The unveiling of a new mural in Eldon will take place this (Saturday) evening at 7:30PM.
Officials with the Eldon Community Foundation say the idea was for the mural was crafted to help promote the history of the city.
The Mural will be displayed on the corner of East 2nd Street and South Maple near the city caboose and the old Bagnell Line Depot
It will honor the importance of the Railroads that once served the city, including the Rock Island and the Missouri Pacific Lines.
The free event will also feature a performance by the Eldon High School Jazz Band.
Here is additional history on the mural and those behind it from Mural Committee Member and Morgan School teacher Jennifer Avey from her Facebook posts…
“I found this to be an interesting piece of history, and had no idea that a conductor from our neck of the woods could be quite so influential…
Y’see, Jim Bullard was a native of Eldon since 1904, when he first began work on the railroad there. By the 1920’s, he’d worked his way up to Conductor for the Rock Island Line, and caboose #18058 was his charge. It was in 1926 that he had the idea to organize a “Get the Business” committee and run it straight out of the railcar. Armed with a typewriter affixed to a pine board in the caboose, Mr. Bullard and other members of the crew went to work soliciting freight from potential customers along the St. Louis-Kansas City line.
This was a novel idea to many at the time– a sort of business office on wheels– so novel, that the “Get the Business” car was showcased at the Missouri State Fair in 1928, The Century of Progress in Chicago in 1934, The International Petroleum Exhibition in Tulsa 1936, as well as the Texas Centennial in 1936.
Mr. Bullard retired in 1949, and to show their appreciation, Rock Island held a special retirement ceremony for both him and car #18058– which continues to reside at the National Museum of Transportation in St. Louis.
Jim Bullard remained a railroad enthusiast and historian throughout his life in Eldon, Missouri. One particularly poignant quote from him came from the Miller County Historical Society website, where he reminisced about the old Rock Island depot, as it was being torn down and rebuilt:
“Many millions of dollars have flown through the offices in this old depot and will continue through the new modern building, wages, taxes and for railroad supplies. Thousands of Eldon kids received their education and went forth to take their places in this busy world, because Dad stuck to his fob through thick and thin on the Colorado, and many a kid has waited in that old depot for his first ride behind the great iron horse of childhood dreams.
To many it will just be another gaunt, haunting, outmoded building torn down. To those of us closely associated with the old building, it is the passing of a good old friend.”
All photos are courtesy of Jennifer Avey via Facebook.