Rural Missouri Magazine

Where adventures begin

by Bob McEowen

Children growing up in the 1930s and ’40s thrilled to the adventure tales of Doc Savage: The Man of Bronze. Lester Dent, the author of these pulp fiction magazines, novels and radio plays was born in La Plata, a town of 1,400 in northeast Missouri.

La Plata resident Olive Gilbreath-McLorn traveled throughout Russia and China in the early 20th century, recording her adventures in books and articles.

Today, dreams of adventure are kindled twice a day as Amtrak’s Southwest Chief pulls alongside a former Sante Fe Railroad depot in La Plata. The train runs between Chicago and Los Angeles and stops in Missouri only at Kansas City and La Plata.

The eastbound train arrives at La Plata at 9:41 a.m. and the westbound train pulls in at 7:59 p.m. Both trains — as well as a stready stream of freight trains — are often greeted by local railroad enthusiasts.

The 1888 depot, shown on our cover, was rebuilt in 1945 and updated with art deco architectural details, including curved glass bricks. In 2002, local volunteers completed a renovation of the old depot, which includes displays of railroad artifacts.

Other sites of interest in La Plata include the Dent home and the Gilbreath-McLorn House. This classic Queen Anne-style structure is used by local clubs and organizations and is available for tours by groups. For information call (660) 332-6144.

For information about Amtrak rail travel call 1-800-321-8684 or log onto

Rural Missouri | June 2020 Issue

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