John W. North’s vision for the town that bears his name included a railroad, since he believed rail connections essential for Northfield’s growth.
By 1942, the heyday of Northfield’s passenger rail service was coming to an end. The passenger trains continued with decreased frequency until 1968.
The depot’s swooping hip roof and flared eaves offers an example of an architectural style typical of many Midwest train stations from 1870-1900.
Patrick Murphy, born in 1824 in Ireland, came to America and found his way to Illinois, where he took a job as a baggage and yardmaster.
Three short documentaries highlight the crucial role the railroad and Northfield’s depot played in the development of the city and the two local colleges.
Current and former Northfielders relate stories about the 1888 depot and the role it played in the lives of everyday townspeople and college students.
View the panels from a 2011 exhibit on the history of railroads in that was held at the Northfield Historical Society.
The Northfield Historical Society and the archives at both colleges have helped us build a visual history of the city’s depots.