1910 to 1926 Painting Standards for Buildings

In 1910 the standard colors used by the Missouri Pacific Railway on their stations were called 'Bright Yellow with Bronze Green' trim.  This color combination was used on all right-of-way structures (depots, tool houses, section houses, privies, gatehouses, etc.).  Those structures found in the railroad's terminals (roundhouses, sand houses, storage buildings, car repair sheds, etc) were painted Red with Bronze Green trim.  As of the date of this article it is not known if the St. Louis, Iron Mountain & Southern used the same colors but both roads were merged in 1918 to the Missouri Pacific Railroad so one may assume buildings on the old Iron Mountain right of way could have received these colors between 1918 and 1925. 

Frame Buildings

Comiskey, Kansas shown here in the yellow base color with bronze green trim.  According to Mike Adams, the dull area on the lower part of the walls is where sand had been added to the paint to reduce wear and tear on the building. 

Examples of the 1910 'Bright Yellow' and 'Bronze Green'.  Samples were found during the restoration of the Downs, Kansas depot by Doug Brush and the depot was restored back into these colors. 

Below photograph shows the MP Building Red with Brozen Green trim.  Photo taken by Jim Ozment in St. Louis June 4, 1956. 



1926 Painting Standards for buildings

When the Missouri Pacific purchased the Texas Lines in 1926 they found themselves with several different paint standards due to the various railroads acquired.  As a result, the Mopac Standards Committee painted several model depots in the colors of the various railroads and voted on which standard would be retained.  The colors of the International-Great Northern, Colonial Yellow with brown trim, won the committee's vote and the new colors started to be used first on the Mopac's Eastern Division between St. Louis and Kansas City.  One station the author saw remained in the Colonial yellow and brown trim into the 1980's and this was the Mopac station at Laredo, Texas.  The terminal buildings retained their red base color and bronze green trim.  Water tanks, placed on the right of way or in terminals were red.  A few photos illustrate where the railroad painted a large MP 'buzz saw' logo on the side of the tanks for advertising.

Colonial Yellow and Brown; these paint chips were removed from the interior of the freight house on the MP station at Beloit, Kansas by the author in 1975.  They had not been exposed to the sunlight or weather.   Sherwin Williams "Butternut" 6389 is a very close color to Colonial Yellow.

Structures were painted by the railroad's own 'Bridge and Building' gangs.  Dry pigments were mixed with linseed oils and applied by brush. The standards for interior colors at this time are not available.  Some examples, such as Bergman, Arkansas had the interior painted in the same colors as the exterior (yellow and brown).   

Jim Ozment photo of the MP tool house at Barretts,Mo.  1954

Richland, Kansas showing the Colonial Yellow and Brown trim.  Howard Killiam photo.

Irving, Kansas in Colonial Yellow and Brown trim.  Howard Killiam photo.



Whiting, Kansas September 5, 1960.  By this date the B&B gangs were painting the freight doors a solid brown vs the early use of yellow paint on the panels.  Photograph by William A. Gibson, Sr.

Variations in standards

During WWII MP began to applying abestos siding to many depots to eliminate the need for painting.  Example shown here was photographed by Jim Ozment in 1954 at Barretts, Missouri.

 On the IGN after WWII a white base with Eagle Blue trim was seen on some depots.  Bill Ray, MP employee, recalls taking slides of this paint scheme after the Eagles were delivered.  No photographic example exist.

Joe Collias recalls in the 1950's the terminal buildings only being painted red with no trim color. Some water tanks were given a 'buzz saw' logo for advertising but this was the exception rather than the rule.  Three examples are shown below.

Mopac water tank at Boonville, Mo showing small MP 'buzzsaw'.  5-1947 Collias Collection.

MP water tank at Ft. Smith, Arkansas showing Mopac Lines buzz saw painted over the 1918 Mopac buzz saw.   Track on the left went to the Greenwood/Paris branch, tracks on the right went to Van Buren, Arkansas.  C. Winters photo.


Water tank at Branson, Missouri with small buzz saw.  Southern Scenic to the right of the photo.  9-10-1947. Joe Collias Collection. 

1961 Painting Standards for buildings

When D. B. Jenks arrived on the Mopac in 1961,  he implemented many cost saving measures, one being to eliminate the multicolored structures and paint everything one trim color (brown or white). 

MP depot at Burr Oak, Kansas September 1969 showing the application of abestos siding with the exposed wood painted in trim brown.  Howard Killiam photo.

 Here's an example of an all white painted depot at Modoc, Kansas in 1975.  C. Duckworth photo.

 Reserve, Kansas showing another variation of colors in the D. B. Jenks era.  The building trim and exposed wood is white whereas the abestos is a gray color.  Howard Killiam photo 6-64. 

 Brick stations

The brick structures followed the same standards as their wood framed counterparts.  Shown below are a few examples for the painting standards.  


 McGehee, Arkansas circa 1912.  Window trim, being a light color, may have been Bright Yellow with the darker wood framing, doors and brackets painted in Bronze Green.

 Osawatomie, Kansas June 1, 1958.  Window trim, brackets and freight door paint brown.  Door into waiting room is brown with Colonial yellow panels.  Howard Killiam photograph

Altoona, Kansas with brown window trim.  Unlike Osawatomie the freight door has been painted in Colonial yellow and waiting room door brown with a yellow panel.  July 1962 Howard Killiam photograph. 

Missouri Pacific station at Nashville, Arkansas October 1970.  All exterior wood has been painted in white.

Stone Stations

Kirkwood, Missouri circa 1950.  The freight room room is painted Colonial Yellow with the framing painted brown.  The window frames are a light color which can be assumed are also Colonial Yellow.  This differs from the Frame and brick structures of the same perios in that their windows were finished in brown.