SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — “Sharing Stories of the Crossroads” is an Ozarks-based history-themed radio show on KICK 92.3 FM & 1340 AM.
This week host John Sellars spoke with the Railroad Historical Museum, which is dedicated to the preservation of the Frisco and other railroad history in the Ozarks.
“[Springfield] was a huge railroad town. It was over 4000 employees. The railroad lived here. And so it was a very important industry here for many, many years,” said Sellars. “It was the crossroads where the trains from Saint Louis to Tulsa and the trains from Kansas City to Memphis crossed here in Springfield. And so you could catch a train from here and go any one of four directions. And that was very rare.”
“It’s all housed in some rail cars and a steam engine that are in Grant Beach Park and have been there since—at least the steam engine part— since the early 1950s,” said Sellars. He said when trains switched to diesel-electric engines, the Frisco steam engine was transferred to its current location in Grant Beach Park by using compressed air and laying panel tracks in the middle of the street.
According to the park board website, the museum includes a Burlington Baggage Car, a Chicago and Northwestern Bilevel Commuter Car and a Burlington Northern Caboose. All cars are connected and may be walked through.
The museum has artifacts, equipment, photos, paintings, videos and much more from the St. Louis – San Francisco (Frisco) Railroad and other railroads.