“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Kit Carson in Cheyenne County, Colorado — The American Mountains (Southwest)

The Kit Carson Railroad Depot

The Kit Carson Railroad Depot Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bill Kirchner, September 22, 2014
1. The Kit Carson Railroad Depot Marker
Inscription. In many American small towns, the railroad depot was the portal to the rest of the world. More than any other public building, the depot touched the lives of all people in the town. Everything important to the existence of the town came and went through the railroad depot. Trains brought families to their new home, they took goods to market, and they delivered goods and supplies necessary for existence. For the town of Kit Carson, named for the early frontiersman and scout who passed away in 1868, the same held true.

One Step at a Time
The history of rail service in Kit Carson had its official beginning on March 28, 1870, when the Kansas Pacific Railroad reached Kit Carson. The town, already in existence, became the terminus of the Kansas Pacific Railroad for about six months and remained an important supply and shipping center until after the railroad was completed to Denver in 1872. Shortly after completion, the Union Pacific Railway Company purchased this rail line from Kansas Pacific.

William Weston wrote in 1872 (Lincoln County Democrat, 09.12.119): “A peculiarity of Kit Carson is, that while it is situated in what was but recently a remote part of the Great Plains... its railway facilities enable it to afford most of the comforts of a large metropolitan area. It is noted principally
The Kit Carson Railroad Depot Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bill Kirchner, September 22, 2014
2. The Kit Carson Railroad Depot Marker
as being the nearest railroad point to New Mexico, Arizona, and Southern Colorado, and the place to which all commercial supplies are shipped by rail for this vast and rapidly developing southwestern country.”

The Depot
Built in 1904, this depot has survived intact and is not significantly changed. It is one of a handful of surviving railroad depots of the period in Colorado and may well be in the best condition of those remaining. In addition to housing the station agent and his family, this rectangular depot accommodated the daily activities of train passengers, freight, and the telegraph, and is a distinguishing feature of this depot.
Defining architectural features include the decorative brackets supporting the broad roof overhang, the decorative trusswork at the gable ends, as well as the drop siding, water table, and vertical board wainscot. These characteristics became nearly a style unto themselves, and the plans were known as Standard Plans. The Kit Carson Depot is Union Pacific Standard Plan for Depot 24'x64', May 1, 1900.

In Homesteaders and Other Early Settlers 1900 – 1930, the Cunningham family writes (pg. 41): “The Union Pacific depot stood at the end of Main Street. Down the railroad tracks west were the water tower and coal chute. Nest to the depot the Union Pacific company maintained a small shady
The Kit Carson Railroad Depot image. Click for full size.
By Bill Kirchner, September 22, 2014
3. The Kit Carson Railroad Depot
park with a white board fence around it. On Saturday afternoons my best friend and I would go to the park to watch the four o'clock train come in. Mr. Scott, the station agent, would shove sturdy metal wagons back and forth, mostly with cream cans on them. Mr. Baghott, the postmaster, would pull his two-wheeled cart with a few bags of mail back to Mail Street, the water spout would be swung back out of the way, the coal chute would rumble into silence, the conductor would swing the step back up into the vestibule and yell “all ab-o-ard,” and the brief flurry of activity would be finished. My friend and I would kick the lever on the park well and get a dousing and a cool drink, then meander back to Main Street.”

The Kit Carson Depot was listed on the Colorado Register of Historic Properties in August 2002. Restoration has been made possible through grants by the Colorado Historical fund and the Cooper-Clark Foundation, and the generous gifts of many private citizens.

Location. 38° 45.879′ N, 102° 47.627′ W. Marker is in Kit Carson, Colorado, in Cheyenne County. Marker is on Route 287 at milepost 130, on the right when traveling west. Click for map. Marker is in this post office area: Kit Carson CO 80825, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 2 other markers are within 12 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Kit Carson (a few steps from this marker); Old Cattle Trail (approx. 11.6 miles away).
Categories. Railroads & Streetcars
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Bill Kirchner of Tucson, Arizona. This page has been viewed 358 times since then and 95 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on , by Bill Kirchner of Tucson, Arizona. • Andrew Ruppenstein was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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