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Ode to a Depot

by Wyoming Livestock Roundup

The depot stands there all alone

And empty by the track,

Where once it sheltered from the storm

A weary traveler and his pack. 

Its sturdy beams once were filled

With laughter and with cheer,

But now its empty rooms are stilled

With no one there to hear. 

No one cares if the trains come back,

Nor peers out the windowed bay,

To look up the track to see where it’s at,

Nor how long it is going to stay.

The empty windows no longer shine

With lights from the rooms within,

The agents are gone – forever gone

From the office rooms at the end.

The families who once knew the way

The building would creak and groan,

They too are gone, no longer to say,

The depot’s still here, we are home.

The old depot bows and bends and sways

As it weathers the gales, it seems to moan

To the winter’s storms, it is wont to say

I’m so tired – please leave me alone. 

How long will it stand so empty and bare

And look, oh so lost and forlorn?

How long will it be before someone will care

Or will its roof and its walls be torn? 

Its loneliness cries out to me

Of an era now long gone,

That this is not how it used to be

As each new day would dawn. 

Someday will someone come to see

The names on the freight house wall,

That tell the tales with mirth and glee

And all the days of old recall. 

Will a poet or painter come to hear

The tales that these walls could tell,

Will they paint of the life once so dear

That the old depot knew so well. 

And then will the poet write today

Of the days now forever gone

To immortalize what it had to say

In the words of a sad, sad song.

The preceding poem was penned by Mary Allred, wife of Saratoga and Encampment Railway Depot Agent Jim Allred, following the closing of the Saratoga depot in 1978. The Allred family had lived and worked at the depot for many years during the 1960s and 70s.

Mary’s wishes were soon granted when the depot was purchased by the Saratoga Historical and Cultural Association in 1980, preserved and moved to house the Saratoga Museum, but then that’s another Postcard.

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