July 2016 - Project update
Saturday, July 9, 2016 at 1:27PM
SNDC Admin in News, renovation

Due to the generosity of supporters like you, the depot was saved by moving it off of the railroad property (our first priority). With great fanfare — complete with 50 to 75 observers, TV and newspaper reporters, a brass band, and costumed characters — it was moved across the street to the new site in January. Soon afterward, the railroad removed the unsightly roofless building that was next to the depot on its new site.

We have now moved on to our remaining project goals: rehabilitation and reuse. To begin the renovation, a construction firm volunteered their time to convert the two trackside window openings to doors as originally designed, reversing some of the 1944 remodeling. The existing double door on the trackside added in 1944 will be removed when the station master’s bay is reconstructed this fall.

The firm also converted the large window on the north side into an opening for the future double door that will serve as the handicapped accessible entrance. This entrance will be level with the pavilion floor.

To serve the two trackside doors, concrete steps have been added using a design similar to the original steps, but meeting current safety code. The design retains the visibility of the existing limestone as much as possible.

Volunteer crews removed the wall plaster and lowered ceiling, both added in the 1944 remodeling. The removed 1944 rafters will be reused in the project.


Removal of the plaster revealed some secrets about the original interior (see above photo):

Recently, those involved in the depot project gained a new understanding of the U.S. Geodetic Survey (USGS) and the importance of geodetic disks. After we posted an image of a metallic disk on the depot's side on Facebook, we alerted the USGS that the depot had been moved since the disk is used as a survey marker. A USGS official recently visited the site and completed the necessary report to indicate it was no longer a valid marker.

Additional donations of time and materials

Early in the depot project, a family donated a Nick Swearer sculpture, a tree made of railroad spikes. Recently, a private owner offered an additional Swearer sculpture that was previously located downtown along the river before the riverside walk was built.

Next summer, the sculptures and other elements will be incorporated into the sculpture garden on the south (3rd Street) side of the depot. The garden is being designed by a local landscape planner who is donating his time.

A local business owner donated reclaimed double doors for the north entrance and some light fixtures.

The recent progress would not have been possible without the community members’ generosity of money, time, and materials. Volunteers are being sought for the future work identified below and are encouraged to notify Rob Martin at 507-645-7579 or robnorthfielddepot@gmail.com.

Projected summer repairs

Planned next stages


Having reached the first fundraising milestone of $228,000 to move the building and to complete initial repairs, the current fundraising effort is focused on the second milestone of $215,500 to renovate the interior and complete the exterior of the building. Subsequent milestones will be set for the building of the pavilion (the pavilion floor with ramp will be necessary for occupancy) and the construction of the sculpture garden.

In March, updates on the rehabilitation progress and the need for funding needed repairs and construction were provided in various venues.

To celebrate June History Month, a board member donated a $10,000 challenge match to finance the rehabilitation of the depot. Letters have been sent to potential donors.

Grants received this spring:

Article originally appeared on Save the Northfield Depot (http://www.northfielddepot.org/).
See website for complete article licensing information.