HISTORICAL POSTCARDS OF SPRINGFIELD, MISSOURI
West Side Frisco Shops
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.