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Ringgold County's Oral Legend & Memories Project


Part IV

Friday, September 11, 2009.


The depot at Humeston, Wayne County, Iowa, is an "L" shaped building. The top photograph is the view one would have if coming into Humeston on the train from the east. The tracks would have been between the depot and the water tower in the distance on the right.

Alva Humeston, Sr. (1815-1889) came from Ohio to Wayne County in 1864, settling on a 640-acre farm near what later became the town of Humeston. The first railroad through town was the Humeston & Shenandoah, later part of the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy (CB&Q) Railroad. A railroad official from Chariton, S. W. Mallory, named the town after Alva Humeston, the man from whom the railroad purchased 80 acres of his farm.

Alva Humeston, Sr. built the first building in town and operated a general store, was the first postmaster, a position he held for 24 years, was the mayor for a few terms, and was a school board member. Alva's obituary stated that he was "a man of great moral power and Christian worth, and has left an influence behind him for good that will be felt for many years." He was interred at the Humeston Cemetery.

The depot was built in 1872, located with the wooden water tower in the northern part of town. The area is part of the Humeston RV park which also features an Army tank.

The tracks ran from Cambria to Humeston, then on to LeRoy. Most of the CB&Q Railroad was abandoned in the 1930's, ending an era in southern Iowa's history.

From Humeston, we headed north to Osceola.

I have traveled and driven up and down Highway 69 between Osceola and Leon for years and years. Just south of Osceola, on the west side of the highway, stands what used to be a diner with an eating area? on the roof. To my recollection, this diner has never been open for buisness. It has slowly been decaying away all the time I've ever seen it.

If anyone knows the history behind this building, please contact me. Thank you.

September 13, 2009, Dave Dinham writes:
Hi Sharon...
I believe I know the site south of Osceola you are referring to. I have not been there in over 50 years. If it is the same thing I am thinking of, it used to be a drive in restaurant, mostly ice cream things. It had a go-kart track in the back of it. There was no inside dining. You walked up to the window and ordered what you wanted. My whole family used to drive over there in the evenings and have something to eat.
Dave Dinham

I didn't take any photographs of the exterior of the Osceola depot due to all of the vehicles, safety fencing, and construction materials around the building. Renovation on the depot is coming along nicely. The roof has been finished, along with copper facing and hunter green eaves. The construction workers said that part of the renovation process was to bring the depot back to "original" and copper was original.




 The interior of the depot is like stepping back in time. The original tile floor and benches are still there along with the ticket windows and steam heat radiators.

Oceola's depot was built in 1907. The city purchased the depot from Burlington Northern in 2006 and is restoring it. This depot has the highest train traffic in Iowa with an estimated 20,000 passengers traveling annually through the depot. Amtrack stops twice a day at the depot, running from Chicago to the West Coast.



Ladies' Room, Osceola Depot

The baggage area is currently being utilized during the renovation. All of the orginial walls and a ladder going up into the attic are intact. I peeked into the men's room and was surprised to see an urinal with a high water tank. I haven't been in a lot of men's rooms but don't recall hearing of many high water tank urinals.

My thanks to Mike for another fine road trip. And, my thanks to the folks who patiently answered our questions and jotted down phone numbers and gave us names of contact people.

Contribution by Sharon R. Becker, September of 2009

To contribute to "Tales from the Front Porch: Ringgold County's Oral Legend & Memories Project"
contact Sharon R. Becker at
Please include the word "Ringgold - Front Porch" in the subject line. Thank you.

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