Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Ottumwa Iowa

The Burlington Station

Sometimes a station is memorable because the town is memorable. In this case memorable because of a great fiction.
As many people in my generation, I watched the TV program "M*A*S*H" regularly. For me, it was refreshing because it was about the only program on the air then (or now for that matter) that had an actor playing an Ordained Minister as part of the regular cast (Father Mulchay). Further, the character portrayed was not the Elmer Gantry type that is all too common among Hollywood productions.
Ottumwa Iowa was the "hometown" of "Radar" O'Reilly. Not really, but hey, it put the town on the map.
Being on the route of Amtrak's California Zephyr, Ottumwa is a regular passenger train stop these days. And this station is there to welcome guests eager to see where "Radar" lived. It also welcomes bus passengers as well, since it is also a bus depot. Finally, it also has a small museum.
The Station itself is fairly old, being constructed originally in 1888. For many years it served the trains of the Chicago Burlinton and Quincy Railroad (more commonly known as "The Burlington Route.") It was "remodeled" in 1951 (probably when the stone exterior was added). Thus, despite its age, it appears to be fairly modern.

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