In 1907, the Arnold Engineering & Construction Company of Chicago
was hired to build the West Side Frisco Shops, west of what is presently
the Kansas Expressway. The shops were opened on July 5, 1909, and
their first locomotive was turned out on July 17, 1909. At this
time the shop employed 380 men.
Some recognizable features on the postcard are the 217 foot concrete
smoke stack and the 150 foot water tower. The power plant, the building
to the far right, provided electricity for the entire complex and
was said to have had electrical power before the city of Springfield
did. By 1933 there were 1435 employees of the Frisco Shops.
In 1950 the West Side Shops were greatly modernized and expanded
and the new diesel shop began service on May 3, 1950. The project
included thirty-six miles of new track, a new Eastern Division office
building, a restaurant and a state-of-the-art diesel shop. This
diesel shop was the largest on the railroad and handled all major
locomotive repairs on the Frisco line. In 1980-81 the Frisco merged
with the Burlington Northern Railroad. The diesel shop continued
operation until 1996 when it was shut down. There was talk of moving
the Frisco Railroad Museum into the gigantic shop building, but
it was determined to be unfeasible.