No surprises today. I split 24 hours in Minneapolis between a somewhat-restored blown-up building and a hotel located in an old railroad terminal – you had to know this was coming. And you had to know that a reference from Wikipedia (be nice) and the National Registry of Historic Places (NRHP) was also likely to be coming.
The Milwaukee Road is the common name for “The Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific Railroad.” I think it’s easy to understand why folks would be looking to abbreviate that name. The full block of buildings that include the hotel I stayed in, are the old Depot Freight House and Train Shed, and are known today as the Milwaukee Road Depot, or The Depot. According to the entry in Wikipedia, the station served 29 trains per day, at its peak.
According to the NRHP nomination form:
“ The station-shed unit, built 1897-99, is a head or stub-end type railroad station. The station building or “head house” is Renaissance Revival style and almost square in plan, being 130 feet long, 120 feet wide. The two street facades are three stories (50 feet high) while the remainder of the building is two stories. It is constructed of pink granite block at the first story level with smooth stone at the foundation and rough cut stone above. This level has large arch doorways on the west and south sides and massive sash windows. The upper levels are of yellow brick and are united in design by applied Roman arches that rise the full height of the building. These arches frame the square windows of the second level and form the arched windows of the third level. A heavy cornice is inset with terra cotta wreath ornaments…
…Extending behind the station is a long span steel truss roof train shed approximately 625 feet long, 100 feet wide, and 40 feet high at the ridge of the monitor roof (which replaces an original, larger monitor). The five stub tracks are spanned by a single 100-foot riveted truss of the Fink type, supported on steel posts each having pierced metal ornamental brackets beneath a longitudinal steel lattice beam running the length of the shed.”
“…a single 100-foot riveted truss of the Fink type, supported on steel posts…” Oh, I love that kind of talk.
The important thing about this depot, is that it’s one of twelve terminals that have survived with the “long span truss roof” train shed intact, and it’s the only one in the upper Midwest. In 1900, close to when this shed was built (1897), there were hundreds of these types of depots in the United States. They were being constructed to replace depots that sat alongside the tracks, because those stations couldn’t accommodate the increasing volume of rail traffic. As rail use declined in the second half of the 20th century, most of the train sheds and many of the terminal buildings were destroyed to make room for “modern” buildings.
I could go on for days, talking about trains and depots and train sheds, but I’ll stop here to welcome our Engineer, Norm back to the lead train of the Montreal, Indianapolis, Hartford and Roma Railroad.
Norm has been on vacation the past few weeks. I had the privilege of guest hosting Thursday Doors for a week, as did Joey and Manja. We traveled First Class, thanks the arrangements Norm had made in advance. While that experience was amazing, it feels so good to know that Norm is back. Check out the Railroad’s main page, and look for our conductor (little blue frog). Careful, that colorful tadpole has spent a lot of time in the baggage compartment, he’s a little skittish. Click on him and he’ll welcome you and your doors into the gallery.
The gallery includes the doors of the buildings I shared on Monday, as well as a couple historic photos, courtesy of the Library of Congress. Remember, this train will be at the station until noon Saturday.