. Mr Koester was definitely a successful man! Take care and have a great week!

  3. Pretty old Victorian home and well kept too. Sounds like a perfect little town to stop and have a look around. You always manage to make the facts fun too David.