Historian, Mentor, Friend & Gentleman

by Kristine Schmucker, HCHM Curator

Our new exhibit, Memories in Miniature, is opening this weekend, February 17, 2018. One featured miniature is the model railway created by Dale Stewart.  Stewart began began working on the HO scale model in 1946 and created a fictional line that operated between Florence and Piedmont in Kansas. The collection was donated to HCHM after Stewart’s death in 2016.  A portion of the train model was installed for the exhibit by Gaylord Sanneman.

Dale Stewart was a 1950  graduate of Newton High. As a student he entered his pen and ink drawings focusing on the railroad in local competitions. He continued to create detailed drawings of trains throughout his life.  Stewart was in the U.S. Army during the Korean War as a non-commissioned officer. His career was as a newspaper editor, first for the El Dorado Times in Kansas and later the Idaho Statesman, Bois.  Beginning in 1970, he worked as the city editor for the Times-News in Twin Falls. His newspaper career spanned various transitions in the field of journalism including the hot metal, cold type  and the computerization of publishing.

His lifelong interest in all things railroad, and especially Santa Fe Railway in Kansas. was reflected in his art and model railroad.

An Extra Surprise”

Dale Stewart completed this pen and ink drawing in April 2008. He dedicated it to his friend and mentor who had recently passed away, Lloyd E. Stagner.

The drawing was inspired by a recollection of the late Lloyd E. Stagner of Newton, rail historian of the first order and retired Santa Fe employee.”

An Extra Surprise” in  Memory of Lloyd Stagner, 1922-2008, drawn by Dale Stewart, 4-08. HCHM Stewart Collection.

Dale Stewart writes on the back of the drawing:

“Having crossed Bridge 147A a short distance back, Extra 897 West starts up the stiffer grade leading to the divide between the drainage of the South Fork of the Cottonwood River and the Walnut River.  Engine 897 is fresh from a visit to the shop at Emporia.  Trailing it are 50-Odd empty petroleum tank cars en route to the refineries at Augusta and El Dorado, where 897 is assigned switching duties.  The 2-8-2 is one of Santa Fe’s first 15 of its type, leaving the Baldwin Works in 1903.  By mid-20th century, the 885 class is in its sunset years but still doing solid service. The rail fans and photographers on the rim of the out were no doubt surprised by the appearance of the older locomotive on the Santa Fe’s main freight line.  Bridge 147A carries the track over Kansas Highway 13, a scenic route through the Flint Hills pasture region.”

The Archives at HCHM houses the collections of both men, Lloyd E. Stagner and Dale Stewart.  An exhibit of Stewart’s art and his miniature train is on display February 2018 – December 2019.

 

Sources:

  • “Obituary: Dale Stewart, Magic Valley Obituaries, 13 July 2016 accessed at http://magicvalley.com/lifestyles/announcements/obituaries-dale-stewart/article, 8/12/2016.
  • Correspondence, Dale R. Stewart to Jane Jones, Archivist, HCHM, May 11, 2011. HCHM Curator Files, Dale Stewart.
  • Dale Stewart Collection Inventory, HCHM Curator Files.

“The Doodle-bug:” the Missouri Pacific Railroad in Harvey Co

by Kristine Schmucker, HCHM Curator

The railroad is a huge part of daily life in Harvey County, from waiting at a crossing or hearing the long whistle, trains are a fact of life. The AT&SF Railroad has a strong history in Newton and Harvey County, but it was not the only railroad to provide much needed connections to the rest of the U.S.. The Missouri Pacific Railroad also has a long history in Harvey County. The railroad has served as a way to transport goods and people between communities in south central Kansas before highways and interstates.

In the spring of 1886, the St. Louis, Fort Scott & Wichita Railroad began building a line northwest from  El Dorado.  By summer, the tracks had reached Newton. The line was completed on 19 November 1886 in McPherson.

Missouri Pacific Depot, Hesston, ca. 1900, HCHM Photo Archives.

