picture of long ago...showing a map of the Frisco in the
early days of its history.
photograph of the Frisco Lobby, 9th & Olive Sts.,
St. Louis, taken in 1960.
first building that stood on the present site of the Frisco
Building, years ago.
night view of the present Frisco Building, taken, 1960.
new Frisco Tri-Level car, pictured above, will accommodate
15 compact or 12 regular automobiles.
solid train load of automobiles leaving St. Louis, Frisco,
for points southwest.
CONDENSED HISTORY OF THE FRISCO RAILROAD...
are few people, who, riding over the Frisco Railroad
today, have any idea of the colorful struggle which
perpetuated the Frisco up from the small beginning
in 1849, when the Missouri Legislature authorized the
incorporation of the "Pacific Railroad", the parent
company of this now Class 1 Railroad.
passengers and shippers were well informed, they would
know that today the Frisco has over 5,000 miles of
well equipped railroad, operating through nine states,
namely, ... Missouri, Kansas, Alabama, Oklahoma, Tennessee,
Arkansas, Texas, Mississippi and Florida.
Frisco employs approximately 10,500 employees to whom
it pays annual wages of approximately $63,000,000.
The railroad owns 22,152 freight cars and 425 diesel
locomotives. It was one of the first railroads to become
dieselized. The last steam engine was retired from
service in 1952.
is a brief picture of facts and figures of the St.
Louis-San Francisco Railway Company of today. Now let
us look back through the years and briefly trace its
history, beginning on March 3, 1849 when the old Pacific's
charter was granted by the Missouri Legislature.
were pioneer days in railroad history and this company
was empowered to build a line from Franklin (now Pacific,
Mo) a distance of 34 miles, southwest of St. Louis
to Rolla, Mo., 77 miles away. None of the old timers
will remember John M. Weimer who was the first president
of the railroad and directing head of the system, years
under Mr. Weimer's direction, work on the line was
begun the summer of 1856 after seven grueling years
of financing, and the first train entered Rolla, Mo.,
late in December 1860. The track had a gauge of five
feet and was laid with 45# iron rails, which is quite
a contrast to the present standard gauge of the Frisco
with its 115 and 132 pound steel rails of today. It
is interesting to note also that in those good old
days, there were only 2,220 ties to the Frisco mile,
while today, maintenance of way men who keep up the
Frisco's roadbed, use 3,250 to each mile.
is no record of the celebration at Rolla, Mo., which
must have taken place back in 1860 when the Frisco's
first diamond-stack locomotive snorted into town, but
it must have been a satisfactory entrance, because
grading went on at a vigorous rate between Rolla and
the Gasconade River on the southwest. The only thing
that stopped it was the Civil War in the spring of
'61 and when that great struggle came, the Frisco section
men dropped their picks and shovels and shouldered
road suffered great hardships during the next four
trying years, and the close of the war in 1865 found
it bankrupt and in a badly damaged condition. Considerable
fighting the southwest had taken place along the Frisco's
right-of-way, and it suffered great damage at the hands
of the warring forces. At one time during the struggle,
General Sterling Price made a raid along the line of
the Frisco and burned all the bridges which were at
that time wooden structures. Two of the bridges were
important as they were both crossings of the Meramac
River, west of Pacific.
state of Missouri took possession of the road in February
1866 when the company defaulted in its interest payment,
and in June 1866, the state, at private sale, sold
the road to General John C. Fremont, adventuresome
soldier, "pathfinder", and later candidate
for President of the United States. "From the
ashes of his campfires have sprung cities".
Fremont turned out to be a much better fighter than
a railroad builder, because after reorganizing the
company as the Southwest Pacific Railroad in August
1866, the General was unable to pay the second installment
on his purchase price and in June 1867 he was dispossessed
by the state. He made some progress, however, for during
the time he held the road, some 13 miles of additional
track were built.
almost a year, work on the road was at a standstill,
but in May 1868, another group of ambitious builders
came along and reorganized the road -- this time as
the Southwest Pacific Railroad Company.
