The Free Railroad
by William G. Cutler (1883)

The Marion and McPherson line of the A. T. & S. F. was completed to McPherson, in September 1879. On the 23rd of that month a grand celebration was held in the city, attended by citizens of both counties to the number of 6,000 or 7,000. By eleven o'clock the streets were crowded with people, and at noon the first train arrived from Marion County, bringing nearly 2,000 visitors.


L. Roberts was marshal of the day, Mayor Pitzer, master of ceremonies, and M. P. Simpson, made the address of welcome; music by the Marquette and Marion Center bands and the McPherson Glee Club. The multitude helped themselves from five long tables, bountifully spread and all went happy as a marriage bell. McPherson was, in fact, married to the outside world.

An unusual feature connected with the history of the Marion and McPherson road is this: That it cost McPherson County not one cent. In the original proposition, it was stipulated that the company should not mortgage the road for more than $7,000 per mile. The management of the road in the East, however, mortgaged the line at the rate of $8,000 per mile and made the transaction a matter of record. So that, although the county voted the bonds they were never issued - and McPherson County is 'a railroad ahead.'


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