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Why We Love Railroad Depots
Dec 28, 2011
Railroad depots fill a special place in the hearts of small-town citizens who remember memorable visits to the station. Maybe they collected a box of Christmas gifts. Maybe dad came home from war. Or grandparents from afar came to vist. Or the youngsters boarded a train that took them on a school trip to the great world beyond their cornfields and cow pastures.
So it's not surprising that Fort Pierre residents want their 1906 depot back, even though it was moved to the Miller ranch near Mud Butte in 1964.
Lance Nixon of the Pierre Capitol Journal reports today that over $125,000 has already been raised by the Verendrye Museum to re-relocate the depot. Museum board members think the total cost may be five times that number.
Big-city depots have often been reborn as restaurants, bars and offices. The best example is in downtown Mitchell.
New purposes for small-town depots have been harder to find, so we've lost a lot of them. Our old wood depot at my hometown of Utica suffered a slow decay until the men behind the Menno Power Show moved it to their frontier town and restored it. Thankfully they left the station sign that reads UTICA.
And thankfully for Fort Pierre, the Miller family has mothballed, so to speak, that town's depot for nearly 50 years. Now its next stop is Fort Pierre.