Thursday, August 29, 2013

Visiting in Sedalia

I left Jefferson City around 10 AM on my way to Warrensburg, Missouri to see people who were with me in Poland this year. I couldn't meet anyone until 3:30 so decided to stop in Sedalia, a town right along the way. I had found on the internet that there is a small museum there in an old train depot. So glad I stopped.

The depot is a beautiful building. On the arcade I found three old, decorated pianos.

The one above is dedicated to gospel music.

Stepping inside I found a gift shop and a guide, probably a volunteer, anxious to tell me about the building. She explained that the room we were in had originally been the men's waiting room, a room to the left being the room in which women and small children would have waited for trains.

To my right was a room in which railroad staff could get food 24 hours a day. Then continuing on to the right would be the kitchen in which all food was prepared for the two dining areas in the hotel. The very last room was the public dining room. This room was used by train passengers, since when train service first began there were no dining cars. Secondly, it was the fanciest restaurant in Sedalia so if "you wanted to impress your boss or make a proposal to get married, this is where you came."

I enjoyed seeing the exhibits and the decor.
Above is the spectacular fireplace in the staff lunch room.

Here's how luggage used to look!

And this exhibit explained that we call something like this a trunk because the first ones were literally made out of tree trunks! I had never before wondered why we called something for moving personal goods or clothing a trunk.

Above is a menu from the 1950s.

And I learned that once there was a college in this town called George Smith for African-Americans. It operated for about 30 years, but ceased to operate in 1925 when it burned and funding could not be found to replace the buildings. Scott Joplin is one of the most famous students to attend this school.

In posters around the women's waiting room I learned this depot was built by the Missouri, Kansas and Texas railroad which traded on the stock exchange as KT and thus comes references today to the Katy trail and the Katy State Park. Sedalia was an important railroad town for many years because here the east-west traffic crossed the north-south traffic. At one time there even was a workshop for making train cars including train engines in Sedalia.

The depot closed in 1958 when the last passenger train rolled out of town. For the next 20 years it was used by the Boeing Company as a location related to its ballistic missile business. Then it sat vacant and deteriorating for about 30 years until it was restored by the community. I'm so very glad the community could save this valuable piece of history.

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