Railway Station Historical Society Railfan.net E-Mail List Photo Archive

MineralPoint_W.jpg   Original: 800 by 599 pixels - Current: 800 by 599 - 100%
                          Try your mouse wheel too!

Previous Image: Alpha   -   Chrono Next Image: (No Next Alpha)   -   (No Next Chrono)

From: Craig Bluschke bluschke AT engr DOT wisc DOT edu
Date: Mon, 03 Nov 2003 22:57:07 -0600
Subject: Mineral Point, Wisconsin Depot Restoration
"MineralPoint_W.jpg" - image/jpeg, 91184 bytes, 800x599 (24bit)

From the November, 2003 issue of the Bad Order, the newsletter of the
South Central Wisconsin Division, National Model Railroad Association...

The Mineral Point Railroad Depot
For many years, it has been apparent that the Mineral Point Railroad Depot,
located at the foot of Commerce Street in Mineral Point, Wisconsin, needed
to be restored to its former condition. In a town like Mineral Point, which
boasts over 500 historical structures, preservation minded folks have long
been concerned about the future of one of its most storied structures. In
1998 Bob and Suzette Grishaber initiated the effort to get the depot
property purchased and the building restored through a combination of
personal financing and assistance programs. During the next two years,
patience and good fortune in several areas combined to allow Bob and
Suzette's dream become a reality. This dream has been shared through the
formation of the Mineral Point Railroad Society, a nonprofit charitable
organization whose purpose is to restore the depot and reopen its doors as
the Mineral Point Railroad Museum, which will house an extensive collection
of railroad artifacts related to Mineral Point and Southwestern Wisconsin.

Depot History
While The Mineral Point Railroad Company was chartered in 1852, the depot
wasn't built until 1856. Constructed of local limestone, Mineral Point
stonemasons John Toay and Philip Allen built what is now recognized as the
oldest surviving railroad depot in the state of Wisconsin. In June of 1857
the first train pulled into the depot, connecting Mineral Point to the rest
of the world. Ushering in a new era of travel for the city, the Mineral
Point line met the Illinois Central in Warren, Illinois, enabling travelers
to reach nearby Galena, Chicago, and the East till then only possible by
stage, horse, or on foot.

From 1856 to 1904, the depot was used exclusively by the Mineral Point
Railroad (purchased by the Milwaukee Road in 1880). In 1904, a second
railroad began using a portion of the depot to conduct its business. This
line, named the Mineral Point and Northern RR, connected Highland and
Linden with Mineral Point. The offices of the Mineral Point and Northern
were partially contained in the second floor of the depot. To this day,
"MP&N" is engraved in portions of the upstairs floors. After 1930, the
depot was no longer used by the MP&N and the importance of depot gradually
diminished over the next 50 years. By the late 1970's, the depot was barely
a factor in the railroad business in Mineral Point as passenger service saw
a decline and freight service no longer required the resources of a full
time station agent. During its 130 years of service, miners, businessmen,
families, visitors, and men leaving for war had crowded its platform. At
one time, the stately depot was also joined by an icehouse, a freight
house, a water tank, and a turntable with two engine houses. These
structures, along with numerous zinc mining buildings, once stretched a
quarter of a mile along the valley. Of this entire hub of activity, the
depot is the only significant building remaining. In February of 1984, the
last train pulled away and its doors were closed. However, the depot has
remained, and after almost 150 years it is one of Mineral Point's strongest
links to its past.

Today, the Mineral Point Railroad Depot stands as a monument to the history
of Mineral Point and Southwestern Wisconsin. It is listed on the National
Register of Historic Places and appears on the top ten list of most
endangered historic structures by the Wisconsin Trust for Historic
Preservation, and is recognized as one of the top ten most endangered
historic railroad depots by The Great American Station Foundation in
Washington, DC. The depot looks much as it did when built, with the old
rail bed now a multi-use recreational trail.

The Depot Today
In early February of 2003 Phase I of the restoration project was under way.
Completed in August of 2003, the scope of this phase included building
stabilization, exterior repair, and roughed in basic utilities. Phase II is
scheduled to begin in November 2003 and will involve all interior work plus
sidewalks, handicap parking, and landscaping. Upon its completion in August
of 2004, the Mineral Point Railroad Museum will open, offering a unique
collection of Mineral Point Depot and Southwestern Wisconsin Railroad
related artifacts dating a span of 150 years. Visitors will be able to walk
through the fully restored passenger and ticket area, view the original
15foot passenger bench, baggage cart, ticket booth, safe, and agent desks.
Curated by David Kjelland, the Mineral Point Railroad Museum will also
offer a research area and computer lab, a children's museum, as well as
space for community meetings and art exhibits. Trail users will find
respite in the vestibule with restroom facilities, and beverage and snack



Click Here or on the corner X to close this window.

    All photos are the property of the original photographer unless otherwise noted and are to be used for personal viewing purposes only.

    The use of these photos on any website or other distribution media is strictly forbidden without the express consent of the image copyright holder.

    Linking directly to this page is permitted as long as "Railfan.net Email List Photo Archive" is creditted on the linking page.