MARION HISTORICAL MUSEUM PHOTO
Wide-open spaces surround this early predecessor to the Santa Fe railroad depot that ultimately become home to Marion’s library.
Before rails turned to trails
This building, a predecessor to what’s now home to Marion City Library, was Marion’s somewhat controversial depot on the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railroad from 1879 to 1901.
Originally just a Marion-to-McPherson line, the tracks were extended to Florence and added to the Santa Fe system in the 1870s.
The depot, built at a cost of $50,000, equivalent to $1.26 million today, was thought to have insured Marion’s status as a mainline town.
However, soon afterward the Santa Fe controversially opted to locate its main line from Florence west through Peabody instead of Marion, moving its Denver-bound Cannonball trains out of Florence through Peabody instead of Marion.
The depot burned to the ground in 1901 when windy weather and inadequencies of a soon-to-be-replaced city water system combined to seal its fate after a small fire broke out.
The building that now houses Marion City Library was constructed in 1912.
The view looks south, apparently from the steeple of the former county courthouse, located half a block north of the present courthouse, in the middle of what is now Williams St.