White Deer Land Museum

Influence Of The Santa Fe

The Southern Kansas Railway Company of Texas, Santa Fe subsidized and commonly known as the Santa Fe , constructed a roadbed from Miami to Panhandle City in 1887. The line did not operate trains, except for construction purposes, until January 15, 1888.

Photo of Eloise Lane

Eloise Lane

On that date the only thing that resembled a structure of any kind at the station designated as Glasgow (now Pampa ) was a boxcar intended to be used as an “open station.” An “open station” is basically a station that is open for people to come in and take care of their business themselves.

Because of confusion with Glasgow , Kansas , railroad officials changed the name of the station to “Sutton” before August 15, 1888. Because freight shipments were mistakenly sent to Sutton County , Texas , railroad officials changed the name of the station to ” Pampa ” about February 1892.

Emily Case said that, in those early days, towns would have contests as to which town could catch the most snakes. The catchers would put the snakes on drying racks near the railroad so that the reptiles could be counted as the trains went by.

On May 26, 1898, George Tyng wrote: “The Southern Kansas Railway Company is having loaded here at Pampa , a steam engine, boiler and derrick for putting in a well and pumping station upon the success of which, it is said, other improvements will follow.”

On July 2, 1900, Tyng wrote: “The Southern Kansas RR has put in a second well at Pampa where it maintains a steam pump and the largest storage tank on the line. It also has the largest and best section house and one of its best stock yards with every facility for rapid dispatch of large herds.” (The section house at 315 West Atchison was moved in from another location.)

In June, 1901, Tyng wrote: “The railway company now has at Pampa two wells, steam pump, an unusually large steel reservoir, boiler house, small station, small house for the pumper, tool house with fenced yard and planted trees, and Thomas Lane has built a tidy cottage (? at 221 East Atchison ) to replace the one that burned.”

When M.K. Brown came to Pampa in April, 1903, the depot consisted of two boxcars situated west of the present underpass on Cuyler Street .

In 1905 the Santa Fe built the first real depot in Pampa . According to Ed Langley of Amarillo , the building was 24 feet by 42 feet. Located near the cattle loading chute, the depot was between West Atchison (about the 101 block) and the railroad – on the west side of Cuyler Street . The depot, which served the Wells Fargo Freight Company as well as the Santa Fe Railway Company, was destroyed by fire in 1914.

In 1908 the Santa Fe rebuilt its entire line to Panhandle and on into Amarillo . The White Deer Land Company had to give additional right-of-way for the part of the line that crossed the property of the land company. The Santa Fe then abandoned its tap line that had been constructed in 1888 to connect the Santa Fe at Panhandle with the Fort Worth and Denver at Washburn.

Also in 1908, the Santa Fe built a coal chute on the railroad near present 417 West Atchison . The 85-foot black wooden structure was used to coal up many locomotives back in days when wheat was Pampa ‘s principal resource.

When the railroad began using oil burning locomotives in the early 1920s, use of the coal chute was discontinued. It remained unused until 1938 when the structure was purchased by a private citizen who had the structure torn down.

The families of T.D. Hobart, J.E. Chapman and J.N. Duncan were among those who lived in the area of North Somerville and West Foster in early days. Wade Duncan and others (perhaps including Berton Doucette, Wilks Chapman and Paul Schneider) liked to climb to the top of the the coal chute. They claimed that they could see the town of White Deer from that vantage point.

A train wreck near the present Pampa News building (403 West Atchison ) caused great excitement sometime in 1910. Wade Duncan joined nearly everyone in Pampa in picking up fruit that had spilled from the overturned cars.

Between the years 1886 and 1914, the Santa Fe built a fabulous railroad empire in the Panhandle and South Plains of Texas . This was done by purchase, by piecemeal construction of segments of track, and by putting together the segments as purchased and constructed.

In 1914 several Santa Fe lines of Texas were incorporated under one name—the Panhandle and Santa Fe Railway Company. That spring the Santa Fe used an average of fifteen steam locomotives to handle one transcontinental passenger train between Chicago and Los Angeles.

Over 200 Articles, written by Eloise Lane, were published in the Pampa News. These articles may be accessed by clicking on each section below. A list of articles will be revealed that are linked to a page containing the text of the article.

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