This week we continue our series that takes a look at the immense impact the railroad had on all the towns in Kiowa County. Now that the railroad is back in operation, we wanted to give our readers a clear picture on how the towns in Kiowa County popped up and ultimately developed. It was the railroad that built the towns as the Missouri Pacific expanded its reach toward the West through Kiowa County in the years 1865 to 1890.
There were sixteen stop sites established along the railroad route in Kiowa County. H. S. Mallory, President of the Pueblo and State Line Railroad, later known as the Missouri Pacific Railroad, gave his daughter Jessie Mallory Thayer the job of naming the towns and sidings along the line. Mrs. Thayer named these places alphabetically running from east to west beginning with Arden, originally located near present-day Sheridan Lake, then Brandon, Chivington, Diston, Eads, Fergus, Galatea, Haswell, Inman, Joliet (later renamed Arlington) and Kilburn.
LONG TIME GONE AND THE ABC’s OF KIOWA COUNTY RAILROAD TOWNS – (Part IV)
The following excerpts are from the booklet, “Railroads in the Development of Kiowa County” produced by the Kiowa County Library and other interested citizens in 1983.
I is for Inman – Inman was the “I” in Jessie Thayer’s list of towns on the railroad and was shown on county maps from 1892-1956. It was named for Colonel Henry Inman, author of the Santa Fe Trail. Inman was located between present-day Haswell and present-day Arlington.
J is for Joliet (Arlington) – The town of Arlington was originally named Joliet and was the “J” in Jessie Thayer’s naming of Kiowa County railroad towns. The Post Office was established in 1887 and is still active today.
Soon, the small community prospered and grew and the railroad built the largest stockyard between Hoisington, KS and Pueblo there.
Joe Barnett became the railroad station agent at Arlington in 1929 and described that in that year there were 120 carloads of cattle shipped from Arlington that fall. The Arlington Depot was closed in 1934 and was torn down a shot while later.
The hey day of Arlington was between 1913 and 1934 when the population went from 150 to about 500 people. During those years there were two general stores, a lumber yard, land gent office, garage, livery stable, blacksmith shop, pool hall, two-room school and a newspaper. The only church was built in 1916 and by 1976 the congregation voted to give it to the Colorado Boys’ Ranch at La Junta where it was moved and still stands today.
Through the 20 years of Arlington’s hey day there were four newspapers published including The Arlington Review (1888-1891), The Blizzard (1889-1893), The Arlington Observer (1915-1916) and the Arlington Advance (1920-1921).
K is for Kilburn – The community of Kilburn, just a post office, was located about six miles southwest of Arlington. The post office was operational during the years of 1890-1891. By July of 1911, the people were informed the railroad was building a depot building at Kilburn which brought immigrant cars of people and all kinds of freight. As late as 1937, the local newspaper was printing news notes from the Kilburn community.