In 1858, Thomas Fletcher and James Rankin, founders of De Soto, made an offer to build a railroad station that was accepted. They built a station in De Soto for the St. Louis Iron Mountain & Southern Railroad at their own expense. That was the beginning of De Soto’s association with railroads, an association that continues today.
There were many changes in the following years under the management of the St. Louis Iron Mountain and Southern Railroad, then Missouri Pacific Railroad, and today, the Union Pacific Railroad. The Union Pacific freight car shop in De Soto is the town’s largest employer and is the company’s largest shop.
The Depot, YMCA, Roundhouse, Blacksmith and other old shop buildings are gone, but postcards, photos, newspaper articles and other mementos, remind the community of the buildings and the people who worked in them.