With the arrival of the railroad and Haskell County came the need for depot in Sublette. Agents were assigned by the railroad and earliest records show C.A.Woodson was appointed in 1916. Others who followed were: L.O. Ruff, 1917; W.L. Brown, 1919; L.H. Joy, 1919; R.A. Shryack, 1922; A.D. Morgan, 1959, and B.D. Schnurr, 1970.
West of the depot, where the McCoy Grain elevator now stands, cattle pens were built. Herds were brought in from the country to be shipped to Kansas City by rail. Occasionally a great many ranchers would organize and bring their cattle in at the same time. One such drive resulted in an entire trainload being shipped out. Cattle were driven in from several directions, and cowboys then rode herd for many hours as the cattle milled about the depot until they could be loaded onto the train.
Not long after the depot was completed the Santa Fe built a section house to be used as the agents home. This house stood just east of the depot. A well was drilled for the house, and to take advantage of the well for also watering cattle, the stock pens were moved to a location just east of the present JAG Construction building. It was a wonderful place to play when the pens weren't in use. Boys gathered there for exciting games of tag, clambering over the fence rails or swinging on the gates from one pen to another as the "it" man followed in hot pursuit.
Thousands of cattle were handle from these yards over the years, mostly outgoing although, during World War II, many were delivered in from LaJunta, Colorado. With the coming of the highways throughout the state, transport trucks could go directly to the farms and ranches to pick up the livestock to be delivered to the terminals, ending the need for cattle drives and the stock pens, which were torn down in the 1950s.
In 1964 the railroad company opted to do away with the old section houses but surely not because of upkeep, as the one in Sublette had never even been graced with modern plumbing. A.D. Morgan, agent at the time, and his wife, Betty, purchased the house and moved it to 312 Easy Street in Sublette where it has been extensively remodeled.
In the 1970s the depots were changed from forever-yellow multi-colors all along the line. Chosen for Sublette was a dull gray. Despite the face lifts, the decision was finally made to close many of the smaller depots as trucking became more popular and the use of rails declined. The depot in Sublette was closed May 20, 1982. Although it was scheduled for demolition, through the efforts of some county citizens the building and loading dock were acquired and moved to a new location just north of the fairgrounds at the edge of the town. First from stockyards, now from rodeo grounds, the familiar sounds a cattle and horses can still be heard each summer floating over the old building whenever the county fair is in progress.
The depot of the home of the Haskell County Historical Society's Museum and contains many mementos, artifacts and paraphernalia from the county's history. The building has been restored in its original yellow.
This article is published in "Haskell County, Kansas, 100 Years Beneath the Plow" and written by Ruby Rutledge, from Albert Schnellbacher, Duane Murphy, Vern Rutledge, Jane Bailey and the AT & SF Railroad.