On several of our Kansas trips, I had seen a sign for a historic Frisco water tower. So on one of our recent trips, we decided that we should go check it out. It was worth the detour!
The Water Tower
Less than a mile off the highway, we found a wooden water tower from the Frisco Railway, along with an interesting caboose. And an airplane! More about the airplane farther on down.
Back in the old days, railroad trains were pulled by steam engines. And those steam engines required water to boil for steam. Water was stored in wooden water towers for the steam engines to take on. If you know of my love of railroads, you know that I was excited to see this tower. And Laura was excited, too! Because this tower is a piece of rapidly-vanishing history.
This wooden water tower was built in 1885 by the Frisco Railway, whose official name was the St. Louis - San Francisco Railway. You will never guess which cities were at its endpoints. Actually, that is a trick question. If you guessed San Francisco as one of them, you would be wrong, because the railroad only went as far west as Texas, nowhere near San Francisco. I guess they had some unrealized future plans somewhere along the way.
According to the nearby sign, this Frisco water tower is the last surviving wooden railroad water tower. One would assume that the wood is not all original to 1885, too. But that is just a guess.
The Frisco Railway eventually merged into the Burlington Northern Railroad in 1980. And then Burlington Northern acquired the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway in 1996 to form the Burlington Northern and Santa Fe Railway. So perhaps it is fitting to have a Santa Fe caboose near the water tower, although the two railroads have only been connected for the last 27 years.
If you know us, you know we love a good caboose, so of course we could not resist climbing up the stairs to look inside, as you can see Laura doing here. And yes, it was quite cold that morning. And as a bonus, you can see the moon in a few of these photos, such as near the upper left in this one.
If you are wondering, water was delivered from the tower to the locomotive tender using the spout that you can see here. The water line runs underground from the tower and up through the spout. YOu can also see the handle hanging down at the center of the tower that the railroad crew would pull to let the water flow.
Here is a closer view of the water spout. Yes, I may have taken too many photos during our brief stop. But it isn’t often that you see something like this.
The Beaumont Hotel
The Beaumont Hotel was nearby. As you can see from the sign, it was established in 1879. You can also see some glimpses of it in the other photos here. I did not take many photos of the hotel, because I was more interested in the water tower and caboose.
The hotel restaurant was serving breakfast, and it is apparently a popular place with several people. We had already eaten, so we did not go in to check it out. However, it was interesting to see how some of the restaurant patrons arrived…
As we were driving up to park next to the water tower, we had to hurry across the cross street, because an airplane was coming down the street!
Yes, seriously, an airplane. Two of the planes we saw are pictured here, and a third arrived while we were there, too. There is a grass airstrip nearby, and the Beaumont Hotel is a popular stop for people with private planes. They land on the airstrip, taxi down the street and park near the depot, eat breakfast, chat with other pilots, and then taxi back down the street to take off. We stayed around long enough to watch one of the planes leave, because it was cool!
Wait, More Kansas?
If you read the previous post, you might be thinking, “Wait, you said that was the end of your Kansas and Missouri Trip posts? But this is in Kansas! What gives?”
Yes, that last post was the end of that particular Kansas and Missouri trip. But this post was from the next trip. How many trips through Kansas and Missouri did we make in 2022? I lost count. But it was a lot. Combine that with 2021, and I have been to Kansas way more than I thought I would ever go. And we aren’t finished yet.
Even though this particular trip was not a sightseeing trip, except to see the sight of our favorite football player and his team play a game, we still found time to see a sight. For us, every trip is actually a sightseeing trip. We usually find something to see along the way, even if it is just admiring the prairie as we drive through. Or checking out a wooden water tower. It is all fun for us.
Find the fun in what might otherwise seem ordinary. It is there waiting for you.
“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened for you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.” - Matthew 7:7-8
About the Photos
As usual, I can’t just take a photo and share it here. I have to work on it first. For these photos, despite the clear, blue sky, I gave the photos a slightly yellow, aged look. That went well with the subject of the photos.
For most of the recent photos I have shared, I processed them using a combination of GIMP and Raw Therapee, using Raw Therapee to open the raw files and then finishing them up in GIMP. But this time around, I did it all in Raw Therapee to save a step or two. It is rather like Adobe Lightroom, except much cheaper (as in free).
Photo: Each photo is a single Raw exposure, processed in Raw Therapee. Read more about photography tips, photo software, camera gear, and more at Steve’s Photography Tips.
Camera: Sony Alpha A7 II
Lens: Rokinon 35mm f/1.8
Date: November 13, 2022
Location: Beaumont, Kansas