|City/Town: • Bucklin|
|Location Class: • Railroad|
|Built: • 1908 | Abandoned: • 1973|
|Status: • Abandoned • Endangered|
|Photojournalist: • Jay Bissell|
The Holcomb depot that sits out in a field in Bucklin, Kansas is only a shell of what it used to be. Once bustling with activity it now gathers dust and dirt from the plains. The start of this depot comes not from Bucklin or Kansas at all. With two different reports of it being built in the 1880s and another of it being built in 1908 things can get sort of confusing. It is in our opinion that this depot was built in 1908 in Hasty, Colorado. This design of depot was common along the Sante Fe railroad, examples of this type of station include Bristol, Hasty, Wiley, McClave and Fort Lyon were examples of this type of station.
It started out as a 16×40 foot long frame station, painted yellow with the Sante Fe sign on the side of the building above the windows. The building was then moved to Holcomb Kansas along one of the main rail lines and was one of three to be moved. It sat in the small town and saw numerous renovations over the years including the extension of the freight room by 14 feet in 1917. In 1963 seven feet of the waiting room was removed for unknown reasons. The depot made a cameo in 1967 in the movie In Cold Blood, which can be seen in the video below.
The Holcomb Depot was retired in 1973 after the Sante Fe Railroad submitted an application to the Kansas Corporation Commission after many years of service. At that point, the station was only open for half-days with no agency service. It was just a year later the somber depot was purchased by Charles Anstaett a “railroad buff in the extreme”. He had moved the depot to his 8,000-acre family ranch along with the defunct Deerfield Depot that closed at the same time. They had hopes of restoring both with all the original contents. He has huge plans for the depots and all of the railroad gear he had acquired over the years and wanted to turn them into fully restored museums with one being a ticket office, one being a passenger depot, and the other to hold a modern train set he had been building for years. For one reason or another Charles’ plans never got fully off the ground and the depot was sold to the Dodge City Ford & Bucklin in 1990. It was a tourist railroad that operated the former Rock Island branch line between its namesake cities. The depot was to have been the DCF&B’s Bucklin station and a few renovations were made to the structure but ultimately the venture never panned out.
In 2000, the DCF&B Railroad disbanded and had a sale of its artifacts, including the Holcomb Depot at Bucklin. The buyer was a line to a freight operator who had no interest in continuing the tourist trains. After that, the depot was acquired by the Guthrie Arts & Humanities Council, which has plans to move it to Guthrie, Oklahoma and restore it for use in connection with their planned excursion train. But this never came to fruition and the depot continues to sit in a field out in Bucklin rotting away.
Gallery Below of Holcomb Depot
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