During our latest trip to visit Jaylin at Sterling College, we stayed at an Airbnb in the town of Alden. Someone at the Sterling Church of Christ heard us say that and mentioned something about a railroad depot there. Because we had enjoyed finding the depot in Lyons, Kansas, along with the depot at Mammoth Spring, Arkansas, we figured we should check out the Alden Railroad Depot as well.
As it turns out, the Alden Railroad Depot was right around the corner from us. We walked over one afternoon to take some photos of the building. Along for this visit were Laura, my Mom, and me. Jaylin and my Dad had stayed back at the house to watch some Sunday afternoon football. they did not know what they were missing!
History on Display
As we approached the Alden Railroad Depot, we saw that it looked like a typical railroad depot from the old days, which was just what we wanted to see. And we were interested to see how the grain elevators towered behind the depot, too. It was cool to see the size differences between two different eras here.
Another view of this side of the station. I thought it seemed rather far from the railroad tracks, which are at least 30 feet away. Also, in most railroad depots the bay window is on the track side of the depot, but this bay window is on the opposite side of the depot from the tracks. We found out later on that this depot had been moved from its original location on the other side of the tracks. So it appears that the depot was not turned with it was brought across the tracks.
The photo above shows the opposite side of the depot from the previous photos. In the old days, this would have been the “street” side, or the side that you approached when you were going there to catch a train. The tractors all around belong to Frederick Harvesting, which is headquartered in Alden and has a facility right across the street from the depot. We met the Fredericks at the Sterling Church, and they are good people. It was pretty cool to see some of their tractors, just like it was cool to see the depot.
I liked getting this railroad crossing sign in the photo along with a closer view of the street side of the depot. And a tractor in the background, too. And I have not mentioned it yet, but how beautiful was the clear blue sky on that day?
The architectural details on these old railroad depots are always fascinating. Such different woodwork than what you typically see on a building today. Yes, there is some work that needs to be done to the depot, but it appears to be relatively minor, although I am definitely no expert in that area. This is just above the bay window, by the way.
Just past the bay window is this freight door from the baggage room. When a train arrived, this door would be open so that baggage and freight from the room could be loaded onto the train. And the Railway Express Agency sign above the door is just like one we had seen at the Mammoth Spring depot.
The end of the depot also had some interesting details, such as the nice trim under the peak of the roof. At this depot, the “Alden” name was painted on the building, unlike at the Lyons depot where the name was made with metal letters. And I liked the old-style lights that were here and above the bay window. Also, a bird had built a nest on top of the left support. The nest was not an original detail, but it was still fun to see.
All around the depot were bricks from the Coffeyville Vitrified Brick & Tile Company, abbreviated here as “Coffeyville V.B. & T. Co.” These bricks were made in Coffeyville, Kansas, just a few hours away from Alden. Coffeyville bricks were used at many railroad depots in that area, as well as in streets and sidewalks, too.
This photo gives a better look at the railroad crossing sign from the main side of the sign, as opposed to the back side of the sign that was seen in the earlier photo. I like having the tractor peek in for a cameo appearance along with the grain elevators in the distance.
A Few More Photos
This distant view shows how the depot is tucked away between the grain elevators and some harvesting trucks. You can also see a few rail cars on the railroad tracks off in the distance, too.
Before we go, here is one more look at the Alden Railroad Depot. You can see the Coffeyville bricks in the foreground. And you can imagine seeing this view as you arrive on the inbound train as it pulls up to the depot. Isn’t it interesting to try to think of what things were like back in those days?
As we were walking back to the house, I got my Mom to take this photo of us with the depot in the background, along with the grain elevators. And there were some interesting concrete fence corner posts there, too, which were right behind us. Everything for this photo turned out just right, and it has now become my new favorite photo of us. Pretty cool!
But wait, there’s more! We went back the next day to show my Dad what we had found, and we ended up finding much more than what we had seen before! Watch for those photos coming soon.
Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. - Colossians 3:12
About the Photos
When I processed the Lyons Railroad Depot photos, I digitally added some clouds in the sky, because I was not quite happy with how the sky was looking in those photos. But for these photos, I figured out the color settings I needed for the sky to get it to look just like I wanted it. So these photos are even more like what we saw, except that the colors have been manipulated slightly.
Photo: Each photo is a single Raw exposure, processed in Luminar AI. Read more about photography tips, photo software, camera gear, and more at Steve’s Photography Tips.
Camera: Sony Alpha A7 II
Lens: Sony FE 28-70mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS Lens
Date: October 3, 2021
Location: Alden, Kansas