The Durand city depot is a historical landmark which many people would like to preserve. The depot was built in 1882 along with the rail road. The depot is a very interesting piece of Durand history, and if it could talk it would have plenty to say. In its time it has seen many trains and tourists pass by. This depot has viewed the changes in our community from horse and buggy days, through the industrial revolution, to the present day..
The Durand Depot was a center stop on the line which ran from Reads Landing and then split continuing to both Eau Claire and Menomonie on what today is the Red Cedar Bike Trail. In 1884 the rail road was taken over by the Milwaukee Rail Road and for years trains running south out of Durand met up with the main line at Reads Landing on a swing bridge. In the 1940's the bridge was washed out during a flood and the Milwaukee Rail Road Company decided to abandon the branch line and later gave the depot to the Durand Women's Club. Still later, NSP purchased an eighteen mile segment of rail from Durand to the Mississippi river, and the Wisconsin Transportation Department bought the thirty mile stretch from Durand to Eau Claire.
Here is a picture of a passenger train that traveled the track that ran through Durand. This train and many others carried goods and people from Durand and other cities to where they were scheduled to go to. These people in the photo were probably waiting to get onto the train when this photo was taken. As you can see, the train looks fairly old, because you can see a car that held coal. They used the coal for fuel for the train engine so it would go. There were many different kinds of trains that traveled this track. Some were shaped like this one here and some looked more like the ones that are around today. Because the railroad ran through Durand, it helped Durand to grow larger with both people moving in and new businesses being created.
This info was brought to you by the Durand Courier Wedge of August 17, 1972 issue.
This is a picture of the depot today. NSP presently owns it, but is willing to give it to whomever can and will move it off of its present site. There are several organizations who might be interested. One company out of Eau Claire would move it, and then open several sections of the track and run tours. Another group (the Pepin County Historical Society) who would like to move it and preserve it.
It is our hope that some group will come forward to give this valuable piece of history a permanent home. It has stood on its present site for around 15 years, and we hope that it will be able to be seen and appreciated by future generations .
This page was produced by Ted Weinzirl and Arthur Hornbaker in April of 1997, and was reedited by Karl Wayne in March of 1998. Information was taken from the Courier Wedge and the St. Paul Pioneer Press.
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