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La Plata Depot NatureScape - La Plata Depot NatureScape from the Friends for La Plata Preservation.
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La Plata Depot
A Living Classroom

The city of La Plata, Missouri, has been awarded a grant to demonstrate and to inform the general public and schools about protecting water quality and the landscape possibilities of native grasses, wildflowers and perennials.

All of the plants are native to Missouri. These plantings require less water and fertilizer as well as being able to hold soil in place to decrease erosion. The project was begun on April 1, 1997, and is located next to the old depot in La Plata as part of a larger restoration effort.

Prairie grasses played a larger part in the naming of La Plata (Spanish for "The Silver"). Dr. W.W. Moore, one of the founders, thought that the name should be a name of significance. He would give it a name that would inspire noble achievement, or something suggestive of the place. To him, the rolling prairies resembled a silver river with the grasses flowing northward in the wind. With this in mind, prairie grasses and wildflowers were chosen for the living classroom. The use of these disease resistant plants will provide the onlooker with a window into the past. From late spring through fall the pleasing contrasts of the silver blue and golden grasses will be accented by wildflowers. These native Missouri plants thrive during the summer months with little or no irrigation, reducing the volume of runoff and potential polutants carried offsite. Even in winter, the grasses will catch and sculpt the snow.

Plant materials and techniques to be used in the restoration are based on "Naturescape," a booklet providing guidance for planning natural environmentally-healthy lawns and gardens. "Naturescapes" is available without charge from the Department of Natural Resources by calling 1-800-361-4827. Partial funding is provided by a Section 319 water quality grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region VII, through the Missouri Department of Natural Resources (DNR). The City of La Plata is providing matching support for this project. For more information, call Ruth Wallace, DNR, (573)526-7687.

Friends for La Plata Preservation, is the authorized organization that participated in the writing of this grant.

Santa Fe
(Amtrak) Depot

The year, 1997, marked the 110th Anniversary of the coming of the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad (ATSF) to La Plata. It was a memorable event for the entire community. Kirksville and Macon, adjoining towns, endeavored to take the railroad through their communities but failed. The La Plata Home Press, January 4, 1888 issue described the newly finished depot as "the largest and finest depot we have ever seen outside of cities: ladies' and gent's [sic] waiting rooms, ticket office and an immense freight room. Every move about La Plata by the Santa Fe has been first-class."

In 1945 the old depot was in need of replacement because of a fire. Due to World War II, building materials were in short supply and government restrictions prohibited building a new structure. As a result, the former depot was remodeled inside and out, with the actual building itself remaining, creating a building within a building. The modernization project included restrooms, a beautiful waiting room, a built-in ticket counter, and a modern heating plant.

The new depot was dedicated at a formal public ceremony only four months from when it was begun on September 21, 1945.

The depot became neglected in the years to come, even though it was used everyday for passenger service and, in later years, leased by Amtrak.

In 1996 The Friends For La Plata Preservation, a non-profit corporation was joined by the NEMO Model Railroad Club and the building was saved with volunteer labor. Restoration is now in progress however, more funds are needed to finish the total restoration of the building.

This Santa Fe (Amtrak) depot is now the only stop in Missouri north of Kansas City and throught to be the only one of its kind on the entire Amtrak line in America.

(Revised 9/2001)

June 18, 2006 / October 16, 2006

More Photos: Exterior / Interior / Rooms / Train Watching / Amtrak Exhibition / Event Center
For Travel Arrangements & Info e-mail: travel@SilverRails.net or call: 877-459-5900 (toll-free).





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