Missouri Pacific Depot, Hesston, ca. 1900, HCHM Photo Archives.

This 62 mile railroad became a part of the Missouri, Pacific Line with stations east of El Dorado, as well as in El Dorado.  Additional stations were located in Butler County at Oil Hill, Hopkins, Potwin, Brainerd, and Whitewater. In Harvey County, Annelly, McLain,  Newton, Trousdale (later Zimmerdale), and Hesston each had a Missouri Pacific Depot.

Missouri Pacific Depot, Hesston, 1920.  Photo taken by Lawrence E. Hauck, HCHM Photo Archives.

Missouri Pacific Depot, Hesston, 1920. Photo taken by Lawrence E. Hauck, HCHM Photo Archives.

The McPherson County towns of  Moundridge, and Elyria were stops with the line and ending in McPherson.

Missouri Pacific Railroad Map, drawn by S. Hackney, 3/1988.  HCHM Archives Flat Files, 14-6-A.

Missouri Pacific Railroad Map, drawn by S. Hackney, 3/1988. HCHM Archives Flat Files, 14-6-A.

In Newton, the depot was located along N. Kansas Ave at east 6th, which was about a half a mile east of the Santa Fe Depot on Main Street. A circular wooden water tower was located just north of the depot until the late 1920s. The tower was relocated south of east 1st due to increased automobile traffic.

Missouri Pacific Depot, east 6th, Newton, 1919. Note Water Tower in the background.  Building torn down in 1987.

Missouri Pacific Depot, east 6th, Newton, 1919. Note Water Tower in the background. Building torn down in 1987.

The “Mop” (Missouri Pacific) branch passenger train used original equipment through the late 1910s which included a small brooks steam locomotive with a high smokestack, a single combination U.S. Mail and baggage car and one passenger coach.  In the cab of the locomotive, the engineer and the fireman could barely see each other over the boiler head.  The switch to a diesel engine was made in the late 1940s.

G.E. Miller, train engineer "on the Doo-bug" (doodlebug). HCHM Photos

G.E. Miller, train engineer “on the Doo-bug” (doodlebug). HCHM Photos

The cars were made of wood and of the “open vestibule variety” and passengers had to “hang on for dear life” when the train was moving.

The “Mop” freight locomotive usually had low steam pressure at the stop in Newton.  As a result, the wet exhaust often “put nasty spots on nearby clothes lines” frustrating those that lived nearby.

Mop "mixed train daily" No. 756 at the Kansas Ave and 4th St. intersection, 1920.  Photo by Lawrence E. Hauck, HCHM Photos.

Mop “mixed train daily” No. 756 at the Kansas Ave and 4th St. intersection, 1920. Photo by Lawrence E. Hauck, HCHM Photos.

In 1924, the updated passenger Train No. 741 went from Newton to McPherson. At McPherson, travelers could board “the Doodlebug,” a Union Pacific branch McKeen  gasoline powered rail car, and continue to Lindsburg, Assaria and Salina.  At the time, this was the most efficient way to travel from Newton to Salina.

Missouri Pacific Passenger Train No. 742 crossing east 4th St., Newton, summer 1920.  Photo by Lawrence E. Hauck.

Missouri Pacific Passenger Train No. 742 crossing east 4th St., Newton, summer 1920. Photo by Lawrence E. Hauck.

The “doodlebug” left Newton daily at 10:23 and arrived in McPherson at 11:35 in the morning.  In the afternoon, the return trip started at 1:50 and arrived in Newton at 3:09. The Missouri Pacific passenger train continued to operate into the 1930s.

With improved highways and the increased use of cars, passenger service on the doodlebug became obsolete. By the 1950s, the route was “freight only.” Since then, the “modest railroad segment” has been an important mover of crude oil, grain, flour, lumber and other commodities for the businesses in the communities along the route.

The Missouri Pacific officially merged with the Union Pacific Railroad on 1 January 1997.

Sources