Monday, July 1, 2013

Fairgrounds Branch Early History

Some interesting history regarding the Farigrounds Branch came to my attention while researching industries. It was originally constructed  in 1873 by the Kansas City, Memphis & Mobile RR, which was later purchased by the KC & Southern RY and finally by then the KC, Osceola & Southern RY.  South of 31st. St. the road started but never finished the Westport Tunnel. The KCM&M also graded the line from Mill St. to Dodson, this line was later built as the KC Public Service Co., today's Trolley Track Trail. John Blair's KC&S intended to use the line as their entrance into KC but the cost of completing the tunnel & the heavy grade was too much so the KC&S built north from Dodson to Coburg instead. After the KCO&S was purchased by Frisco & as industry around Rosedale developed Frisco used the 29th St. Line to reach Coleman Highlands, but instead of completing the tunnel they built around it.

The tunnel was later converted to an entrance for an underground office park.  http://www.deanrealtyco.com/Downtown_Underground/History/.  In earlier research, I'd noticed topo maps had shown this area to be largely undeveloped with little mining symbols on it.  The development of that underground office park and reuse of the abandoned tunnel connects a few dots on this area, how it became the way it was, and why railroad tracks were built that way in the first place.