"We are all of us living in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars." ~Oscar Wilde
"Adventure is worthwhile in itself." ~Amelia Earhart

May 1, 2008

The Minnehaha Depot & Trains

Andrew's recent posts about model railroading and his comment yesterday reminded me of the railroad line that passed right behind my childhood home. Most of the buildings along the east side of Hiawatha Avenue (at least in that area) are old industrial buildings: grain silos, factories, a lumber yard, etc. I didn't really pay much attention to the trains when they passed through. Most of the noise from the trains was blocked by a small factory that was just off our backyard. When they did pass, you'd hear a light rumbling and, if you placed your hand on the wall, you could feel the house shake slightly. Mostly, though, it was just background noise that blended in along with the occasional car honking, sirens, and planes passing overhead. The teenager at the other end of the block was way more annoying as far as noise goes. He'd spend hours on his motorcycle revving it up and gunning it up and down the street in the summer. That gets really obnoxious after the tenth time in an hour.

Anyway, I only remember the line being active as a freight line but, for many years, it was also used as a passenger line and went further south to Mendota, MN. One of the stops on the line, the Minnehaha Depot, is still maintained by the Minnesota Historical Society. I don't know how far north it goes. Probably to a large rail yard just north of downtown Minneapolis.

From the plaque: "Milwaukee Road station agents affectionately referred to the quaint little Minnehaha Depot as "the Princess." Its delicate gingerbread architecture is reminiscent of the Victorian era when ladies in bustles and gentlemen in high collars traveled largely by train.

The first track connecting Minneapolis with Mendota was laid in 1865 by the Minnesota Central Railway, the predecessor of the Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul Railway. The Princess was built in the mid-1870s to replace a smaller station here. Throngs of picnickers and sightseers took the sixteen-minute ride from Minneapolis to Minnehaha Park and the old Longfellow Gardens Zoo, while others traveled to and from Fort Snelling and Mendota. In 1910 three trains made thirteen round trips daily to the depot. It was the scene of feverish activity during World Wars I and II because of the military traffic in and out of Fort Snelling.

The Milwaukee Road closed the station in August, 1963, and presented it to the Minnesota Historical Society in 1964. The Minnesota Transportation Museum, Inc., an affiliate of the society, has undertaken the restoration and maintenance of the depot.

Erected by the Minnesota Historical Society


FerdC ~ The Best Parts said...

It's people like you that keep the spirit alive. Those bits of history would be nothing, lost, if someone didn't take the time to notice, and remember.
Thanks, Kayla! You are a sweet girl.
Can I say girl? I AM much older! Okay, person!

Andrew said...

Thank you for this!!!! I found this fascinating! You know me! I love trains of any kind. You are a dear soul.

Berryvox said...

Ferd - Heh, girl works. I picked up a book on Minnesota history about a year ago and started becoming fascinated by the subject.

Andrew - I knew you'd like this one! :)

Roxiticus Desperate Housewives said...


Here to give you my Battle of the Blogs vote for Friday night in New Jersey, and to let you know that it is time for you to join us in the Red Hot Drops, an exclusive EntreCard blogroll run by Mariuca and Lady Java, two of my all time fave bloggers. Hurry, only a few spots left in this Red Hot 99-drops-only club!


Berryvox said...

Roxy - Ooh, that looks kinda neat. :)

RoxiticusDH said...

Stopped by on Kentucky Derby night to give you my BotB vote...that scuba guy is tough, especially with the Finding Nemo turtle.

I see you are now a Red Hot Drop...glad you got in!

Got fed up with Bill Gates' Dog so I'm traveling around the Blogosphere on Firefox tonight...do I look any different?

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!


Berryvox said...

Roxy - I'll die of shock if I win against the scuba blog!

Firefox > IE

Have a nice night. :)