Moving the Depot
by Karen Walk

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"On the Road Again". If the Shallow Water Depot could sing, this would be itís song! The depot has just been moved to itís fifth site. The building had to be sold and removed from itís present location caused by the new four-lane highway being built across Kansas. This is an excellent building and will add much character to the Selkirk site. We have been told this depot started at the Alfalfa station site, on the Garden City, Gulf & Northern Railway between Garden City and Scott City, Kansas, which was only 35 miles long. The first passenger train to Scott City ran on Dec. 30, 1909. The train only had to maintain a 20 m.p.h. schedule, so would stop and let people on or off anywhere along the line! The legal description of Alfalfa was Range 33 W, Twp. 23 S, Sec. 11 in Finney County. A very small shelter was built at Shallow Water, and the larger depot at Alfalfa. Before long Shallow Water was needing a real depot, and the two buildings were exchanged, very possible loaded on a railroad car and moved. The line was purchased by the Santa Fe Railway. After many years of service as a depot, where passengers made their connection with the Union Pacific on the north and the Santa Fe line at Garden City, it was sold to Charles Anstaett of Garden City and moved to his private property on the east side of highway #83 in Finney County. The third move, still being owned by the same person, was to Garden City, in the vicinity of the Crazy House, where it sat for several more years.

It was then sold to Don and Pam Smith of Pierceville. They purchased the building and had it moved out on their land on the north side of highway #50, with the intention of making it into their "dream home", but that was not to be. The State Highway Department is making the highway into a four-lane road and need the land owned by the Smithís. The people were not given a choice. It was either sell the land to them or it would be condemned. After selling to the state, they made the decision to sell the depot to be moved off the land, as it was in their hearts to have the depot restored, and were happy that a group like us wanted to do it. This was a great opportunity for the Wichita County Historical Society.

The depot was purchased in August and moved this past week, itís fifth site, and set down out by the Santa Fe Railroad Hand-dug Well at Selkirk. The hand-dug well will still be covered with a smaller building as originally planned, and the depot restored as it would have looked in 1887, when the Selkirk station was active. There will be a lot of paperwork and research done before the actual restoration work begins. The Kansas State Historical Society and the Santa Fe Railway will be some of our sources for information.

Much of the restoration cost will be funded by Wichita Countyís EZ-EC grant and other matching grants, as the Kansas Tourism and the Heritage Trust Fund.

The large hip roof is made of slate tiles and is in excellent condition. The depot will be painted the original color of the Santa Fe Railway, which was brick red with green trim and the name of "Selkirk" will be painted on the ends. The area will be landscaped and a brick platform will be laid in the front of the building. A security system will also be installed. A plan in the distant future is a replica of the large water tank being built.

The cost of moving the depot was funded by an anonymous grant.

The move started on Tuesday of last week, when the building was moved onto the truck. On Thursday morning, at 10:00am, they pulled out of the driveway for itís journey of 87 miles. The electric lines had to be raised along the way, as it was very high when loaded on the truck. This involved many men and units of the Wheatland Electric in all of the counties. The depot entered Wichita County at about 4:00pm and was parked overnight. The next morning, it resumed itís trek up Highway #25 in Wichita County for about 5 miles, where it turned west and turned again onto the Selkirk Road. It then proceeded west to the Wichita/Greeley County line road and came into Selkirk from the west. It was set down and the men were finished and headed back to Liberal at 4:15 p.m. Friday.

The historic depot sets the atmosphere with perfection. While being an excellent display of the past railroad history in itself, the depot will be used as an area for the railroad model displays and other railroad artifacts, rest rooms and a gift shop. Landscaping and picnic tables are also in the future plans. Word from an official of the National Railway Co. is that they know of no other railroad well in existence. After researching this information, upon finding this to be correct, we will be able to use this as a "drawing card" as the only railroad well in the country. This is an excellent opportunity for a tourism site for Wichita County.

We are still working on application to the National Register of Historic Places, having made our first application to the Kansas State Register and receiving their nomination to apply to the National Register.

We will erect a much smaller building to cover the hand-dug well, which will not be as expensive as the original building plan, which we had presented for funding in the county EZ/EC grant. Although, one problem being it will not be available until next year, which will be too late for the moving of the depot. This EZ/EC will be flexible enough to make changes, and the total figure will be smaller that originally requested.

A benefit concert on October 16, was presented by Larry Hannon, a wonderful cowboy balladeer and song writer from Garden City.

We are working on other plans for fund raisers, and hope to receive many more donations to help preserve these pieces of our local railroad history. We thank everyone for the donations and support of this wonderful project, and hope to have your continued support throughout the remainder of the project.

The Depot at its new home in Selkirk, Kansas ready to be refurbished!

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