Wichita and Southwestern Rail Road Depot - step up to telegraph room

Old Cowtown Museum Tour

Wichita and Southwestern Rail Road Depot - step up to telegraph room

Wichita, Kansas 67203, United States

Created By: Old Cowtown Museum


The Santa Fe Depot located in the Industrial Area of Old Cowtown Museum, represents the dynamic and transforming role the railroad had on Wichita is and Sedgwick County’s economic, transportation, and communication developments during the 1870s. In persuading the Texas cattle trade to come to Wichita, it needed to become a railhead, a place where the cowboys could bring their herds to market and transport them east. Many towns competed for this honor and the papers were full of speculation of when and where the rail roads would go. While waiting for the settlement of Osage Land, the Santa Fe Rail Road bypassed the town. Citizens pooled their resources and passed county bonds to create their own railroad to meet with the Santa Fe, 20 miles north at Newton.

With this lifeline to the outside world the railroad to brought goods, services and settlers as well as shipped farm products, cattle finished goods and provided quick transportation for its citizens.

One can now take the rail road cars at Wichita one morning and be in St. Louis the next morning and in Chicago the evening following. We are now within the bounds of civilization.

Wichita City Eagle, May 17, 1882​​​​

Telegraph -- Along with the rail road came the telegraph. Originally designed to assist the railroad in monitoring and coordinating its trains, it quickly became useful for distributing national news, sending information without waiting for the mail on the stagecoach and conducting business across the country

With these two tools of transportation and communication the city prospered until it became the largest city in Kansas.

This point of interest is part of the tour: Old Cowtown Museum Tour


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