View Full Version : The Rail Depot in Bricktown

07-14-2004, 05:58 PM
Years ago, when Bricktown was just coming into its own as an entertainment district, I'd walk on Main see that rail depot that stretches East-West below Deep Deuce. If the line wasn't functional, I imagined a restaurant there, with dining/kitchen inside, and alfresco dining on the half covered by the canopy. The canopy would be lined with Christmas-like lights, and the edges lined with lattice and vine. It would be a white tablecloth establishment.

If you know what building I'm talking about, what do you think that depot should be redeveloped into?

07-14-2004, 09:29 PM
hey floater, I know exactly what building you're talking's there just north of Bricktown Burgers.
I think some sort of railroad themed restaurant would fit well there.
I realize that the railroad lines behind it are still functional, but the building is right off Main, so it could still be used as a restaurant. Not quite sure who owns it though. I couldn't quuite remember whether it was an actualy enclosed building or just a canopy type structure. I'll have to go down there and look at it tomorrow sometime. I've been wanting an excuse to go down to Bricktown anyways.
You know, Oklahoma Station BBQ is a great Oklahoma tradition, and has awesome food. It's locally owned and the entire restaurant has a rail road theme. We don't really have any full-fledged BBQ restaurants down there.....Coach's is about as close as it comes, and it has more than just BBQ. Deep Deuce BBQ is pretty close though.

I guess the depot could be used as the center of a new commuter rail service for the city. There's plenty of space there to build a decent sized rail yard. I know some have suggested using Union Station for that, but unfortunately, when I-40 is re-located much of the Union Station railyard will be destroyed, and even at that, Union Station is really too far away from most major downtown attractions to be useful. The only other structure that could be used for this would be Santa Fe Station........But, those lines are already used by Santa Fe and Amtrack. There isn't really any room up there to build a decent sized rail yard for a commuter rail system. So I guess I'd suggest using the Bricktown depot for that purpose.

Any other ideas?

07-14-2004, 09:30 PM
Guys, if you're not quite sure what building we're talking about, you might go down to Bricktown, go east on Main Street and it's basically right across Main Street from Bricktown Burgers.

07-15-2004, 05:50 AM
Oklahoma Station BBQ would have been a good alernative. What about a dentist's practice -- have you guys seen the Dental Depot on NW 63rd and S. 104? (j/k)

No, I think if the lines still work, we should leave open the possibility for some service.

But it's still such a unique structure, you can't help think of new uses...

07-15-2004, 11:42 AM
Hmmmm. I never thought about Dental Depot. That's a pretty cool idea though.
I know Dr. Ashmore fairly well.....he goes out to Cherokee Hills Baptist Church, where my fiancee and I have visited many, many times. Next time I see him I might mention the idea to him. He's been slowly expanding his office. He has locations in both south OKC and in North OKC. The new facility at NW 23rd and Drexel is pretty first class. He's currently expanding, and building a facility, right off the rail road tracks on 15th St. just west of Broadway. Of course, again, it looks like a train depot. What makes the Edmond location so unique though is how close it is to the tracks. It's probably within 5-10 yards of the tracks. I'm surprised Santa Fe allowed him to build so close.

07-15-2004, 11:46 AM
Here are some pictures of his practices:

Dallas office:

North office:

South Office:

07-15-2004, 02:56 PM
FYI: If you're referring to the old Union Pacific Railroad depot north of Main Street and east of the Walnut Avenue bridge, the building is owned by the city and design work is underway to renovate it to become the permanent home of the Bricktown police substation.

07-15-2004, 03:21 PM
Thank you, Mr. Lackmeyer!

07-15-2004, 10:48 PM
Yeah, thanks Mr. Lackmeyer. Glad to hear that.

I went down there today, and it appears that the rail lines behind it are no longer in use.......they didn't look like they had been active for some time.....makes me wonder about something. Historic preservationists claimed that we needed to save Walnut Ave. bridge because the incline was too steep, and with a rail line running through there, it would be dangerous during icy weather. Who knows! Maybe the rail line is still active.

Anyways, it will make a great police substation. I noticed ther are garages included in part of the building. That will be great to store police equipment.

It's also a great central location between Bricktown and Deep Deuce.

Tom Elmore
05-20-2008, 07:19 PM
More funny stories.

