Thirsty Pagan Doors

Welcome to Thursday Doors, a weekly feature allowing door lovers to come together to admire and share their favorite door photos from around the world. Feel free to join in on the fun by creating your own Thursday Doors post each week and then sharing your link in the comments below, anytime between 12:01 am Thursday morning and Saturday noon (North American eastern time).

The Thirsty Pagan Brewery in Superior, Wisconsin was built inside the historic Soo Line Depot. The depot was built in 1908 by Wisconsin Central R.R. as a passenger depot. The Soo Line purchased the depot in 1909. It was used for passenger service until 1967 and it continued to be used as a freight terminal until 1989. The building was purchased, and then sold again and in 2019, the Brewery rented the space.

We were only there long enough for a few beers and a sampling of appetizers, but we liked everything we tried. And since the Men’s room was at the other end of the depot, I was able to take a quick tour and snag several door photos. I like the fact that the building still looks like a train depot, including most of the doors. One thing that surprised us was when the bartender yelled “TRAAAAAAAAAAIN!” and we looked up from our beers to see a train passing about 8′ (2.5m) from the bar window. It seems the old passenger rails are still in use.

In a couple photos, you can see the signature Soo Line neon sign known as the Dollar. Below is what Trains.com said about that:

“A large Soo Line “dollar” lighted neon logo is on the roof of the depot, but it does not belong to the restaurant. After the Soo closed the depot, the sign was donated to the Lake Superior Railroad Museum in Duluth, where it was placed in storage. A few years later, the then-owner of the building inquired if he could get it back. A deal was struck: the sign would be returned to the building on indefinite loan from the museum, provided the building owner restored and maintained it in operating condition, and would light it at the museum’s request. The new owner of the building is honoring that agreement and the sign will remain on the depot.”

Trains.com

I also found a news story about the brewery that made me feel good as I was reading it.

Thirsty Pagan Brewing holds a special place in our City as the Twin Ports’ very first craft brewery, and their business model of good food, good beer, and good citizenship has made them a landmark in Superior.

It is only fitting that they should continue their story by saving another landmark, the historic Soo Line Depot. Each year, new businesses are proving that some of Superior’s greatest opportunities are hiding in the places that other had rejected or forgotten. I want to thank both Deb Emery and Steve Knauss for their vision and investment, and I want to thank WEDC for recognizing once again that a brewery is one of the best places to grow our community and our economy. A historic brewery in a historic building is simply the best place to tell the stories of our city and to toast the future.

Jim Paine, Mayor – Superior, Wisconsin

Thanks to all who are participating this week. I look forward to seeing your doors and I encourage my readers to poke around and visit a few other door lovers.

If you are in a hurry and don’t wish to scroll through the comments, click to Jump to the comment form.

117 comments

  1. Great collection of pics, Dan. Right there with you on old wooden doors. I like the weight of them and the satisfying way they click shut. They tend to have real character to them.

    And ha, great name — the Thirsty Pagan. Deserves a visit on that basis alone!

    Liked by 2 people

    • This was like stepping into the past, Paul. It felt so good to wander around inside this historic station and see rooms and doors as they would have looked 100 years ago. Serving a new purpose, but serving with pride. And the name – as soon as we saw it, we knew we had to visit. Thanks for stopping by.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. This place is fantastic! Wood plank floors. Beautiful solid wood doors. What looks like an old wood ice box. And that pooch….who is not camera shy! Really nice tour and history lesson Dan.

    Good food and beer. How could you not have a great visit there?
    Ginger

    Liked by 1 person

    • We had a great time here, Ginger. I like exploring new places, but if we go back to Duluth, I’d want to return for lunch. I got a curious look from the pup, but he seemed to accept my explanation. I promised him his door would make the cut.

      Like

  3. What a great place this is! I love all the wood trim inside–so cozy. I see you met one of Maddie’s cousins, several times removed? Looks like a sweet pup. The bartender yelling ‘train’–that has gotta be fun to hear!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. That is my kind of pub! And fits in with my “If I had a billion dollars” dreams for the idle Cobalt train station. LOVE IT!

    Two things: the patrons couldn’t hear the freight train approaching? That’s surprising!

    And, at first I thought the title was Thursday [not Thirsty] Pagan Doors… and I thought, GREAT find Dan! There’s a door made exactly with doorscursion aficionados in mind.

    Liked by 1 person

    • We did not hear the train, Maggie. When the bartender shouted, we were surprised and shocked. I think the regulars understood, but…

      I love that the building remains much like it must have been 100 years ago. I’d love to see this happen with the historic train station being restored in our town.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Awesome. All that old wood! Kudos to those who preserve such touchable history; it must have a great feeling to it — even before the beer! I grew up in a place that was all trains all the time and everyone scheduled an extra 45 minutes to get anywhere, but those behemoths never ceased to be somewhat magical. Hearing them in the distance at night was haunting and comforting all at once. Thanks for the look back.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I’m glad you enjoyed this, Maureen. It was a fun place to visit, Everything felt like it was there just to make people feel good. I still hear trains in the distance, and I still like the sound. I wish I could go more places by train.

      Liked by 1 person

    • It had the feel of a neighborhood pub. It was so much fun being there and walking around a bit. The bartender was great.

      Your contribution is one fantastic photograph. Good job!

      Like

    • Mr. E’ville would have found much to like at this place, but they also had a nice selection of wine on the menu. Then again, since your husband appreciates craftsmanship (as I learned in your wonderful post), he might have enjoyed wandering around the depot, as I did.

      Thanks for joining us today.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Incredible photos, Dan. I love all the old doors and the memories that they hold. What a place! If I’m ever in that area, I’ll surely seek out the Thirsty Pagan.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I was so happy when we walked in, Janet and I saw how much of the original station had been preserved. The dog was a great find. I explained the whole Thursday Doors thing and he seemed to be alright with the concept.

      I like the doors you found for us.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Hi Dan, looks like a great place to drink and eat and enjoy some open doors:)
    also, the one photo that shows the light switch and the long cord wrapped up – reminds me that wires and walls sure have come a long way over the years

    Liked by 1 person

    • You have a sharp eye, Yvette. I didn’t notice the surface wiring. I do think I like it better than if they had started tearing their way through the plaster.

      The place was wonderful, we felt at home the moment we walked up to the bar. The beer(s) were very good and the food was excellent.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Hi Dan – I don’t often use the ‘jump to comments’ link … but today I did – fascinating place to have seen … and I’m so pleased you were able to find out a bit more about the history. That area must be historically fascinating seeing its location … I’d love to visit and see that area of North America. Cheers for the post – Hilary

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Hilary. The maritime and rail history of this area is amazing. So much moved out of this region to the industrial northeast. In fact, it’s still moving. We saw over a dozen ore boats while we were there. I was surprised to see that this depot started out serving passengers. I would have expected cargo. In any case, I loved being able to see it.

      Liked by 1 person

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