Trains, Depots and Railroad Worker Photos – Sepia Saturday

Im excited to finally have some photos to go along with the Train theme on the Sepia Saturday Blog (see menu on side to visit Sepia Sat website). Click any of the images for a larger close up view.

I found this batch up for auction. The photos I’m posting go along with full album collections with real names and families connected, so I do have some info about these very photos which helps add a little more to the stories that may go along with them. This first photo above says “1916 A.W. Mueller” . Great shot with the accordion style gate pulled across. It also says “BR” on the sides, not sure what that stands for. And is that a flask the man is holding? Hes ready for the ride drink in hand.

I may not be that old but I do remember as a kid in the 1970’s seeing a red caboose at the back of our local train, when did they phase those out anyways? I also live a short distance to my hometown train station and can hear the rumble of the train in my home or when lying still in my bed. I also live on the east side of the tracks, the bad side as they say, how is it train tracks designated good vs bad when it comes to people in town? Its sorta true here and real estate on the east side is less valuable here then on the west side.

The next set of photos came out of another collection I’m working on also, eventually a blog post will go up about the albums these came out of.

It says on the back “Mom, Dad, Ernie, Reta 1931-1933 Mapleton Train Station Depot, it is now in Florence on Water Front”

Im not sure if it was Ernie himself who updated and put notes on the back of these photos but its wonderful whoever did this, they took time in later years to leave info so information is’nt lost.

Today this is now “Waterfront Depot” Restaurant and Bar in Florence, Oregon

“Built in 1912, this Southern Pacific Railroad Depot served Mapleton, a community 15 miles east of here. With the widening of Highway 126 in 1976, it was saved from demolition by local contractor, Mike Johnson and rebuilt on the present site by Jim Alexander in 1977 under the ownership of Hogesky.”


I love that someone saved this place and it is still being used today.

About the people in the photos

From Internet obituary…

(the young boy) Pete David (Ernie) Kolleas was Born July 30, 1925 in Portland, Oregon. He died Feb 16, 2010 at age 84. He was the son of Pete Theodore and Margaret (Jackson) Kolleas. During WW II he served in the coast guard. His father Pete is from Greece and Mother Margaret (Geri) is from Scotland. So my guess is this is his grandparents or parents in the photo.

Mr. Kolleas worked as a gasoline tank truck driver for Mobil Oil in Portland for 35 years before retiring.

He loved to work with his hands, doing such things as model railroading, string art, making various types of models and wood lawn furniture.

His sister(the little girl in the photo) Henrietta (Rita) KOLLEAS /Wilson.

  • BIRTH: 20 Oct 1926, Woodburn, , Clackamas, Oregon
  • DEATH: 7 Oct 1997

This one reads ” Dad – front of R.R. Bunk House for laborers Lakeside 1936-1941″

This one reads “Siboco Oregon Rail Road Friends – Ernie, Dad, James M. God Father 1926-27. ” See little Ernie in front?

It appears all that time as a little boy running around with rail road grownups and train depots carried into his retirement years as stated in his obituary that he loved model rail roading.

Its the train that created my place of birth here in California, now we have the modern Metro Link gliding across our local tracks, but we also still have the large engines hauling freight coming through here.  Sad thing is our original train depot caught fire long ago. At one time a lone train station with a hotel behind it in the middle of the desert. You can imagine how dusty everyone was around here with the wind and open space. Here is a photo of it below

The Southern Pacific Railroad built a line from San Francisco to Los Angeles which was completed in 1876. Along the line was a water stop located in what is now Lancaster. The Southern Pacific constructed homes for their employees engaged in maintaining the railroad. The Gilwyn Hotel was built near the water stop in the beautiful desert plains area and a small town began to develop.

Generally, the name “Lancaster” is attributed to a Mr. M.L. Wicks, a real estate developer who in 1884 purchased over 38,000 acres of land for a price of about $96,000 from the Southern Pacific Railroad. He then named the area for his former home, Lancaster, Pennsylvania. However, in publications pre-dating Mr. Wicks, a place called ‘Lancaster’ in association with the railroad was mentioned. So the name of the city may probably be most accurately attributed to the Southern Pacific.

taken from

Todays Lancaster Train Station

As we head home in the afternoons and sometimes sit and wait at the light to get home, Now and then my teenage son tells me how many train cars he counted as the guard rails go up, just like I used to do as a kid. 🙂



Filed under Photo Albums

19 responses to “Trains, Depots and Railroad Worker Photos – Sepia Saturday

  1. Thank You For These Wonderful Photos! And Such Great Detail & Info.Trains Are Such Evocative Vehicles.Timeless.

  2. Great photos and research, thank you.

  3. I always loved watching trains and counting freight cars when I was young.

  4. Two posts from Oregon this week. I’m learning a lot about American railroads.
    Interesting to compare your’s with Junction City. Thank you for the detail.

  5. Karen S.

    It’s funny I bet there are more depots around that are things other than train stations, don’t you think?! I love it though….we have a really cool one in Stillwater that actually deocorated like it was and put up all kinds of photo when it was in operation! I really enjoyed your family photos and that cute little boy towards the end in the white colored cap…great amount of info to carry us through a delightful ride!

  6. The top photo is excellent. Thanks for sharing.

  7. I love these Oregon posts. And that photo of Mom, Dad, Ernie, and Reta is just heartwarming. The kids look so joyful and Mom and Dad look warm-hearted and good-humored.

  8. tattered and Lost

    Love that shot of the station awaiting a train. Such a perfect western image.

    And isn’t it amazing how in California Lancaster is always pronounced wrong. It’s all very long and drawn out with two distinct syllables. It always drives me a bit nuts. And I can tell when a news reporter is from the West if he’s talking about Lancaster, PA just as I can tell when a reporter is from the East because they incorrectly pronounce Oregon.

  9. ah i did not know there were 2 ways to pronounce Oregon, hope I say it right! But yes Im aware of the different ways to pronounce Lancaster, 🙂 ha so true t and l

  10. Those are really nice photos and stories to go with them.

  11. Wonder if I say Oregon correctly. I say Lancaster with forty -five syllables so I think I say that one ok. Enjoyed your post and all of the stories! The trains in Michigan were long and had lots of boring stuff on board – steel, tires and enginey looking parts. Florida trains are short and I think they come by mostly to irritate rush hour drivers.

  12. Mary Bellone

    Hi Sharon, I am doing research on the Mapleton Train Depot for a 100 years anniversary celebration. I was wondering if you have come across any more photos of the station or interesting information?

  13. Hi Mary,
    Everything I have is on the blog, the photo album with the Mapleton Station went to be with a member of the family who found me through this blog. But I dont recall there being much else as far as photos of the train station in the batch. I can email her if you like and see if she has any info on the train station and tell her what you are doing? Let me know 🙂

  14. Mary

    Yes…you saved a photo!! Great work btw. It couldn’t hurt to send an email to her since I’m not coming up with much else. There is some discrepancy about whether it was built in 1913 or 1912. I’m very new to this area so I haven’t found many leads yet. I’ve contacted all the obvious organizations but I’m hoping someone on your blog might have more photos or info, any information would be much appreciated.

  15. Mary, I am Pamela, Ernie’s daughter. I have pictures. would be glad to send
    you copies. Email me at I really appreciate your interest.

  16. Pat

    Love the pictures! I was searching for SP info on Mapleton and Swisshome Oregon. My childhood was spent around trains and logging towns in the 50s. Dad was an station agent for the SP all his life. Great memories of growing up in Swisshome…

  17. Tammy Waltman

    Rita is my maternal grandmother. Margaret went by Maggie, not Geri.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s