Ask folks in Caddo if they have regrets about the past and one of two topics will likely come up- the demolition of the Catholic Church or the demise of the Katy Depot. The loss of both buildings is deeply felt by this small community. This fall the Caddo Community Association hopes to display some memorabilia from the days of the Missouri, Kansas &Texas railroad and if all goes according to plan, a replica of the Spanish style depot which served Caddo for forty years. More details later.
Caddo was created by the coming of the railroad. According to The KATY Railroad and the Last Frontier, by V.V. Masterson, the Caddo Hills milepost 220 was reached on October 26, 1872. “Ben Munson, the Katy land agent, was much in evidence at the end-of-track now. On October 26, 1872, he proudly announced that ‘a new deport will be established today at Caddo Hills, near Blue Creek, Chickasaw Nation, 40 miles from Sherman.’” The new “depot” was an old box car! By 1873 about 400 people had flocked to the depot site to establish a town and a wooden depot 600 feet long had been constructed. That depot later burned and box cars were once again used until another depot was constructed.
Caddo was a busy freight site, but it wasn’t always agricultural products that were shipped back East. In 1874 a “chain-gang of wild Indian prisoners” (Last Frontier) was taken to Caddo for shipment to prisons in the East. In 1877 Corporal E.A. Bode reported that “our marching orders were received in due time and we found ourselves again imprisoned in nine cars enroute to Caddo, Indian Territory. Caddo, an Indian village of about 2,000 on the Missouri, Kansas and Texas Railroad was principally inhabited by the Choctaw.” (A Dose of Frontier Soldiering , by E.A. Bode)
A brochure from 1908 boasted that “Caddo ships each year more car loads of agriculture products than any other point in Oklahoma.” It listed 8,000 bales of cotton, 3,000 car loads of corn, hay, and oats, and 700-800 cars of livestock.
According to an article in the Katy Flyer,published by the Katy Railroad Historical Society, June 1983, the mission style stations were built at “Caddo, OK, Osage, OK, Chanute, KS, and Boonville, MO”. An article written in the Caddo Herald, August, 1910, just before the building of the new depot reported “This depot will be a modern fire-proof structure, Mission style, to cost about $10,000. It will be 210 feet in length by 30 feet in width, with concrete foundations, cement plaster walls, a tile roof, with full width eaves for sheds, and large arches at each end. Railroad authorities say that this will be the nicest depot on the Missouri, Kansas & Texas railway between Denison and Parsons. This well be considerable help to Caddo.” And it was, until it was demolished in the early 1950’s.
The depot in Boonville is the only one still in existence. It was renovated in the late 1990’s and now houses the offices of the Boonville Area Chamber of Commerce and Tourist Information Center, plus District offices of the Division of State Parks. I imagine that in retrospect Caddo citizens wish we had done the same. Nonetheless, you should be able to at least see a replica of the depot this fall.
Note: The photo above was provided by the Katy Historical Society.