John Moore & Stan Hall Collection
In the late 1920s railway executives determined the Santa Fe Train Station that had served the city since statehood needed to be replaced. And that change would include a new set of elevated tracks. The $5 million elevation would allow a free flow of traffic under bridges to be built under the new tracks. But the East Side Civic Improvement League quickly expressed concerns that the project would not allow ample east-west crossings and asked that bridges be added at NW 6, NW 1 (Park Avenue) and Noble Avenue.
The project ground to a halt in 1930 as the debate continued. Engineers with the Santa Fe Railroad advised the city would have to pay $500,000 to accommodate the requested changes. City planning consultant S. Herbert Hare backed the civic league’s requested changes. In October, 1930, the city and the railroad struck an agreement to provide the requested crossings at a cost of $347,000 to be paid by the city. Protests continued, however, when engineers revealed plans called for a deep dip along NW 6 as it passed under the tracks.
After briefly considering abandoning the project in late 1930, the Santa Fe Railroad and city agreed to the compromised plan (including the dip at NW 6). Leo Sanders Construction started work in the spring of 1931. The entire project, including the construction of a new Santa Fe Train Depot, was completed in 1934.
These photos were provided by Stan Hall, president of the Oklahoma Railway Museum. The photos were taken by the Santa Fe Railway recording the progress of the elevation construction in 1931 and also capture rare views of surrounding industry.
To learn more about the Oklahoma Railway Museum, visit http://oklahomarailwaymuseum.org
– Steve Lackmeyer
Scanning by the RetroMetro OKC Resources Committee