First Train Order Office in Edmond, 1887
The Santa Fe Railroad laid tracks from the Red River to Arkansas City in 1887 going from Indian Territory on the South, through the Unassigned Lands and into Kansas, thus completing a railroad from Chicago to Galveston. A coal and water station was placed on the prairie to supply the steam engines with fuel. The town that would later be called Edmond was located between the Canadian and Cimarron Rivers. The surveyors originally designated the town “Mile Marker 103,” and then “Summit,” which eventually became Edmond Station.
As the railroad construction advanced, telegraph offices and side tracks were established every few miles depending on the lay of the land. Coal bins, storage bins, and water tanks for the iron horses also were necessary. Railroad employees, coming to and from Edmond referred to it as “Summit.” Edmond was not the highest site between the Cimarron and North Canadian Rivers as others have declared. In fact, the high point between Arkansas City and today’s Oklahoma City was near Waterloo Road, Oklahoma County’s northern boundary, and five miles north of Edmond’s center.
John Steen, a young Santa Fe worker, was brought to the area from New Mexico in 1887 to complete the construction of the water well. The water well was enormous: 30 feet across and 120 feet deep and lined with 20 carloads of rock. After the well was completed, a water tower, pump house and coal house were erected on a side track.
The pump house was the first home in Edmond. John and Cordelia Steen and their two-year old son, Charles, were the first family, sleeping and making a home in the railroad pump house. In 1888 the site saw only one passenger train and one freight train a day, stopping for water and coal. Some engineers would wire ahead for Cordelia Steen to “have some grub ready” for them.
This photo was taken two years after the April 22, 1889 Land Run into the Territory. This photo looks south to the train order office platform. The water tank with goose-neck delivery spout for watering passing trains and all of the station’s buildings were located on the west side of the tracks. The Edmond coaling barn is seen in the far distance.
Edmond Depot, Built in the Fall of 1890
The Depot pictured above was built in fall of 1890, stood for 77 years. This large depot was built two years after the Land Run of 1889. Edmond built a new train depot and platform with a large loading dock and holding area for freight (south side of station) and an equally large area (to the north) which served as a passenger waiting room with multiple windows. The station followed the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad blueprint with centrally located spaces for ticket and Western Union telegraph offices.
The Edmond Train Depot was remodeled in 1947. Edmond’s Train Depot was eventually torn down in 1967 to make room for the Second Street underpass. Today, cars that drive under the train bridge pass directly underneath the original south side footprint of the old station. In this aerial photo of 1961, Edmond’s train station can be seen in the foreground (situated just north and slightly east of the Rodkey Elevator. In the past, Second Street came to a stop at the railroad.
Nina W. Hager, 2012 Image 12979, Edmond Train Order Office, courtesy of the Research Division of the Oklahoma Historical Society.Edmond Historical Society Collections Archives Crowder, James L., Historic Edmond, Lammert, 2000. Moore, John B., Railroad Historian, “Edmond Station and Depot Notes & Documents,” Albuquerque, 2011.