Inside the Alden Railroad Depot

In an earlier post, we looked at the exterior of the Alden Railroad Depot in Kansas. While we were there, we had looked inside the windows and wondered what it might be like to go inside. Little did we know what would happen next!

The next day, we walked back over to the depot so that my Dad could see it because he was not with us before. When we arrived, we saw some cars parked out in front of the depot, and some people standing around talking. What could be going on?

As we approached the depot, one lady asked, “Are you tourists?” I guess my camera gave us away, as it usually does! We answered that we were and that we thought the depot looked interesting. As it turns out, she was Emily with the Alden Historical Society. The society members were there to take a look inside the depot. Would we like to go inside and have a look around? You bet!

The town of Alden had recently been gifted the depot and everything inside of it, and the historical society was there to see what was inside and to look into what might be done to restore and preserve the depot. We had a great time looking around at everything and also hearing some stories about the depot and about the memories of the railroad shared by some of the society members.

Here are some of the sights that we saw inside.

Waiting Room

Ticket window in the Alden Railroad Depot in Kansas

Railroad passengers back in the old days could purchase tickets at the ticket window inside the depot. I liked that the walls had the traditional yellow and red scheme so often associated with railroad depots.

Santa Fe Time Table board

I took this photo from inside the ticket office looking back into the waiting room. You can see the yellow upper walls and the red lower walls just a little better here. I also liked the old Santa Fe Time Table on the wall.

Ticket Office

From the waiting room, we went inside the ticket office to see what was there.

Potbelly stove in the Alden Railroad Depot in Kansas

Inside the ticket office was one of the three potbelly stoves that were in the building. You can just imagine how essential these stoves were in the cold Kansas winters. I liked the look of this one. It looked cool! Or maybe, warm!

Desk at the bay window in the Alden Railroad Depot in Kansas

Railroad depot workers could sit at this desk that was at the bay window. Looking out the window would give views down both directions of the railroad track. All sorts of interesting things were on the desk, such as a telephone, some old telegraph keys, a lunch box, and some switches that were not connected to anything. An electrical outlet on the wall was obviously added much later after the original construction of the railroad depot.

Telegraph keys

Here is a better look at the telegraph keys on the desk. That is how they used to send text messages way back in the old days, if you were not aware. Isn’t it funny how those original text messages were made obsolete by the telephone, which has been made mostly obsolete by the cell phone, which people mainly use to send text messages? Everything goes in circles!

Western Union Telegraph and Cable Office sign

Above the bay window desk, this Western Union Telegraph and Cable Office sign hangs on the wall. I would guess that this was not the original location of this sign, but I could be wrong. These signs were usually hung on the building exterior to let people know that they could come inside and send a telegraph. We were told that many of the items in the depot were added later on by its previous owners, who also collected memorabilia.

Desk in the Alden Railroad Depot in Kansas

Back a bit from the bay window but still in the ticket office was this old desk with a scale, a stapler, some old papers, and a Folger’s coffee can. Just a few of the many tools necessary to get things done back then. Most of these have now been upgraded. Except, of course, for coffee.

Box from the Springfield, Missouri, General Store

Next to the wall opposite the bay window was this box from the General Store in Springfield, Missouri. And interestingly, the box was filled with coal. As you may know, steam locomotives used coal like this to boil water to make steam, which then powered the train. We aren’t used to seeing coal like this anymore.

Railroad spikes

On top of the cabinet next to the box of coal in the previous photo was this collection of railroad spikes. I found this to be interesting, probably because I have several similar railroad spikes at home that I have picked up here and there. Glad to know that I am not the only one who collects them.

Oil lantern in the Alden Railroad Depot in Kansas

These old oil lanterns that hung on the wall not only gave off much-needed light in the old days, they also look great in modern photos! However, thinking about lighting a room with these lanterns does make you appreciate electricity even more.

Baggage Room

Past the ticket office was the baggage room, where baggage would be stored before it was loaded onto a waiting train. Baggage has not been stored in this storage room in a while, but there were still some interesting things to see.

Santa Fe Time Table Board

Another Santa Fe Time Table board was in the storage room. Next to it was a large box used for sorting mail. There was no mail in the box, but there were some books on the table that Laura spent a lot of time looking at. One of them was from the 1860s!

Potbelly stove in the Alden Railroad Depot in Kansas

And finally for today, another old potbelly stove was in the baggage room. This one had a different design from the others, but it was still very much interesting to see. They just don’t make things like they used to, do they?

There’s More!

As you can imagine, I took lots of photos in the Alden Railroad Depot. These are just a few, but I tried to limit myself to prevent photo overload for you. So check back later to see more of what we saw inside the depot!

Thank you to the Alden Historical Society for letting us look around!

I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember your wonders of old. - Psalm 77:11

About the Photos

When we were walking to the railroad depot, not knowing that we were going inside, I had put my 50mm prime lens on my camera, just to try to get some different photos of the depot exterior from what I had taken the previous day. That lens turned out to be perfect for going inside the depot, because I could open the aperture wide and make use of the available light without having to increase the ISO setting too much. I did switch to my standard zoom lens toward the end of our time inside the depot, but these photos were all taken with the prime lens.

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 50mm f/1.8 Lens
Date: October 4, 2021
Location: Alden, Kansas

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Burnsland is Steve Burns, with generous help from his lovely wife Laura. Steve is a husband, father, photographer, webmaster, writer, podcaster, artist, Christian. Steve enjoys sharing his photography, art, and stories through, from the Burnsland World Headquarters in Tennessee.