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St. Charles in St. Charles County, Missouri — The American Midwest (Upper Plains)
 

25th Anniversary

Katy Trail State Park

 

— 1990-2015 —

 
25th Anniversary Marker image. Click for full size.
By Jason Voigt, December 16, 2020
1. 25th Anniversary Marker
Inscription.  From its inception and throughout its 25-year history, Katy Trail State Park has been one of the most successful rails-to-trails conversions projects in the United States. As the longest developed rail-trail in the United States, it has been inducted into the national Rail-Trail Hall of Fame.

The Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad (MKT)

Begun in the 1870s, the Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad, also known as the Katy, ran through much of the Missouri River valley by the 1890s. With the Pacific Railroad running from St. Louis to Jefferson City by 1856 and the Hannibal and St. Joseph Railroad becoming the first cross-state railroad in 1859, the Katy was a relative late comer to the railroad game. However, it provided a vital link between the agriculture of central Missouri and the quickly developing American southwest. The Katy added to Missouri's prosperity, supporting towns along the corridor and causing several new towns, such as Mokane and Tebbetts, to spring up almost overnight.

The Katy Ceases Operation

In the fall of 1986, severe flooding washed out several miles of track on the Katy. Due
25th Anniversary Marker image. Click for full size.
By Jason Voigt, December 16, 2020
2. 25th Anniversary Marker
to the cost of repair, the fact that railroad use was in decline, and the reality that the MKT company was in financial trouble, the company decided to cease operations. On Oct. 4, 1986, trains 101 and 102 became the very last trains to use the route from Sedalia to Machens.

The Railroad Amendment

The National Trails System Act Amendments of 1983 created a program to preserve rail corridors through "railbanking." Railbanking converts a railroad corridor to a public trail and preserves the corridor for future rail use. When the Katy Railroad ended operations, the Missouri Department of Natural Resources filed for and received a Certificate of Interim Trail use for the corridor from Sedalia to Machens in April 1987. The department developed one of the most successful rails-to-trails conversions in the United States along the Katy route.

The Development of Katy Trail State Park

Initially christened the Missouri River State Trail because it paralleled the Missouri River much of the way, the first section opened in April 1990 between Rocheport and McBaine. In August 1990, another section from Augusta to just northeast of Defiance opened. In 1991, the name of the trail officially changed to "Katy Trail State Park" in honor of its railroad history. The rail corridor from St. Charles to just past Sedalia was developed by 1996. Through
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a donation from the Union Pacific Railroad, the department then extended the trail to Clinton, opening the section between Sedalia and Clinton in September 1999. The last 12-mile section between St. Charles and Machens was opened in 2011, completing the 240-mile Katy Trail.

Community Support

Katy Trail State Park would not have been possible without the support of Ted and Pat Jones. Their initial donation of $2.2 million made it possible to acquire the MKT Railroad corridor and develop it into Katy Trail State Park. Following her husband's death in 1990, Pat Jones and the financial services firm that bears the Jones family name, Edward Jones, continued to support Katy Trail efforts. After the flood of 1993, the firm helped fund trail reconstruction and provided a toll-free number for updates on the trail's recovery. After the trail's completion from Sedalia to Clinton, Edward Jones provided funds for the opening ceremony; it has also financed the printing of the trail's full-color brochures. Pat Jones is an active member and a past president of the Missouri Parks Association. Through her continued support of the Katy Trail and state parks in general, Pat has created a legacy for all to enjoy.

(photo captions:)

·Communities along the Katy continue to embrace the trail. Several have built trail spurs to connect their towns
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to the trail. The Jefferson City Katy Spur connects the trail to Jefferson City via the Pat Jones Pedestrian and Bicycle Lane.

·Eagerly anticipating the completion of Katy Trail State Park, the town of Boonville built a 3.4-mile section of the Katy Trail in 1990 from Spring Street near the historic MKT Depot southwest to the city limits.

·The Conservation Federation of Missouri and the Conservation Foundation of Missouri Charitable Trust were instrumental in the trail's early development. They continue to support the trail by managing the Turner Katy Trail Shelter in Tebbetts, a hostel for trail users.
 
Erected 2015 by Edward Jones and Missouri State Parks.
 
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Parks & Recreational AreasRailroads & Streetcars. In addition, it is included in the Katy Trail State Park series list.
 
Location. 38° 46.415′ N, 90° 29.052′ W. Marker is in St. Charles, Missouri, in St. Charles County. Marker is on South Riverside Drive east of Boone's Lick Road, on the right when traveling south. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 920 South Main Street, Saint Charles MO 63301, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. 921 South Riverside Drive (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Missouri (about 500 feet away); Bishop's Landing (about 500 feet away); Edward Paule Home (about 600 feet away); Home of Don Carlos Tayon (about 600 feet away); The Lewis and Clark Expedition Across Missouri (about 600 feet away); Peter Geery (about 600 feet away); The Trail to Fort Osage (about 800 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in St. Charles.
 
Also see . . .  Katy Trail State Park (Missouri State Parks). (Submitted on December 31, 2020, by Jason Voigt of Glen Carbon, Illinois.)
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on December 31, 2020. It was originally submitted on December 31, 2020, by Jason Voigt of Glen Carbon, Illinois. This page has been viewed 36 times since then and 34 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on December 31, 2020, by Jason Voigt of Glen Carbon, Illinois.
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Mar. 7, 2021