Fall Update on Restoration, Repairs, and Fundraising

Station Master’s Bay: Work has begun on the restoration of the bay that was removed in 1944. Carpenters framed in the bay using the original 1888 plans. Bricks, cottage style windows, and two brackets on each side of the larger window will be added as on the 1888 plans and visible in old photos.

Carpenters removed the doors (left photo) that replaced the original bay in 1944 to begin construction of the new bay.

Bricks to be added: Bricks were salvaged from the 1944 freight addition and from the old Washington School. The school’s bricks had been in City storage and were donated to the project. Mortar on these salvaged bricks is very thick and is being removed by volunteers with an air chisel.

Volunteers have cleaned 3,500 out of the 4,000 bricks needed.

Limestone: The limestone used in the original foundation has been salvaged to use on the face of the new foundation. Volunteers have been using a stone saw to cut it to the thickness specified by the stonemasons who will soon place it on the foundation.

Cut limestone waits on pallets ready for installation on the foundation’s face.

Paint on depot brick: During the years of neglect, several layers of paint were applied to cover graffiti. The original plan was to remove the paint if a non-destructive method could be found (the paint used is currently chalky and must be removed). We found that high-pressure washing was successful in removing the paint added to cover the graffiti. However, it was ineffective at removing the graffiti, which covers a significant amount of the depot. Because we don’t want to damage the brick, we plan to remove all previous added paint that will come off with high-pressure washing. The brick then will be repainted using a paint the same color as the original dark brick. The original mortar is very thin and the same dark color as the bricks.

Paint on depot soffits: Very little paint remains on the soffits, but large chips were present. Volunteers have scraped and sanded the west and north soffits; no paint has been removed on the east soffits. The missing soffit on the south wall removed in 1944 will be replaced with matching V-groove boards. The original color (a light gray-blue) of the soffits was found under the light fixtures. The soffit wood is generally in very good condition; the eight-foot wide eaves have offered protection. Although some spots need repairs, matching V-groove boards were used in the interior when the bathroom walls were installed, allowing us to reuse those boards for repairs. (The bathrooms must be remodeled for ADA compliance.)

Before (left) and after (right)

Paint on depot brackets: Volunteers have also been removing paint from the brackets. No evidence of any paint color other than the gray-blue over the thin white primer appeared on the slotted/grooved detail or the chamfers (beveled edges). Paint removed from all the volutes (the spiral relief) on the west side of the depot showed evidence of a thin layer of “John Deere green” under the gray-blue paint. The same color appeared occasionally in small patches on the brackets adjacent to the soffits on the north side of the depot. No paint has yet been removed from the east brackets.

The brackets after paint removal, repair, and sanding; right image shows a close-up of the volutes (spiral relief)

Update on Fundraising

Fundraising events: We continue to be busy with fundraising. All total, we have now raised $320,000. The May community breakfast, June match campaign, and September’s Garrison Keillor event exceeded our fundraising goal for each effort. Thanks to our donors, volunteers, and community support, we have always surpassed our planned fundraising goals! This fall, we plan to sell memorial pavers and participate in Give to the Max Day.

Grant applications: We recently received a $5,000 grant from the Carl & Verna Schmidt Foundation toward the $25,000 needed for the replacement of the depot windows. A Union Pacific official also visited the site in response to our application for partial funding for a security fence. Two additional grant applications have been submitted.

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