Discussion in 'Ash Grove Subdivision' started by Karl, Aug 21, 2010.
The Frisco shared office space with MFA.
Grandpa and I have spent time off and on over the years talking about the railroad in Iantha from his years growing up and when he first moved back to farm. I had to chance today to clarify some outstanding questions I've had, so I would like to record everything that I know of while it's still fresh.
Grandpa went to school there through the 8th grade in 1954, so most of what he remembers is the late 40's through the early 50's. Unfortunately, we have next to nothing to work with pre WW2. Someone found an old poster that is estimated to be from the 1920s, see attachment. Grandpa did move back in 1967 to return to farming, so we also have some information to go off of from the late 60s through the end of the Frisco in 1980.
Iantha is barely a blip on the map now, but back in the day it was a thriving community. It was home to 3 general stores, 2 banks, 2 grain elevators, a section house, an oil and gravel producer and 6 hay barns.
Lipscomb Elevator: Uncertain when it was built and torn down. It closed some time in the 50s but was still there at least until the late 60s. There was at least a few years where it and the MFA Fertilizer building were both standing. This was literally just an elevator. It did not have any storage capacity, so it was only open at harvest time and it required a box car to be spotted for the grain to be directly loaded in to. It was located about halfway between what is now Hwy W and NW 57th LN along the south siding. We haven't found any picture of this structure yet.
MFA Elevator: This was a slightly larger elevator than the Lipscomb, it did have some internal storage, as well as some other buildings that stocked other ag commodities. The offices were relocated over to the old section house at some point, probably early 60s. This lasted until Beachner Seed took over that building. From what we could find, the elevator was closed in 1971 and torn down in 1972. Someone in the community put in the effort to reuse the lumber for their home. It was located on the east side of Hwy W along the south siding. We haven't found any picture of this structure yet, but we did find pictures of very similar set ups in the area.
Section House: The Frisco built a section house here. As maintenance jobs were consolidated, the space was used by MFA for offices for a while. Eventually, Beachner Seed took over the building and added on to it in 1972 for fescue processing. Grandpa mentioned that there were smaller offices at the back of the building that smaller businesses used. He specifically remembers the blacksmith was located here. Originally, the name Frisco was engraved into the front of the building, but it was covered up at some point.
Barton County Asphalt Company: Uncertain when this business started up, and when rail shipments ended, but it was in business until the late 80s. Out north of town was a pit where barco rock was mined and brought to the plant in Iantha. Once there, oil would be extracted from the rock and put in 55 gallon drums which would then be shipped out in box cars. The crushed rock could be shipped out on rail as well. This set up was over near the crossing at NW 57th LN along the south siding.
Hay Barns: Before crop production took over, western Barton County was home to native prairie grass that is desirable for live stock feed. Farmers from that part of the county would bring their extra hay to Iantha to be sold and shipped out on the Frisco. There were up to 6 hay barns in town, so there was a steady stream of hay going out through out the year. Box cars would normally be parked somewhere on the south siding to be loaded.
Lumber Yard: Don't know dates of operation, but for a while there was a lumber yard in Iantha. It was the barn northwest of the 57th ln crossing. When the lumber yard closed, the building was converted to a hay barn.
MFA Plant Foods (Fertilizer Plant): Sometime in the early 60s, MFA built one of their iconic green fertilizer plants in Iantha along the south siding. Grandpa said it was in place by the time they moved back in 67. To this day, bulk fertilizer is brought in by rail for use by local farmers.
That's all I have for now, but if I come up with anything new, I will come back and add it.
Within the last couple years, MFA has resumed bringing in shipments of dry fertilizer by rail. I had a chance to snap a couple pictures yesterday I wanted to share. This is looking back straight south at the plant. The hopper parked at the unload helps give a sense of scale for the building. The second shot I included is 3 loaded coal hoppers that for some reason were left on the siding, I'm guessing they needed repairs.
That would be a great small scene on a layout Ethan. Thanks
Don't worry, I plan to include it in my future layout.
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