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Refrigerated Freight: 1943

Refrigerated Freight: 1943

March 1943. "Santa Fe R.R. yards and shops, Argentine, Kansas." 4x5 Kodachrome by Jack Delano for the Office of War Information. View full size.


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Probably taken from the elevator

I looked up the other Delano photos of Argentine yard and I started to wonder how he got the angle for this shot. After a bit of Google Earthing, I think he was probably standing on top of the grain elevator seen here. (The elevator won't show up on Google Maps, but if you look at the early-90s image on Google Earth, it was still there.)

Nice framing!

Delano lowered the lens center considerably, to get lots more of the interesting foreground and place the horizon high on the print, while keeping the camera level.

Try that with a standard lens on your digital cam!


Still there; now part of BNSF

Argentine Yard is still in Kansas City, Kansas. Today it is part of the Burlington Northern Santa Fe and is the biggest yard in their system.

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I am pretty sure this view is looking mostly east; the elevated roadway crossing the tracks at the upper right is probably 42nd Street. The oil tanks visible at the upper left are still there as part of the Sinclair pipeline terminal; its modern address is 3401 Fairbanks Avenue. The hills at the upper right are on the south bank of the Kaw River. It's kind of hard to see, but the river crosses from left to right near the top of the photo; there is a truss bridge just about visible among the smokestacks, which I think is 18th Street.

Today, the elevated portion of 42nd Street extends further north (to the left in this picture) and only "comes down" to connect with K-32/Kansas Avenue. The house on the west side of 42nd Street here, and all the plowed fields between the tracks, are no more; all of this belongs to BNSF and has various tracks and buildings on it. None of the smokestacks visible between the oil tanks and the railroad yard seem to have survived. The large warehouse on the east side of 42nd Street at the right of the picture is gone; there is a lot full of shipping containers where it was.

The modern BNSF offices (4515 Kansas Avenue) would be just out of shot to the left of the picture. I-635 runs parallel to 42nd street on the west side; it crosses over the yard about where the railroad light tower is on the upper right of this picture.

Eight years after this photo, a lot of this would be underwater; this link has photos from the 1951 flood.

The Argentine neighborhood was named for a silver smelter that operated there in the late 1800s and early 1900s. It closed before World War I.

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