I was really trying to avoid a train depot update, but I’m afraid it’s unavoidable.

I was really trying to avoid a train depot update, but I’m afraid it’s unavoidable.

This issue is a steam train gaining speed, and I’m a deer with its hoof caught in the track.

What I really wanted for Christmas this week was a story about a Blue Springs woman who claimed to have seen a UFO in the Blue Springs skies on, I believe, July 3. Nothing really unique about that, I know, but what is unique is that another individual, a man, saw the same thing in the sky on the same day.

In North Canton, Ohio.

About 10 miles from where I was born and raised.

Dang, it would have been a good one – or, at the very least, I would have made it good – if for no other reason than it being a very strange geographic coincidence.

So I’m left with the Blue Springs train depot. Actually, that’s a bit insensitive; it is a good story, a good issue, because it’s pulling together what has to be one of the largest groups of concerned citizens in the city since I started this gig a while back.

So the update is this: Last week Mary Potter, president of the local historical society, and Michele Cole, a society member, met a Kansas City Southern employee. Cole filmed the exterior of the building, and when the KCS employee moved up one of the windows, they were able to peek inside.

What they saw was encouraging.

“There were no Chicago & Alton items left inside the depot,” Potter wrote me earlier this week. “Only remnants of it being used as a storage building.”

I saw some of the images, and they were surprising. It’s amazing to think that this building stood year after year, quiet and dark inside while the business of living went on outside.

The walls were in excellent condition. Potter’s claim that there was only one small area with graffiti turned out to be true. The original paint remained (a shade of green), and the ceiling, a cluster of exposed rafters, looked great.

The ticket window, I felt, was especially cool judging by the still images. It had that distinct early 20th century carpentry look to it – you know, the jutting ledge, the curved edges. Real attention to detail; not the rush-job hogwash architecture you get nowadays.

This is all very good because if the group hopes to raise the estimated $50,000 to move the building, they need to know what it is they’re working with.

Here are some other updates:

Both Mike Birkenmaier and Ken Billups Jr. have both volunteered to do the architectural design for the concrete site plan once everyone figures out where the building is going.

I only know Billups; he’s a member of the Blue Springs Planning Commission, another volunteer position.

Cole has put together a 20-minute video about what Potter calls their “adventure in and around the depot.” You can view it on www.bluespringshistory.org.

Cole is also talking with the Blue Springs School District about two different fundraisers involving high school students.

Scott Fullerton, a local CPA, is volunteering his accounting company and services to be the treasurer for the Save Our Depot group. Donations are tax deductible.
  And of course don’t forget T-shirts. It seems Susan Culpepper, chair of the city’s Planning Commission, is getting cost estimates for “I helped Save Our Depot” T-shirts and sweatshirts, as well as railroad engineer caps and train whistles.

Today, if you’re interested, S.O.D. members will meet at 7 p.m. at the Blue Springs Historical Society’s Dillingham-Lewis Museum, 101 S.W. 15th St. Call Potter at 816-797-4870 for more information about the meeting and the depot effort.

And if you can, please ask Potter for me if she knows Sharon Brown of Blue Springs. She’s the one who saw the UFO in July.

She’s the one who will hopefully give me a Christmas – and you, readers, some entertainment – next Thursday.