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Friday, November 22, 2013

Train Depots - Hub of the town

Mary Wood was an agent/telegrapher for Great Northern Railroad between 1943 and 1960, during the time when just about every town had a train depot. By the 1960s most of those depots had started to close.
"For a century and a quarter the depot was the hub and heart of the town it serviced," she wrote in a history of the depots. "Here the depot agent was a prominent figure. His duties were many. He copied train orders from the dispatcher and handed them up to the engineer and conductor as the train went by, sold tickets, checked baggage, man-handled freight and express on and off freight cars. Everything came by rail merchandise, mail, coal, lumber, beer. Even the circus came by train. (The depot agent) ordered grain cars for the elevator, then billed out the load. He received and sent telegrams. He was the first to know everything by listening to messages sent by other agents along the line."
 Soo Line Depot - 1887
Train in Minor 1898