The railroad was essential for the growth of many cities during the mid-1880s, and Lenexa was no exception. By 1867, Charles A. Bradshaw had purchased 160 acres of land from local Shawnee natives and was soon approached by agents from the Missouri, Fort Scott and Gulf Railroad requesting railroad right-of-way through his property. Bradshaw sold some of his land to them for $1 with the stipulation that a train depot be erected and maintained, knowing railroads would be important to Lenexa’s future. If the railroad ever failed to do so, ownership of the property would revert to the Bradshaw family.
In 1869, Bradshaw sold 41.5 acres near the railroad right-of-way to Octave Chanute, a civil engineer who used the land to plat the city of Lenexa. Chanute also designed the Hannibal Railroad Bridge, whose trains brought new residents and businesses to Kansas City, while making it possible to ship farm products to the east.
The depot at our complex was originally located near “Old Town” Lenexa at Pflumm Road and Santa Fe Trail Drive. A depot still operates there, fulfilling the stipulations made by Bradshaw. However, the depot at the LHS complex is not the original structure. It is the third depot that was built; the first two were destroyed by fire. The current depot at the LHS complex was erected between 1912 and 1913 and was moved to its current location in 1987.
The depot in the LHS Complex is used as a transportation themed museum and is open to the public.