ORIGINALLY WRITTEN JULIE ANDERSON
From the tile roof to the original design for the light structures and
woodwork, the Santa Fe Depot, Marion, is being restored to house the
Marion Public Library.
?We?re trying to keep everything original,? said Janet Marler,
The depot has several characteristics that make it unique, including
the bay window in the waiting room, a tile roof, arched ceilings and
the Santa Fe emblem carved into the stone.
?It?s just a beautiful building, and with some work, I think it can
be restored to what it was,? Marler said. ?I am sure it was quite a
show place back then and I?m sure it still could be.?
In an old news article, the depot, built June 17, 1912, is described
as being modern for the day, with steam heating, elegant electric
light fixtures and beautifully decorated walls. The back half of the
depot was for freight and the general waiting room, a women?s waiting
room and station master?s office were located in the front.
Because no pictures exist of the depot when it was built, they are
relying on people telling them what they remember about it.
?People are coming through slowly, saying, ?I know what this was
like,?? she said. ?Slowly it is kind of coming around that we can
figure it out a little bit.?
Most of the people they have talked to so far have been the men who
worked in the freight room and do not know what the waiting room
As part of the restoration, the additional walls built over the years
will be knocked out.
?The architect knows which ones are original and which ones have been
added,? Marler said.
They want it to be as open as possible for the library.
?We?ve had several people say that once the walls are knocked out they
want to come see it because they used to work at the depot when they
were younger and they think that maybe they could visualize it better
without the additional walls,? Marler said.
Some of the original aspects of the depot remain in tact, which will
aid in the restoration. That includes some of the original woodwork. A
freight scale will be left in the depot and the original lights are
available to be reproduced.
In addition, Marler said they are looking for earlier things from the
depot or Santa Fe Railroad to install in the depot.
The entrance to the depot, which is about twice the size of the
current library, will be on the east side of the building.
Inside, the library will have a children?s area and fiction and
non-fiction books in the freight area. A Kansas genealogy meeting room
will be placed by the bay window and will include a special Kansas
section and chairs to sit and read.
A special area for kids? story time will be included, too.
To go along with the depot, a railroad section promoting trains and
railroad history will be added. They are hoping to find some
memorabilia, books and artifacts relating to the railroad, especially
the Santa Fe line.
To the east of the depot, a small, relaxing park will be built. It
will include park benches and flower beds. It may contain a gazebo for
story-time or for people to sit in and read as well as the Chingawasa
The majority of the funding for the project is coming from a
transportation enhancement project grant, which is providing a little
more than $700,000.
In addition to the grant, the library is continuing to raise its
portions of the funds, $151,000, through sales of bricks, cookbooks
and t-shirts. Currently they have raised $15,000.
?It plays such an important part in Marion?s history,? Marler said of
the depot. ?I just think if we are going to have this much money to
spend on restoring it we need to try our best to spend that money
wisely and restore as much as we can.?
Marler said work will begin on the depot January 2001, when they
receive the grant money, and should be completed in 12 to 15 months.
To this point, all of the floor plans and designs have been completed
by Ed Kinney and Jim Pettijohn, Overland Park, who have worked with
historic buildings before.
In a couple of months it will go to bids for a contractor and
?If we can have local people we will look at their bids,? Marler said
?We will try to keep it local, but some stuff they won?t be able to
do, like the tile roof and masonry.
?We are trying to help the community out as muc
ORIGINALLY WRITTEN JULIE ANDERSON