The City of Eudora at its latest City Commissioner’s meeting on December 16 donated a rare, historic photograph of the Eudora Depot from 1954 to the Eudora Area Historical Society. The photograph of the Depot pictured with this article is NOT the photograph the City of Eudora donated. But, the photograph of the Depot the City donated is now on display at the Eudora Community Museum. Feel free to stop by to see the photo and tour the rest of our exhibits. For more information about the Eudora Area Historical Society, you can find them on the City of Eudora’s website or check them out on Facebook.
If you have moved to Eudora since 1990, you likely know very little about Eudora’s former railroad Depot. Here is a brief history of the Eudora Depot and the importance of the railroads for the Eudora community:
Location along travel routes has always been important for communities. Eudora was settled at its present location in 1857 because of its place along established travel routes. Eudora is of course on the Kansas River. The Kansas River was the first highway so to speak in Kansas. It was the predominate route of travel in the early part of the State’s History. The Oregon Trail also passed through the Eudora area.
However, boat and wagon travel was becoming obsolete in the 1860s. Railroad travel was clearly the future. Early City leaders realized the importance of the railroad. The topic of the approaching railroad dominates the Eudora City Council minutes from the 1860s. The first railroad came through Eudora in January of 1872. It’s difficult to state just how significant the railroad was for early Eudora. The railroad meant more people would move to Eudora, more jobs, and it made it much easier for local farmers to sell crops.
The Eudora Depot was built in 1871 and was located at 6th and Oak Streets. It served many purposes. It housed railroad workers, gave travelers a place to wait on the trains and perhaps mostly importantly, helped the communication along the railroad between the Engineers. The Depot was closed in 1967. The Eudora Depot symbolized the importance of the railroad.
On September 1, 1990, the Eudora Lumber Company, located just across the street from the Depot, was set ablaze as a result of arson. The enormous fire spread to the Depot, and the Depot was completely destroyed. The only remains of the Depot are now housed in the Eudora Community Museum. The Depot may no longer physically exist, but its legacy and the legacy of the railroad remain.