Terra Cotta Railroad Depot in Ellsworth, Kansas

Recently, Laura and I enjoyed a brief vacation in Kansas and Missouri. Our main reason for going was to visit Jaylin at college. But we also decided to find some interesting sights to visit while we were away from home. And one of those sights was Ellsworth, Kansas, which had an interesting railroad depot.

The Depot

Terra Cotta railroad depot in Ellsworth, Kansas

As you can see from the sign on the side, this railroad depot was originally from Terra Cotta, a now-extinct town in the same county as the town of Ellsworth. And that county just conveniently happens also to be named Ellsworth, by the way.

According to the nearby sign, the depot was built in 1889. In 1934, it was moved to the town of Ellsworth and converted to apartments. Finally, it was moved to is current location and remodeled back into a depot in 1996. And now it is part of the Hodgden House Museum Complex.

Because we were there on a Sunday, the buildings of the museum complex were closed and locked. But we could still walk around them and look at them from the outside, which was still fun to do.

The Caboose

Railroad depot and caboose in Ellsworth, Kansas

Adjacent to the railroad depot was an interesting caboose. This caboose was built in 1909 and used by the Oregon Railway & Navigation Co., and then later by the Union Pacific Railroad Company, according to the sign in front of the caboose. It is also one out of only 23 wooden cabooses in the United States.

Inside the caboose in Ellsworth, Kansas

As with the depot, the caboose was closed for the day. But that did not stop us from climbing on the platform and looking in the windows. Here, you can see the seating area and the stove. That stove was used both for warmth and for cooking food. At the opposite end are beds for sleeping, although you can’t see them from here. While this looks like a fun way to travel, I am guessing that those who rode in it would much prefer our modern transportation.

Last Looks

Caboose in Ellsworth, Kansas

We enjoyed seeing the railroad depot and caboose, as well as all of the other buildings and signs about the history of the old cowtown days in Ellsworth, Kansas. Maybe we can make it back one day when things are open, so that we can learn even more.

Railroad depot and caboose in Ellsworth, Kansas

Here is one last look at the railroad depot and caboose together. They do make a pretty good pair, don’t they? And while some people might see them as just old things, I love seeing them, and would love to hear the stories they could tell if they could talk.

I say it often, but there is always lots of history to be found if you just take a little time to look for it. History might not be everyone’s thing, but we certainly enjoy learning about the past! And while the everyday things of today might seem rather ordinary, just imagine how people might be interested to see them in the future!

I recall the old days. I meditate on all you have done; I reflect on your accomplishments. - Psalm 143:5

About the Photos

Look at that - full-color photos! Unlike some of those recent photos that were just partially in color.

I did give these photos a slight sepia tint to them. To me, that slightly aged look fits more for the nature of these photos than bright colors. And I also brightened things up slightly. But otherwise, they did not take much work at all.

Photo: Each photo is a single Raw exposure, processed in GIMP and 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: October 9, 2022
Location: Ellsworth, Kansas


World Bible School


Burnsland avatar
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 Burnsland.com, from the Burnsland World Headquarters in Tennessee.