Historical Society - Musings

Railroad

Early stories about the settling of Marshall County can cover any number of topics, so will just make a stab in the dark to start someplace. We found out that both railroads in the county got started and where they did not go, alternate transportation was provided. By August of 1878 the rails were through Warren and this community began to thrive. What did the railroad bring'? One of the interesting tidbits I read about in the 'Warren - Plains to Plenty" book was of the first buildings built along the track. They built a pump house and water tank first to service the trains, then added a section house. The depot was housed in the pump house at first, but another building was later built for that purpose. The section house was also used as a railroad eating place and was run by a W. H. Gilbert and here is where the story got interesting! It was reported that trains that went through came from both the north and south and would stop for dinner. Mr. Gilbert would be reponsible for feeding these people and there were sometimes as many as 250 to be fed. Now a time or two, I have helped feed 250 people and felt I would not do it right awav again, let alone daily, so I take my hat off to this entrepaneur: Mr. Gilbert. Finding the groceries, let alone doing the cooking had to be a real challenge, espcially in a far outpost at the end of track.

Written by Ethel Thorlacius
Marshall County Historical Society