As the first planned suburb west of the Mississippi River, and an early railroad commuter suburb, Kirkwood owes its very existence to the railroad. The city was named after James Pugh Kirkwood, the engineer in charge of locating, surveying and building the railroad. From the beginning, it’s been a love affair between citizens and trains, as evidenced by the beautiful historic train station located in the heart of the city. Built in 1893, the Kirkwood Train Station, which is on the National Register of Historic Places, is a favorite subject of local and national photographers.
L to R: Dan Witthaus, UP St. Louis superintendent; Donna Poe, Ex. Director Downtown Kirkwood Special Business District; Ben Jones, UP director-Public Affairs; Eric Schmidt, State Senator;Kirkwood Mayor Arthur McDonnell; Rick Stream, State Representative; Paul Ward, Kirkwood City Council; Jim Wright, President - Kirkwood City Council
The City of Kirkwood owns and operates the Kirkwood Train Station, at the corner of Argonne and Kirkwood Road, next to the Union Pacific railroad tracks, which are utilized by UP and Amtrak trains each day. The Station is staffed by a group of volunteers from Kirkwood and managed by a Kirkwood employee. Kirkwood is one of four early commuter railroad suburbs in the St. Louis region. The Train Station is the anchor of historic downtown Kirkwood. Many downtown events are centered around the station, and the city identifies itself as a railroad town. The Kirkwood station and railroad tracks have been incorporated into the city's logo, as well as its identity.
On any given day, both professional and amateur photographers can be observed sitting on the station's platform waiting for UP trains to pass by. When the Union Pacific steam locomotive No. 844 is scheduled to come through Kirkwood, crowds begin lining up, with chairs and dogs and kids, and sometimes even picnic baskets, hours before the scheduled pass-through or stop.
Kirkwood is, always has been, and probably always will be a Train Town.