Union Pacific Big Boy #4014

Progress Update, June 2019

Although we’re only half way through 2019, it’s been a busy six months for Save the Northfield Depot!


With all the renovations going on at the depot, we thought it was time to give our website a refresh as well! The flexible new design allows us to better share our story along with more photos of our progress. Take a look at northfielddepot.org.

Renovation Progress

Since the progress documented in the 2018 Annual Report, the restoration activity has continued during the late winter and spring months.


  • Interior window and door casing installed (purchased two years ago at a discount; wide width was consistent with original)
  • The wider casing required wider and thicker rosettes than was available commercially. A volunteer used his wood lathe to turn the 36 rosettes using thick wood donated by a construction firm.
  • A carpenter has installed the permanent stairway (railings, newel posts, balusters, skirt, and steps) using maple wood to harmonize with maple flooring to be added in the future.
  • Some of the wall sconces have been installed.


  • A stone mason has completed three limestone sitting walls and the circular center wall in sculpture garden; stones are from the original foundation of the depot.
  • The John Maakestad sculpture, Wind Piece, donated by Bond family has been repaired in an artist’s studio and installed this week in the sculpture garden.
  • A volunteer has completed the restoration of period exterior light fixtures which will be installed soon.

Major work yet to be completed

Since the progress documented in the 2018 Annual Report, the restoration activity has continued during the late winter and spring months.


  • Paint the newly installed window and door casing.
  • Apply natural finish to components of the newly installed maple staircase to the basement.
  • Install maple flooring.
  • Install and paint baseboard.
  • Enclose interior stairway in basement as required by fire code.


  • Install handicapped accessible ramp at north entrance and permanent railing on south side basement stairs.
  • Install sidewalk and iron fence on track side from 2nd Street to 3rd Street (safety issue for those visiting the depot, attending events, and using the transit hub)
  • Complete the sculpture garden with the plants, pavers for plaza, and water feature.
  • Install exterior lighting.

City Transit Hub

The City has been working on their plans to build a transit hub adjacent to the pavilion – a plan highly supported in the 2010 public meetings held by Save the Northfield Depot regarding public preferences for location and use of the depot complex. Last year the City hired a firm to produce a plan for an access drive suitable for a public transit hub. The City Council recently approved the funding, plans, and specifications for the drive and authorized the advertisement for bids for a late fall construction date.

The City has submitted a bonding request for the 2020 legislative session for the transit hub building and related parking. They submitted such a request for the 2019 session, but no bonding requests were considered in this session.

Events – Wednesday, July 17

The depot will be the site of two related events to celebrate of the 150th anniversary of the completion of the transcontinental railway that Northfielders will not want to miss!

  1. Raggin’ at the Depot, a free one-hour brass quintet concert, from noon until 12:30 p.m. and again, after the event below from 1 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. Fletcher Coolidge and his brass quintet will feature music of the late 1800s to early 1900s. (In case of rain, the concert will be held at the nearby St. John’s Lutheran church.) The depot is one of the Northfield sites to host an “Art on Main Street” project this summer, an initiative of the Northfield Downtown Development Corporation with a grant from Minnesota Main Street, a division of the Preservation Alliance of Minnesota.
  2. Union Pacific’s “Big Boy” 4014 will arrive at 12:45 p.m. for a 15 minute stop. The recently restored “Big Boy” 4014 steam locomotive was built in 1944 and is the largest of its kind in the world. Union Pacific has worked for the past two years to restore “Big Boy” for a tour of the Union Pacific rail system as part of the celebration of the 150th anniversary of the completion of the transcontinental railway. The locomotive will be passing through Wyoming, Nebraska, Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Illinois. In Minnesota, the locomotive will make brief stops in Albert Lea and Owatonna before its scheduled stop in Northfield near the depot before heading on to St. Paul.
Union Pacific Big Boy #4014 in route to Ogden, Utah
Union Pacific Big Boy #4014 in route to Ogden, Utah to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the driving of the Golden Spike. (Source: Aaron Pedersen, Wikipedia)

Save the Northfield Depot also will provide a small display of the history of Northfield Railroads and limited tours of the depot.

Other News

  • Artist Stephan Koplowitz recently provided us with a video of the dance performance at the depot last summer during The Northfield Experience.
  • A Union Pacific employee who lives in Albert Lea stopped by the depot recently and offered Save the Northfield Depot the original sign that was on the depot roof which reads NORTHFIELD. He found it in the attic of the old depot freight house.
  • A 10 year old from another town who often visits his grandfather in Northfield notified us via email that he follows the project online and asked how he could help. We offered him a tour, and he and his grandfather recently visited the depot. He is a very enthusiastic, young supporter!
  • Save the Northfield Depot received an email from a former Northfield resident who was emptying his father’s Northfield home. He offered us 14 bricks his father had enjoyed – original Northfield depot bricks that have designs on the surface (see photo below) and were used as pavers. The bricks will be placed in a prominent location in the new sidewalk at the depot. We would be delighted if other such bricks could be located and donated to the project; please contact us at info@northfielddepot.org
original depot paver

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