fact that they were ambitious builders is readily proven
when it becomes known that their intention was to build
a line connecting the middle and southwest sections
of the country with the Pacific coast. These plans,
however, were beset with difficulties, and in October
1870, just two and a half years later, the road was
forced to convey its franchise and property to another
new organization, this time the Atlantic & Pacific
Railroad Company. This new company had been incorporated
July 27, 1866 by an Act of Congress, and had been given
authority to build a railroad from Springfield, Mo.,
to the Pacific ocean. When this change of ownership
the Southwest Pacific Railroad had completed 253 miles
of single track line from Franklin (now Pacific, Mo)
to Pierce City, Mo.
residents along the constructed and projected lines
of the railroad were jubilant over the merging of these
two ambitious interests, and must have given many a
cheer when the newly organized Atlantic & Pacific
redoubled its efforts on the construction. They completed
the line from Franklin to Seneca, Mo., and built an
extension from Seneca to Vinita, Indian Territory,
34 miles away.
Franklin to Seneca portion of the road was known as
the Missouri Division. It fell on hard times and on
October 30, 1875 receivers were appointed for it, and
it was sold at auction on November 2, 1876 to one W.F.
THE NAME OF THE ST. LOUIS-SAN FRANCISCO RAILWAY COMPANY
entered the picture for the first time, for Mr. Buckley
in purchasing the Missouri Division was acting for
the St. Louis & San Francisco Railway Company.
This concern was incorporated under the laws of Missouri
on September 7, 1876, and it operated both the Missouri Division
and the line from Seneca to Vinita, which was known
then as the Central Division of the Atlantic & Pacific.
new St. Louis & San Francisco Railway Company entered
upon a policy of expansion which far exceeded anything
which had gone before. A complete record of all the
new lines built cannot be given here and only the principal
ones will be briefly mentioned.
old Central Division was extended in 1882 from Vinita
to Tulsa on the north bank of the Arkansas River, a
distance of 65 miles. Previous to this, in March 1880,
a line originally started in 1871 was completed from
Pierce City to Wichita, Kans., 218 miles long. An extension
of this line, 103 miles in length was then built from
Wichita to Ellsworth, Kans., where connection was made
with the Union Pacific Railroad in 1888.
line from Monett, Mo., to Ft. Smith, Ark., which had
been started in July 1880 was opened on January 1,
1883 and in the latter year, a line 34 miles long was
also constructed from Pacific to St. Louis, Mo. Heretofore
entrance to St. Louis had been made over the tracks
of the Missouri Pacific Railroad company, but with
this construction into St. Louis, the Missouri Pacific
agreement was discontinued.
extension to Paris, Tex., started in July 1886 was
completed one year later, and connections were made
at Paris, Tex., with the Texas & Pacific Railway
and also with the Gulf, Colorado & Santa Fe.
this time the Frisco had reached a point where it was
being appraised by other railroads and in 1890 the
Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe had troubles of its
own and a little later....in 1883, they defaulted on
their bond interests and the Frisco entered receivership.
Three years later, in June 1896, the property was bought
at public auction by a purchasing committee and turned
to the then newly organized St. Louis & San Francisco
Railroad Company. At that time the line consisted of
990 miles of fairly well conditioned track, and with
the acquisition in December 1897 of the Central Division
of the Atlantic & Pacific, the owned mileage increased
to the grand total of 1,218 miles. Construction had
not ceased, and in 1898 the road completed its line
between Kansas City and Springfield, Mo., via Clinton,
Mo. This construction was the occasion of great jubilation
in western Missouri, for it marked the final linking
up of several sections of this line which had been
under construction since 1884. The year of 1889 was
another important one in the history of the the Frisco,
when the road from Tulsa to Oklahoma City was opened.
years later, in March 1900, construction of
the line from Sapulpa, Okla., to Denison, Tex., 198
miles away, was begun and rushed through to completion
in March 1901. This was a fortunate move, for oil fields,
adjacent to the line began to be developed shortly
after it was built, and petroleum and its products
furnished a large part of the tonnage then. They still
do, for that matter.
1902, this line was extended south to Carrollton, Tex.,
where a connection was made with the St. Louis Southwestern
Railway of Texas, and in 1908 with the Chicago, Rock
Island & Gulf Railway, thus giving the Frisco trains
and entrance in to Dallas and Ft. Worth, Texas.
