All the Live-Long Day

Santa Fe machinists, 1903

Santa Fe railroad machinists in Ottawa, 1903.

Ottawa, Kans., is a railroad town through and through. Not only did the Santa Fe and the Missouri Pacific railroads pass through town, but the Old Depot Museum is housed in a Santa Fe passenger depot built in 1888. So, it’s only fitting that the museum’s new exhibition is titled Workin’ on the Railroads.

Workin’ on the Railroads explores the lives of the Ottawa residents who worked for the railroads: where they lived, who they were, and how they worked. Visitors to the exhibition will learn about the day-to-day jobs on the railroad, including the job responsibilities of fire knockers and flue borers.

railroad section gang

Mexican American section gang workers at Franklin County’s Richter Station, 1930s.

The exhibition is part of  The Way We Worked in Kansas initiative. Workin’ on the Railroads is on display through May 5, 2013. The public is invited to a reception on Sunday, April 28th.

Photos courtesy of the Franklin County Historical Society.