This week's post on the Frisco Highline Trail between Springfield and Bolivar, Missouri got me thinking about abandoned railroads here locally so I pulled up some Sanborn fire insurance maps and old plat books and used them as necessary to trace old railroads in Platte County. I actually learned something tonight. I found two railroad corridors that I never knew about!
Here was Platte County in 1930.
I always knew there was an old line between Leavenworth up along Bee Creek to Dearborn (blue) and one from Beverly up to Edgerton (magenta). What I didn't realize is that the Beverly-Edgerton line extended all the way south to Waldron and that there was a line that connected Dearborn to Edgerton (purple). We also had the Kansas City to St. Joseph Interurban Railroad (yellow) which I've blogged about so much that I created its own tag which you can read the entire collection of posts here.
While I was doing this research, I came across some interesting things. Since the "Bee Creek" Rock Island line and the Interurban Line intersected in Dearborn, I started with the 1930 plat map but it didn't give me enough detail on how three railroads came together.
Since I couldn't exactly extrapolate and guess how the railroads used to be since MoDOT built a state highway, North Platte built a school, and other businesses grew, I pulled the 1917 Sanborn fire insurance maps. Unfortunately there was not much to insure in Dearborn back then so the map wasn't as large or as detailed as I wanted it to be.
These Sanborn maps are hard to read even for a seasoned map nerd like myself. Print and paper was obviously not cheap in 1917 so they crammed everything into one page with no match lines.
It looked like Dearborn had two trail depots. The one that served the railroad to Edgerton was located near 2nd and Delaware right where the Platte Valley Bank is located.
It also appeared that there was a depot to serve the Interurban where Commercial Street is located.
The Sanborn map had the lot numbers so I went to the Platte County GIS, turned the lot numbers on, and voila here is where the second depot it located.
I also noticed a note and zoomed in some more. The Sanborn map above had a note "end of wood and metal trestle." I pulled another screenshot and apparently there was a wood and metal railroad trestle that was 20 feet high along Commercial Street? Was the Interurban elevated and that was the bridge over Maple Leaf (now Route Z)? Did the dirt get removed when North Platte graded their baseball and football fields? I just don't know.
If you want to zoom in and out, you can see the 1917 Dearborn map courtesy of the University of Missouri by following this link here. From the Platte County GIS, I can see where the Edgerton railroad was consumed by Route Z. See the weird, rounded property lines along Delaware between 2nd and 3rd Streets?
I wasn't planning on spending much time researching Dearborn but I will say that the North Platte School District always treats me great and has a really great band.
This Bee Creek line continued north and eventually connected with the rail line that goes up through Trenton and into Iowa. You can see all of this if you can figure out how to read an 1888 state railway map.
Since I totally nerded out, here is my Google map of these forgotten railroads and you can zoom in and out and critique my mapping skills by either clicking this link to open up a new window or using the map embedded below.