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Washington County, Illinois
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McKinley Station
Washington County, Illinois  

newspaper clipping
Sparta News-Plainleader
unknown date of publication
courtesy of Kathyrn Todd
Remains Of McKinley Station
Fourteen-room hotel long deserted
by Grover Brinkman
          Northeast of Sparta, on the Coulterville Road, near the Randolph-Perry County line, but still in Washington County, is a bleak old house sitting alone on the prairie, that is all that is left of the once lively community of McKinley Station.
photo of McKinley Station hotel
          Remains Of McKinley Station -- Washington County does not have a bonafide
ghost town, but this old hotel of McKinley Station is reminiscent of a failure in
a previous generation.                                         -- Grover Brinkman Photo
          According to the new historic book "This Is Washington County," recently published by the Washington County Historical Society, McKinley Station is the only real ghost town of the area.
          If Alfred Hitchcock saw the bleak hotel that today is the only ruin of the town, he might be induced to use it as a site for a forthcoming chiller, for it does have a ghostly, bizarre appearance.
          McKinley Station started as a dairy venture in about 1894. The farm itself was a large tract, well over a thousand acres. There were four large cattle barns, and a creamery that stood west of the hotel.
          The hotel itself had 14 rooms, catered to city people who wanted a rural week end. The M.-I. Railroad stopped at a crossing just south of the hotel, which gave the place its name. People who came to the hotel had saddle horses to ride, and indulged in various rural activities. As many as 100 cows were milked here. There was also a general store.
          But the entire venture was ill-fated financially and was discontinued about 1904-05. Today, all that remains of the community is the old hotel, alongside the tracks.
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1960s photo of McKinley Station
Photograph courtesy of Larry Clark
taken in the 1960's from along the Oakdale-Coulterville blacktop road.
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1977 newspaper clipping
unknown publication
courtesy of Myrene Alfeldt
Mckinley Station as a Ghost Town newspaper clipping  
"Ghost Town" In Washington County
By Grover Brinkman

          This isn't a set for a Hitchcock movie, but all that remains today of a once-flourishing community in the southwest corner of the county, called McKinley Station. This old house was once a hotel.
 
          McKinley Station started as a dairy venture in 1894, the farm being over 1,000 acres in area. Four large cattle barns and a creamery stood west of the hotel. The hotel itself had 14 guest rooms and caterd to city people who like the idea of a week end in the country.
 
          The M.-I. Railroad stopped here. At one time there was a store and other business buildings here. As many as a hundred cows were milked in the dairy venture, and for a time the community boomed. Then the boom ended in 1904-05, and today this old house is the only reminder of McKinley Station.
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1977 newspaper clipping
unknown publication
courtesy of Myrene Alfeldt
McKinley Station Barn

          In the 1890's there was a place called McKinley Station which was located approximately midway between Coulterville and Oakdale along the Missouri Pacific Railroad. At this point a large dairy ventture was in operation.
 
          Among the buildings were four large cattle barns, a creamery, and a hotel. All that is left at the site today is the hotel which stood east of the barns.
 
          But on the Henry Patton farm at Elkton is one of the barns. After the dairy venture was discontinued, about 1904 or 1905, a William Fox bought one of the barns. He took it apart bit by bit moved it over 5 miles to his farm, then rebuilt it as you see it today. The only change in the barn has been the silo on the east and the leanto on the south side being built on.
  Mckinley Station Barn newspaper clipping
-- Robert H. Fox

© 2013     Wayne Hinton
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