1918-1925 Era Depot Heat Source?

Discussion in 'General' started by Jim James, Aug 26, 2011.

  1. Jim James

    Jim James Staff Member Staff Member

    My Zalma depot sat at the dead end of the 8 mile long branch and reached deep into the swampeast Missouri timber. The depot was a combination depot and I wondered if it used wood heat or if the company would send them coal. I need to either build a coal bunker or stack some firewood. I want to model a coal bunker and justify a coal car making an appearance on my beloved Zalma branch. Any thoughts out there?
    Ozarktraveler likes this.
  2. Iantha_Branch

    Iantha_Branch Member

    I can't give you that 100% accurate info. But if I had to make a guess in that time frame it would be coal burning. But I would wait and see what other people have to say.

  3. klrwhizkid

    klrwhizkid Administrator Staff Member Administrator Frisco.org Supporter

    Jim, five will get you ten that they burned wood. I assume the railroad would buy the cheapest fuel available and in the eastern Ozark hills, wood was readily available in the form of slab wood (the outer bark and trimmings from sawmill operations) at very low cost. Coal would have involved shipping costs for a non-revenue purpose.
  4. Rancho Bob

    Rancho Bob Member

    Not actually disagreeing with the WHIZ here, I believethey might burn locally manufactured charcoal. Another major product of this region.

  5. mktjames

    mktjames Member

    My Grandfather told me that on a coal steam route during WWII, they bagged some coal off the engine and left it on the loading ramp, his complete depote room was only 14x20 with a coal stove. Coal burning stoves were smaller, burned a lot hotter and longer then wood burners. After the war he got an oil drip burner that lasted till 1962. mktjames
  6. Jim James

    Jim James Staff Member Staff Member

    My grandpa grew up a few miles away from Zalma and his one room school(Stepp School) had a coal stove. That's what led me to think that coal was used in the area by my era.
    Ozarktraveler likes this.
  7. TAG1014 (Tom Galbraith RIP 7/15/2020)

    TAG1014 (Tom Galbraith RIP 7/15/2020) Passed Away July 15, 2020 Frisco.org Supporter

    During the depression, my dad's cousins lived along side the Frisco tracks northeast of Springfield. In the winter the children went out along the right of way to pick up coal to help heat the house in lean times. Their area was about two miles from the coal chute in the Springfiled North Yard. When an eastbound train came by the tender was full to overflowing. Anytime the enginemen saw the kids, they'd push coal off the tender for them to pick up. A kind thing in those hard times...

  8. Karl

    Karl 2008 Engineer of the Year Frisco.org Supporter


    That is an interesting question as well as in the broader sense of how did the Frisco distribute coal to its depots. From what I can see from the Northern Division the majority of towns had a coal house. I don't know how this translates to other Divisions. A good example can be see in Colias's Frisco Power, p 280, where the Everton coal house can be seen next to the depot privy (the double-spouted water tank begs to be modeled). With the advent of winter, did the Frisco dispatch carloads of coal throughout its system for the purpose of replenishing all of the coal houses. So what was the the drill? Did a local spot a car at town "A" for a day or two, and then a subsequent local would pick-up the car, and spot it at town "B"? Did the process repeat until the car's supply was depleted or the car reached the end of the Subdivision? Or was the the process more ad hoc, in which each agent requisitioned coal as his supply dictated?

    As for Zalma... I believe that by the end of WWI much of the timber of the region had been depleted, and coal would seem to be a likely source for your 1918-1925 period.
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 29, 2011
  9. Jim James

    Jim James Staff Member Staff Member

    Wow,Karl. Very thoughtful response. I forgot about building a privy and I'm sure a coal shed is on my horizon as well. Thank you.
  10. Karl

    Karl 2008 Engineer of the Year Frisco.org Supporter

    I have one other thought with regard to your 1918-1925 period. The cooperage industry was a major consumer of lumber products. The passage of the Volstead Act during 1919 not only killed the production of liquor, but it also decimated the cooperage industry, which cut drastically into the demand for lumber.
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 29, 2011
  11. yardmaster

    yardmaster Administrator Staff Member Administrator Frisco.org Supporter

    Jim, Karl & all, a very good question and very interesting thread.

    I have an old VHS with a late steam/early diesel Espee promotional movie. It depicts how regularly-scheduled supply trains would be dispatched from their general stores with supplies for all agents, signal maintainers and the like along each division.

    While it think it would take some thorough research-perhaps of the Frisco Employee Magazines-to see if the Frisco did something similar, I think this type of supply train would make for interesting modeling, especially from an operational standpoint.

    For what it's worth, Jim, the old late teens-early 20s house in Chaffee where I grew up apparently had coal-fired heat at some point based on the physical evidence in the basement and the bits of coal that my brother and I always seemed to dig up. It's a stretch, but that's the closest link I can provide to Zalma.

    The only River Division depot photos that I can find at the moment where there is obvious photographic evidence of a coal house are at Gideon and Holland, MO via Tim Cannon's web site:



    Best Regards,
  12. Jim James

    Jim James Staff Member Staff Member

    I sure miss my grandpa. He would know.
  13. Karl

    Karl 2008 Engineer of the Year Frisco.org Supporter

    It's time to revisit this thread. While searching for something completely unrelated, I discovered this sentence in the May 1930 FEM, page 46, "L. E. Goodman made the trip on Highline this month with the supply cars." It appears that Frisco operated at least a set of supply cars as part of a scheduled train, and it would also seem to be a monthly occurrence.
    Ozarktraveler likes this.
  14. Jim James

    Jim James Staff Member Staff Member

    Awesome. A short supply train would be fun to model/assemble. Any ideas on which type of cars? Coal car and a couple of ancient box cars?
    gjslsffan and Ozarktraveler like this.
  15. yardmaster

    yardmaster Administrator Staff Member Administrator Frisco.org Supporter

    Jackpot, Karl. :)

    This opens up all sorts of fun, interesting questions and modeling opportunities, harkening back to your question about how coal was shipped and the question Jim's posed. Going to have to do a little more digging - I'm wondering if some old derelict boxcars that weren't interchange-worthy any longer would have been assigned to company service for supply car purposes?

    Best Regards,
  16. Karl

    Karl 2008 Engineer of the Year Frisco.org Supporter

    The Frisco Museum published a 1921-1958 Company Service roster, and a quick but incomplete search offers these possibilities. I have a 1904-08 roster that I compiled at home.

    company_service_supply_cars.JPG company_service_supply_cars_ii.JPG
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2018
  17. Karl

    Karl 2008 Engineer of the Year Frisco.org Supporter

    Now that we have the terminology, a search of the FEM's with the string, "supply car", provides a new list of items for perusal...

    Just one example from FEM 10/31:


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