Pittsburg Scenes - Transporation
Pittsburg was originally established as a depot point between Girard and Joplin on the Joplin Railway Company line in 1876. Franklin Playter and several other business men from the Joplin area also saw the location as being important to the boosting of profits in the zinc industry of Joplin by using the abundance of coal in the area to help process it. This section contains images of the mode of transportation which at one time was served by 4 major railroads that made stops in Pittsburg for freight and passengers. The electric trolley car also played an important part in bringing people from the many coal camps to Pittsburg to shop. If you would like to donate additional pictures or information relating about any of these railroads, please email me. Click on an image to see a larger version or go to another page with more photos.
Pittsburg Railway & Light Railway Company
Joplin - Pittsburg Railway Company
Kansas City Southern Railway

The Pittsburg Railway & Light Company began as a trolley line in about 1903 with offices in the old Opera House on the corner of 4th & Broadway. The company had lines that ran throughout Pittsburg and to the surrounding coal camps. In 1908, it was purchased by the Joplin-Pittsburg Railway Company and expanded operations to include railcars.

The Joplin-Pittsburg Railway Company began as the Pittsburg, Frontenac & Suburban Electric Railway Company in July 1894. It's main shop was located on the southeast corner of 20th & Michigan and had a freight shop on the southeast corner of 9th and Broadway for several years around 1913. The main general offices were at 101-104 W. Fourth in the Commrece building. It's first line was purchased from the Forest Park Electric Railway and extended from Pittsburg north to Frontenac. Its second line was purchased in 1895 from the Pittsburg Electric Railway Company in which they extended it from Broadway out to the many coal camps surrounding Pittsburg. The Joplin-Pittsburg Railway Company was formed in 1907 with lines throughout Crawford and Cherokee Counties in Kansas and Jasper County, including Joplin, in Missouri. The passenger trains would run till 1932 with the freight portion of the business continuing into the early 1950's when it ceased all operations.

The Kansas City, Pittsburg and Gulf Railroad, founded by Arthur Stilwell, came to Pittsburg in 1893. In March 1900 the name was changed to the Kansas City Southern Railway. The original shops were located southwest of 23rd & Rouse and were built in 1896. At one time the shops and yards of the railroad covered about 300 acres and employed nearly 1300 people.The KCS passenger depot was located at Seventh & Michigan while their freight depot was at Sixth & Locust. In late 2010 and early 2011 what was left of the railyards was torn down by the KCS as it had become a hazardous property and several fires in recent years had broken out in the remaining buildings.

Atchison - Topeka - Santa Fe Railroad
St. Louis & San Francisco "Frisco" Railroad
Missouri - Pacific Railroad

The Atchison-Topeka-Santa Fe Railroad purchased the Southern Kansas Railroad, which already was serving the coal camps of the area with a spur from Chanute to Frontenac.The line was extended to Pittsburg and in the spring of 1886 the first passenger train carrying miners came to Pittsburg. The leased a train depot from the Frisco Railroad on the southeast corner of 4th and Locust. When the lease expired they built their own depot between 2nd and 3rd on the east side of Joplin.

The St. Louis & San Francisco "Frisco" Railroad can claim to be the first railroad in Pittsburg after it bought the Joplin Railway Co in 1879. It built a depot on the northeast corner of 2nd and Broadway. After a few years they built a new depot on the southeast corner of 4th and Locust. This building was leased to the Santa Fe Railroad and a third depot was built on the site where the Pritchett Pavillion stands today. In about 1928, when the lease with the Santa Fe Railroad expired, they torn down the depot and built a freight depot on the spot.

The first train of the Missouri-Pacific Railroad pulled into Pittsburg on 3 July 1886 at their new depot and freight house east of Broadway on 11th street. Several years before Jay Gould, owner of the Missouri-Pacific Railroad had purchased the Katy Railroad, with a plan to dispose of a large portion of the Katy but keep the passenger and freight portion as part of the Missouri Pacific. At the request of Franklin Playter, who was feeling the pinch of the Frisco who controlled most of the coal train transport, asked Gould to extend the Missouri Pacific into Pittsburg. Gould built a line that would go from Nevada, MO to Chetopa, KS stopping in Pittsburg. After a few years, almost all Missouri Pacific trains from the Southwest came through Pittsburg.



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