Passengers Arrived in Style

The brick Missouri Pacific Railroad Passenger Station, completed in 1900, stood at 302 W. Douglas. With its marble interior, it was the pride of Wichitans at the turn of the century. The top two floors of the three story building were used for division offices of the railroad and the ground floor for passenger ticketing and waiting.
Behind the station stood the Dixie Lee mansion, an upscale brothel known by everybody but seldom mentioned in the presence of ladies.
Dixie Lee, however, was proud of her "house" and tried to get an injunction against the building of the station, claiming the structure would depreciate the value of her property.
To that, the Feb. 3, 1900 Wichita Daily Beacon responded, "Plainly speaking, the people generally prefer the new depot to a disreputable resort."
The courts seemed to agree, and the pasenger station was constructed, at a cost of $30,000.
The Missouri Pacific Railroad was the parent company of the St. Louis, Fort Scott and Wichita Railroad, which came to Wichita as its third railroad in 1883. The first train arrived July 4 of that year amid a grand civic celebration.
Due to the popularity of air travel after World War II, however, passenger traffic declined. The depot was closed on Sunday, May 18, 1964. Later that year, the Missouri Pacific passenger station was torn down. The property was purchased for the Garvey Center which now stands on the site.

The Missouri Pacific Depot was torn down in 1964 to make way for the Garvey office building. Photo courtesy of Wichita Public Library

The Garvey office building. Photo by V & D Churchman