Iowa Attractions, Explore February 13, 2021
There’s Only One Remaining Train Station Like This In All Of Iowa And It’s Magnificent
A gorgeous one-of-a-kind train station can be found in the charming town of Independence, Iowa. The stately brick station was built in 1891 to serve the massive crowds that once descended on the town for horse races. Today the depot is a quieter place, home to the Buchanan County Tourism Bureau. There are several reasons why you have to see this unique and special depot.
The price tag:
Want to take a guess for how much this building sold for in 1994? Try $1. The tourism bureau purchased the former Illinois Central Depot and Baggage building for its new home in 1994. While the railroad sold the building for just a dollar, there was a catch.
The building had to be moved. It was a painstaking process, completed in 1996. Every brick of the station and a nearby baggage building were moved to the current location, along Highway 150.
There's a fun bit of railroad history at the depot. A small 1940s vehicle used for track inspection still functions and is fun for kids of all ages.
The old depot has become a big tourist attraction. While no trains pull into this station anymore, a lot of visitors do, seeking information on things to see and do around Independence. The depot is also the site of special events.
An old steam engine is located at the depot. The engine, Grand Trunk Western No. 8300, was built in 1923. It was retired in 1959 and found its way to Independence in 2000, along with an Illinois Central caboose.
A lot of volunteers and friends helped restore the depot and are the reason why it's such a beautiful building, even after 130 years.
There’s a lot more railroad history to explore in Iowa. Here are
11 abandoned train depots that will take you into the past. Address: Independence, IA 50644, USA
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