More memories of depot, railroad
Thu, 03/25/2021 - 10:33am admin
CRESCO - After reading some memories Al Skoda had of the trains and depot, Paul Larson was reminded of some of his own experiences . . .
It was in grade school days in Lime Springs. My class took a trip on the train from Lime Springs to Cresco. I think it was 25¢. We saw the depot and the Locker, where they were making ice cream. We also visited a candy wholesaler, who was located where Wilson Upholster is now (across from where the depot was on 1st Ave. West). Mothers came to pick us up.
“Another time, a friend and I took the train to Cresco and went to the Sears building (across from the Cresco Theatre & Opera House). Red Rathert had a manufacturing business where you could practice Morse Code.
“In Lime Springs, me and my friends would climb on the freight cars and jump off.
“A friend stayed overnight at our house after we moved to Cresco in 1946. He had to get down to the depot around 6:20 or 6:30 a.m. to get the Des Moines Register.
“In high school, I wasn’t athletic. I was called to the principal’s office. The Dubuque Telegraph Herald wanted the highlights from the football game. It was telegraphed there. A while later I got a dollar in the mail.
“In college, I took the train to go up to Northfield, Minn. I’d get home about 10 in the evening. That was late. One of my friends ran a taxi service, so I got a ride from the train to St. Olaf College. I usually got a ride home or hitchhiked with one of my friends.
“Those were the days when you could hitchhike. One time a woman picked us up because it was snowing. If she got stuck, she figured she’s have a couple guys to help. It got so bad, we jumped on a train at Mason City.
“My dad had the furniture store in Lime Springs and then started one in Cresco. In February and August, he would go to the expo in Chicago. He’d gt together with other furniture buyers (from Osage, Decorah, Ossian and Lime Springs/Cresco), and they would purchase a freight car to share the cost. The car would stay in Lime Springs and then Cresco, and the others would pick up their furniture there.
“We would get our flowers through Kolind and then Kubalsky (now Plantpeddler) out of Austin. I’d help my mother with flower arrangements at funerals.
“When I got my orders to go overseas for the Army in 1953, I thought I would travel comfortably, so I went to Minneapolis and got a compartment to travel the norther route to Seattle, to Fort Lewis, near Tacoma. Then I went to the Korean Theater.
“Before they got rid of passenger service, there was a hearing in Cresco. I was asked to give my experiences.”
Unfortunately, even listening to Larson’s interesting tales of riding the rails did not stop the closing of the passenger line on Jan. 10, 1953 and the freight service mid November 1983.