St. Louis, H. & K. C. Ry. Co. v. Hannibal Union Depot Co.

Decision Date26 November 1894
Citation28 S.W. 483,125 Mo. 82
CourtMissouri Supreme Court
PartiesST. LOUIS, H. & K. C. RY. CO. v. HANNIBAL UNION DEPOT CO. et al.

Appeal from Hannibal court of common pleas; Thomas H. Bacon, Judge.

Proceedings instituted by the St. Louis, Hannibal & Kansas City Railway Company against the Hannibal Union Depot Company, Elihu Root, Amos L. Hopkins, and Amos Calef to condemn land for a right of way for a single main-line track across defendants' union depot grounds in the city of Hannibal. From a judgment for plaintiff on an award of commissioners, defendants appeal. Affirmed.

Geo. A. Mahan, for appellants. Jas. P. Wood, for respondent.


The proceedings were to condemn, for a railway track of plaintiff's railroad, a part of the land acquired and held by the defendant for union depot purposes in the city of Hannibal. It appears from the evidence that the defendant was incorporated under the general laws of the state (section 826, Rev. St. 1879; section 2667, Rev. St. 1889), for the purpose of constructing, establishing, and maintaining a union station for passengers in the city of Hannibal; that for the purposes of its incorporation it acquired a tract of land in the eastern portion of the city. The greater portion of this land lay on the north side of Bear creek, a stream flowing easterly, and from 50 to 70 feet in width. A portion of the land was described as out lot 41, which was acquired by purchase. This lot was triangular in shape, the north side being substantially coincident with the north bank of the creek. The other two sides crossed the creek, and came near uniting at Monroe street, about 100 feet south of the creek. The point of the triangle was cut off by Monroe street, thus making the south part of the lot front 63 feet on Monroe street. This lot, then, covered a small portion of land north of Bear creek, the whole width of that stream, and that south of it, as above described. The bulk of defendant's station grounds lay north of the creek, the track of the Missouri, Kansas & Texas Railway lying between these grounds and the creek. On the grounds north of the creek the defendant had constructed and maintained a large, convenient, and expensive depot building, with extensive sheds, with a number of railroad tracks running into them from the northeast; also one or more tracks on the north side of the building. The cost of the entire property was estimated at $160,000. No part of the improvements were on the land south of the creek. It was shown that Hannibal was a city of about 15,000 inhabitants; that six or seven railroads centered there, all of which used this depot for receiving and unloading passengers, and that from 48 to 50 passenger trains come into the depot daily. The evidence of the defendant was to the effect that Bear creek was a small stream, generally dry, and could easily be bridged, and the ground south of it easily utilized for building tracks into the depot; that this land was intended for depot purposes when the necessities of business required that it should be so applied; that every available space of the ground north of the creek was already occupied, and the company was crowded for room, and that the passenger traffic was constantly increasing.

Plaintiff is a railroad corporation, authorized under the general laws of the state, with power to construct and operate a road from Perry, in Ralls county, to the city of Hannibal, a distance of about 32 miles. By this proceeding, plaintiff sought to appropriate a strip of land 50 feet wide and 94 feet long through the south end of the depot land lying south of the creek. This would leave an irregular piece of the land south of the road, of the dimensions of 20 feet on the west, 62 feet on the south, 76 feet on the east, and 94 feet on the north side. Defendant filed written objections to the proceedings, the grounds of which, in substance, were afterwards renewed in exceptions filed to the report of the commissioners. The evidence was heard by the court before the appointment of commissioners. The court found, and so declared in its judgment, that "plaintiff has the power to condemn, over defendant's unused and unapplied vacant land south of Bear creek, a right of way for through main-track passage and travel." Commissioners were thereupon appointed. The court, in substance, instructed the commissioners that in estimating the damages, in addition to the value of the land appropriated, they should estimate "the depreciation, if any, in the reasonable market value of defendant's remaining real estate and plant caused by the taking of said right of way strip from said property, and by injurious affection of defendant's said property and plant directly caused by the presence of plaintiff's railway on said strip, and the operation of plaintiff's railroad in transportation thereon, and the sum of said reasonable, actual market value of said strip so taken; and all said damages,...

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