The Midnight Ride of Blackwell Station

The Midnight Ride of Blackwell Station

by Mary Peace Finley, Judith Hunt

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Nine-year-old Raephy McDowell is NOT a snoop. At least, she doesn't think so. She's mighty curious, though. Who wouldn't be with talk of a brand new town where there's nothing for miles except for the Santa Fe Railroad Station?

When Mary Peace Finley learned how Lamar, Colorado, was founded, she knew she had a story—a lighthearted, fun story. Her heroine, nine-year-old Raephy McDowell, was one of four children who lived with their parents squeezed into the second story of an isolated prairie railroad station. Their mother was the telegraph operator; their father the ranch foreman. When Mama and Daddy learn of the secret plan to move the station and ‘boom’ a town, they have two problems: How to work around rancher Amos Black who owns the land they live on, and how to keep their very curious daughter from finding out.

Right on track, at midnight on May 22, 1886, the railroad company brought in workers, lifted the station and outbuildings onto flat cars, and moved them four miles down the track. The station was unloaded and the telegraph lines reconnected before dawn. Within two days, families were buying lots and a town was born.

Mary Peace Finley is author of the award-winning Santa Fe Trail Trilogy—Soaring Eagle, White Grizzly, and Meadow Lark. Judith Hunt is the illustrator of many children's books including Prunes and Rupe

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780865411302
Publisher: Filter Press, LLC
Publication date: 01/25/2011
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 92
File size: 364 KB
Age Range: 9 - 12 Years

About the Author

Mary Peace Finley was raised in the southeastern Colorado town of Fowler on the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railroad line, eighty miles west of Lamar. The haunting wail of train whistles and the click of wheels wove indelible patterns through her childhood. Joe Peace, Mary’s father, was the local agent for the Standard Oil Company. His office sat across the street from the Fowler Railroad Station. Enormous gasoline and diesel tanks crouched like huge headless monsters on metal legs next to the tracks, a constant fire danger for Mary’s dad and for the town. “Just one spark—”

A pigtailed girl in a cowboy hat, Mary loved riding with her dad to deliver fuel to outlying ranches. “Want to ride out south with me tomorrow, Snooks?” her dad would ask, “Out to the Red Top?” It meant leaving at 5:00 a.m. and bouncing for hours over dusty washboard roads in the red Standard Oil truck following a night that held more excitement than sleep.

The Dobbins were friends who worked for the railroad and lived in a railroad car. When they rolled into town, Mary’s family was invited to “Come on over!” for dinner in their train car home. The car was like a real house, only long and narrow and everything inside seemed small.

Mary has written four other historical novels set in southeastern Colorado and along the Santa Fe Trail in 1845-1849. Four decades passed between the setting of those stories and 1886 when Blackwell Station rode into Lamar at midnight. By then, wagons were being replaced by trains and wheel ruts by railroad tracks.
Trains still ride the rails along the old Santa Fe Trail. The haunting wail of whistles and the click of wheels echo across the prairie, evoking memories and linking our lives to what has come before.

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