Over 100 citizens and special guests celebrated the success of the depot rehabilitation project at the Ribbon-Cutting event on Thursday, October 6. The theme, appropriately, was “It took a village to save a depot.” Those attending the ribbon-cutting reflected the breadth of interests and depth of the community commitment to the depot project.
After recognizing Save the Northfield Depot (STND) past and current board members for each of their unique contributions, special guests with whom STND had worked during the project were recognized. Those guests included Dan Hanson, Facilities Project Manager for Canadian Pacific Railway, and Michael Dougherty, District #6 MnDOT Director of Public Engagement and Communications.
Speaking on behalf of the City of Northfield was Ben Martig, city administrator, who shared that he immediately perceived a high level of council and community approval of the project when he arrived in Northfield in 2016. He reminded the group that the City is in the process of planning the construction of the adjacent pavilion and transit hub next spring.
Recognition of volunteer work and donors
Because of the significant role of the community, the majority of the event was devoted to the recognition of volunteers and donors who were responsible for the success of the project. A lack of time did not allow recognition of an exhaustive list of those volunteers and donors, e.g., 2,500 hours were logged by over 60 different volunteers during a 12-month period. Specific examples of volunteer work and donors were shared that fell into three categories: targeted funding, historical objects, and volunteer time and skills. Below are those examples and individuals who commented on each.
A. Targeted funding
- Station Master Bay. Norm Oberto spoke on behalf of Oberto family who donated funds to rebuild the original station master bay (using the 1888 blueprints) that had been removed in 1944.
- Water Feature. Scott Hamlin spoke on behalf of the Hamlin family (some of whom came from AZ for the occasion) who donated funds for the construction of the water feature in memory of James and Beverly Hamlin.
- Landscaping. Elizabeth Olson spoke on behalf of the Northfield Garden Club, which had awarded grants to help finance the landscaping in the sculpture garden.
- Historical Plaque. Andrew Selden spoke about his motivation for donating funds for the plaque containing the history of the depot; i.e., to assure that the history would be available for future generations.
B. Historical objects
- Bollards in Water Feature. Bobbie Peterson, daughter of Bob Jacobson, submitted comments on behalf of the donors (a friend and the Bob Jacobson family) of the bollards from the 1886 2nd Street Bridge for use in the water feature.
- 1920s Baggage Cart. Mark Lund was not present but was recognized for his donation of the cart; archival images of the depot include such a cart.
- Original Chicago Great Western Northfield depot bench. Jane Scott submitted comments related to the story behind the donation by herself and Dick Scott of the Chicago Great Western (CGW) bench that was originally on the 1883 CGW Northfield depot along 3rd Street, in the current location of the Quarterback Club.
- Order Board. Gary Holzinger, chair of the Milwaukee Road Historical Association Midwest Division on Iowa who was unable to attend at the last minute, submitted comments as donor of the order board parts. Don McGee, the volunteer who restored the order board from the parts, read the donor’s statement about the origin of the parts, and McGee’s reconstruction. Archival images of the depot in the late 1880s include that style of order board.
- Ten Brackets. Richard Schulte and Clark Webster, both of whom are retired engineers, crafted the brackets. Schulte described the many and varied volunteer tasks involved in sourcing and drying the wood, and crafting and installing the 10 new depot brackets. The original brackets had been removed in the 1944 addition of the freight house.
- Interior Features. Recognition was given to two volunteers who donated their significant skills and time on interior features.
- Crown Moulding. Paul Carlson-Donohoe reconstructed the four-piece crown moulding that was removed in 1944 renovation.
- Original V-board Walls. Jim Sharrow repaired and restored the placement of the original V-board walls.
History of Northfield’s Railways exhibit
After the ribbon cutting, those attending were invited to view the depot’s interior and the History of Northfield’s Railways exhibit (originally in the 2012 Northfield Historical Society exhibit) which included a video of the 2016 move of the depot. Most of the exhibit images will remain on the walls in the immediate future to be enjoyed by the groups that rent the depot for events.
Board and committee members
The board of directors of Save the Northfield Depot is very cognizant and appreciative of the importance of the generosity and commitment of you and other community members in the success of the project. The current officers include the following: Rob Martin, chair; Clark Webster, treasurer; and Alice Thomas, secretary. Other current volunteer members of core committees and their foci include: Judy Code, landscaping; Don McGee, technical advisor; Pepe Kryzda, architect; Lisa Thompson, website and communications expert, and Baird Jarman, historical advisor.
Recognition was also given to the four board members who were lost to illness or death since 2010. Each brought unique, critical assets to the project. Family members or friends spoke at the event regarding the commitment of the individuals to the project:
- Steve Edwins, historical architect and preservation expert: Steve’s wife, Jennifer spoke of his early vision for the future of the depot long before the current effort.
- Lynn Vincent, board co-chair: Megan Tsui, daughter of Pat, spoke of Pat’s steadfastness and belief of the importance of saving an irreplaceable historic treasure.
- Pat Allen, events and fundraising chair: Catherine McBride, Lynn’s friend, recognized the total commitment and effort Lynn gave to the project.
- Chip DeMann, moving and depot advisor: Alice Thomas noted Chip’s valuable knowledge of the depot, and his role of being the first person who saved the depot in 1983 when he owned it briefly.
All current and past members have truly been essential to the project.
The Save the Northfield Depot board would like to express our gratitude again to all in our generous village who contributed to the success of this project. Indeed, “it took a village to save a depot.”