Thursday, July 13, 2006

Vintage RR Stations

In case you were wondering, those two splendid old red buildings on the left side of Iron Springs Road as you head out of town are the real thing. The building above was the Santa Fe passenger station at Hillside; the other came from Drake, as I recall.

Today Hillside station is an excellent restaurant and Drake station houses Western relics and antiques. A third member of this set remains in Skull Valley, where it serves the local historical society.

I don't know if there is a station remaining at the Iron Springs community -- it certainly was a busy location in the summer many years ago. My Mom tells of the "weekend warriors" in the 20s and 30s who took the train every weekend from Phoenix and back to join the wife and children who were in the mountains for a cool summer at Iron Springs.

I had the good fortune to ride the Santa Fe from the Valley up to Williams in ought-46. The passenger train consisted of a combination freight/Railway Express car and a combo mail/observation car. Most readers are probably too young to remember what an observation car was -- a lounge car with unassigned seats. But most important was a little open air "porch" at the back -- that's where the politicians stood to wave to the crowds on their whistlestop tours.

The run up to the main line left Phoenix at four in the afternoon -- so you could see the Hassayampa River down near Wickenburg and, later, the small canyon of Kirkland Creek. It was dark well before we reached Prescott, unfortunately, because I was looking forward to seeing the Dells from the train.

I don't recall the train stopping at either Hillside or Drake.


Anonymous said...

how about the ex-SF station in lovely downtown Prescott. Hermano Bill

Granny J said...

As a matter of fact, I didn't have a picture of it to include! I've always been disappointed that a couple of more public-type businesses didn't locate in that building when it was rehabbed for rent. I don't know if any of the old fixtures remain.

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