In the early 90s, the Central Oklahoma Railfan Club, as it was then known, began looking at prospects for a railway museum in Oklahoma City.

This would mean closing out the old Watonga Chief dinner train -- promoted and run by volunteers of the club -- and bringing that equipment back to the metro. A big order.

We began looking at obvious locations. One such place was the former MKT passenger yard on the south side of Reno between Lincoln and the Santa Fe elevation. You may remember the huge old Katy freight house there -- which was the only surviving Katy structure. It was used for years by Cardinal Paper.

The yard was still full of tracks -- albeit comprised of the MKT's 85 lb per yard rail and ties and ballast needing replacement. It might have been a great materials resource for real "light rail" or vintage trolley service. The yard was large enough to make a good multimodal center.

One of our eventual board members' business was directly across the street from the old freight house. This man had put out many fires in the structure over the years -- mostly started by vagrants trying to keep warm or cook.

About the time we made it known to Union Pacific that we were seriously considering making an offer on the property, one morning just before dawn, the historic Katy freight house "mysteriously burned to the ground."


By the way -- there was at least one, full rail loop around Bricktown in those days, and delivery and other tracks in every alleyway. Most of this was thoughtlessly scrapped and done away.

We also looked at the Rock Island yard. Got close enough to an agreement that club members went in and cleaned up the whole area. A longtime Bricktowner "ran in ahead of us" and wanted us to then lease the facility from him.

We thought better of the whole arrangement. But, along the way, we got very familiar with all the rail assets and their ownership, purpose, and the plans that those in control of them had made for them.

Ultimately, after years and years of hard work, the Oklahoma Railway Museum was established at 3400 NE Grand -- in an old oil field pipe yard up on the old KATY line that once ran to Cushing and points northeast. Agreements were made with COTPA, which by that time owned the line, and it was cut out the briar thicket that had enveloped it for many years by club volunteers, and a long gap in the track replaced to reconnect it to the nation's mains.

On the day of the "first big event" at Ernie Istook's $70 + million "river project," the real crowd was at the Railway Museum -- parents, grandparents and children from all over the region -- riding the ORM line behind Thomas the Tank Engine.

That line connects to OKC Union Station via Bricktown -- if there's still any track left in Bricktown....

Oh -- and the "building in question" in the preceeding thread is the old Rock Island freight house. Would've made a great rail transit stop between Union Station and Remington Park.

....and, yes, it was Oklahoma Railway Museum request, owing to the outfit's official status as a chapter of the National Railway Historical Society, that helped fund the legal work that kept the OKC Council, Public Works Czar Paul Brum, the Bricktown Association and "the state's largest newspaper" from destroying the Walnut Bridge.

The Bridge was refurbished / rebuilt -- yielding even more parking in the old CRI&P freight yard than would have been possible without it -- although the task of saving it was pronounced "impossible." The work was done by determined Oklahomans who had done their homework -- and wouldn't take "no" for an answer."

....but they weren't invited to the "official grand reopening of the bridge."

What was the price of gasoline, again, this morning?

Is this a great state -- or what?


05-22-2008, 02:08 PM
Tom Elmore is the new David Glover.

05-22-2008, 02:19 PM
Actually Tom Elmore is the old David Glover, but he is a respected person in the transportation community though. David well...he just skews his figures and to my knowledge isn't an expert on his topics, Tom has years of experience.

05-22-2008, 03:00 PM
Tom is legit. I've seen him live.

05-24-2008, 04:09 PM
Okay, it probably wasn't a fair comparison. He is getting annoying, however, with his one-note anti-Crosstown agenda he's posting in just about every thread.

05-24-2008, 09:40 PM
Okay, it probably wasn't a fair comparison. He is getting annoying, however, with his one-note anti-Crosstown agenda he's posting in just about every thread.

The anti-crosstown agenda is valid. The whole deal, everything about it, stinks to high heaven.

If you think the crosstown deal was all the way on the up and up, and if you believe it has been even minimally competently managed thus far, you are dead wrong.

That said, I support the core-to-shore concept. I just think the current choice was ill-advised -- more based upon what land acquisitions certain people had made than upon what made sense for OKC's future.

05-28-2008, 04:03 PM
If you think the crosstown deal was all the way on the up and up, and if you believe it has been even minimally competently managed thus far,

I never said that.