Historic Minnehaha (Princess) Depot

The historic Minnehaha (Princess) Depot at Minnehaha Park in Minneapolis

 

The Minnesota Transportation Museum is pleased to announce the reopening of the historic Minnehaha (Princess) Depot at Minnehaha Park in Minneapolis. The depot has been closed for more than a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Princess will reopen on the afternoon of Sunday, July 4th.

About the depot

Minnehaha Depot was built in 1875 to replace a smaller station on the first railroad line on the west bank of the Mississippi River, connecting Minneapolis with Chicago. It was designed by the Minnesota Central Railway Company engineers in a style called Carpenter-Gothic, and features elaborate “gingerbread” ornamentation made possible by the recently invented jigsaw and precut, or dimension, lumber. The delicate decoration includes cockscomb detailing along the roofline, ornamental eave triangles, fans, and spires. The look of the depot led railroad men at the time to call it the "Princess." The building itself is only 22 feet by 20 feet, while the platform measures 75 feet from end to end. The exterior is painted in the Milwaukee Road colors of orange siding with boxcar red trim and wainscoting. In the depot’s early years, Minneapolis residents flocked to Minnehaha Park by train to enjoy summer weekends. The station supported passenger service until 1920 and continued to operate as a freight station until 1963.

The depot was closed in 1963 and presented by the Milwaukee Road to the Minnesota Historical Society. The Minnesota Transportation Museum restored the building to its 1890s appearance and maintains and interprets it as a historic site.

Today, the building is home to many of the original artifacts from its days as a depot, as well as other displays of early railroad and streetcar travel of the area. It is open to visitors on Sunday afternoons from Memorial Day to Labor Day.

Minnesota Historical Society

The Minnesota Transportation Museum is a nonprofit community organization that has been offering interpretations, education, historic restorations, and vintage railway experiences for the past 57 years. Those experiences include operations of the Osceola & St. Croix Valley Railway. The organization is almost entirely volunteer led and relies on ticket sales and charitable contributions to support its operations. Under the current situation, MTM is requesting increased community contributions in order to maintain operations and ensure a successful railway season in 2021. Donations can be made through www.trainride.org.

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