1901 the Frisco acquired the lines comprising the Kansas
City, F. Scott & Memphis Railway Company and the
Kansas City, Memphis and Birmingham Railroad Company
with branches, which gave them a line from Kansas City
through Springfield, Mo., to Memphis and Birmingham,
Ala., and from Kansas City through Ft. Scott, Kans.,
and Baxter Springs, Kans., to Joplin, Mo., and Miami,
the same year an extension was completed from Miami
to Afton, Okla., where connection was made with the
Southwestern Division of the Frisco and permitted the
operation of train service from Kansas City, Mo., to
Dallas, Ft. Worth and Oklahoma city via Baxter, Kansas.
building was also under way in another section of what
was to become Frisco territory on the southwest. Mr.
Ed L. Peckham of Blackwell, Okla., had projected what
was then known as the Blackwell, Enid & Southwestern
Railway, extending from Blackwell, Okla., to Vernon,
Tex., a distance of 251 miles.
that time the line had been constructed from Blackwell
to Enid, Okla., 48 miles, and the line had already
been given its nickname of the "Bes" line,
derived from the initials of the company's full and
July 4, 1901, while construction from Enid south through
Drummond, Ames, Okeene and other cities on the present
line was progressing at a rapid rate, President McKinley
issued a proclamation providing for the opening and
allotting all Kiowa, Comanche and Apache reservations
through which the line was to be built. President McKinley's
proclamation assured settlement in the territory and
gave added impetus to the construction program.
is interesting to note that many stations on the Bes
Line were named for men who were financially interested
in the enterprise, including the name of Breckenridge,
named for Breckenridge Jones of St. Louis who was president
of the company; Drummond, which was named for Harry
Drummond, at one time connected with the lending tobacco
manufacturing company of St. Louis...and Carleton for
the late Murray Carleton Dry Goods Company of St. Louis
with the completion of the Bes Line, the Frisco built
into Quanah, Texas in 1903, an act which eventually
resulted in the Quanah Lines' construction southwardly
in 1909 to McBain, and in 1928 to Floydada, Texas.
The line to Quanah was built from Oklahoma City and
passed through the famous government military post
of Ft. Sill.
reaching Quanah, the Frisco touched a historic town
situated in the original vast Texas wilderness known
as the lower panhandle. Quanah was founded in 1885,
when the Ft. Worth & Denver Railroad was surveyed
through the region, and received its name from Chief
Quanah, the last and most famous of the Comanches and
means "Bed of Flowers". Today it is a modern
city and is the center of the plaster industry in the
1904 the Frisco completed its line from St. Louis to
Memphis and this was really an event of great importance
in the development of the Frisco system. Following
the Mississippi River for a great part of the way from
St. Louis to Cape Girardeau and then through the famous
cotton fields of southeast Missouri and northeast Arkansas,
the line traversed a county rich both in natural resources
and in the history of America.
went through St. Genevieve, Mo., for instance, where
the first white colony west of the Mississippi River
in the United States was founded in 1735 by the French.
It wound through Cape Girardeau, a river point of great
importance during the steamboat era, and through Wittenberg,
Mo., where legend has named "The Rock of the Cross",
for in December 1699, three Missionaries of the Sulpician
Order descended on the Father of Waters on the 6th
day of the month, reaching the village of Tomarouah
which they described as being on a "fine bay of
the river". They placed a cross on the rock, marking
it and the cross was placed with solemn religious ceremonies.
It is also the smallest national reservation in the
United States, having been declared a government reservation
several years ago to prevent its destruction for commercial
purposes when quarrymen threatened its existence.
section of the Frisco, 305 miles in length, consisted
partly of new construction and partly of old lines,
purchased from that famous southeast Missouri railroad
builder, Louis Houck, whose name is well remembered
among pioneer railroad men of the southwest.
to this event of 1904, the Frisco had acquired control
of the Chicago & Eastern Illinois Railroad, thus
giving it an outlet to the Great Lakes via St. Louis
to Chicago. In 1907 control was acquired of the Gulf
Coast Lines with important terminals at New Orleans.
These lines, however, were detached from the parent
company and construction of a connection link in Texas
would have been necessary to complete the system through
to the Great Lakes from Texas points.
had progressed very favorably for the Frisco during
the time it had last emerged from receivership in 1896,
and in that 17 year period it had trebeled its mileage
and greatly increased its importance to the territory
times descended again on May 17, 1913 when the company
with a total mileage of 5,155 miles was again thrown
into receivership. On June 19, 1916, the property was
sold under foreclosure to the present company, namely
the ST. LOUIS SAN-FRANCISCO RAILWAY COMPANY, and in
the transaction the Frisco lost the Chicago & Eastern
Illinois and the Gulf Coast Lines.
by this series of receiverships, the new company entered
on a program of improvements, and the system was thoroughly
rehabilitated from one end to the other. Principal
lines were ballasted, heavier rails were laid, bridges
rebuilt or sometimes replaced by entirely new structures,
and heavier power and improved rolling stock purchased.
This program of improvements involving an expenditure
of many millions of dollars, placed the Frisco in the
front ranks among the railroads of the middle and southwest
the early days of 1868, the old Southwest Pacific Railway
Company announced its intention of building a line
connecting the middle southwestern sections of the
country with tide water. That idea persisted through
all the years and the present name of the company,
ST. LOUIS SAN-FRANCISCO RAILWAY COMPANY shows that
its owners had faith in the company's ability to eventually
reach tide water.
1916 until 1925 no progress seemingly was made in this
direction, but in July 1925, newspapers of this nation
announced that the Frisco had acquired control of the
Muscle Shoals, Birmingham & Pensacola Railway,
a line 142 miles in length, extending from Pensacola,
Fla., north to Kimbrough, Ala. The Frisco promptly
built a connection link from Aberdeen, Miss., on the
Southern Division, south to Kimbrough, and opened the
new line with appropriate ceremonies in June 1928.
In constructing the new line from Aberdeen, Miss.,
to Kimbrough, Ala., through the state of Mississippi
and a part of Alabama, the line follows the famous
Tombigbee River Valley and is on the survey
and partially graded roadbed that was laid out by General
Nathan B. Forrest immediately after the Civil War.
an idea that had actually originated 75 years before
-- that of extending the Frisco lines to the tide water,
had finally been realized and the extension of the
line to Pensacola added prestige, not only to the importance
of the city as a port, but also to the Frisco system
as one of the great railways of the United States.
great depression starting in 1929 had its effect on
the Frisco and by 1932 the road was again in the hands
of receivers. In 1933 the status of the road was changed
to a trusteeship by the United States District Court
and the property was operated by Trustees until January
1, 1947, when the reorganization of the company was
appointing Trustees the Court provided for an unbroken
continuity of executive direction of the Frisco Lines
throughout the period of trusteeship. The original
Trustees were the late J.M. Kurn, President of the
bankrupt company, and the late John G. Lonsdale, both
of St. Louis. Upon the death in 1943 of Mr. Lonsdale,
Judge Frank A. Thompson, who had been special counsel,
was named Co-Trustee. Judge Thompson served as Co-Trustee
with Mr. Kurn until the latter's retirement in 1945,
after which he continued as sole Trustee until completion
of the reorganization. When the reorganization was
completed, Judge Thompson became Chairman of the Board,
serving until his death on February 7, 1958.
Hungerford was named President of the new Frisco Company
on completion of its reorganization. A five-year voting
trust period, from 1947 through 1951 was established
by court order, and under Hungerford's leadership during
these years, the railroad gave indication that it possessed
the energetic vitality that had marked its continuous
December 28, 1948, the Frisco acquired control of the
Alabama, Tennessee & Northern Railroad Company,
which operates between Reform and Mobile, Ala. Prior
to the acquisition, the Frisco and AT&N interchanged
at Aliceville, Ala., with traffic moving into and out
of the Port of Mobile. This acquisition brought about
possibilities for greater industrial development for
Mobile and the territory served by the AT&N and
gave the Frisco its second seaport city.
of the 1947-1952 period was devoted to building up
the Frisco property through modernization and mechanization.
A huge multi-million dollar yard, office building and
diesel house were constructed at Springfield, Mo.,
operating hub of the railroad. Centralized traffic
control, to speed Frisco trains and make operation
safer, was spread over the system. The latest developments
in communication techniques were introduced.
June of 1957, work was completed on a $10,000,000 yard
at Capleville, near Memphis, Tenn., known as Tennessee
Yard. This installation is an electrically operated
hump-type yard...the first on the Frisco System, and
replaces the outmoded Yale Yard, also near Memphis.
hump yard has also been built at Tulsa, Okla. This
yard is known as Cherokee Yard and it, like Tennessee
Yard, utilizes the latest developments in electronic