LS: History Here and Now Column November 07, 2008

Group forms to find owner for historic railroad depot

Grand Junction Union Station. Photo from the Loyd Files Research Library at the Museum of Western Colorado

The first Grand Junction railroad depot was a simple log structure, which was replaced, in early 1884, by an impressive Queen Anne-style wooden station. This structure served the railroad and community well as they grew and prospered together.

April 6, 1905, the first pile was driven for the new depot and on April 17, 1906, the new depot was completed. The depot cost $60,000. The furnishings, fixtures, parking, platforms and other improvements brought the cost to $80,000.

The exterior of the building is white brick, with terra cotta used for accent details. The depot is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

On the evening of April 17, 1906, an estimated 7,000 city residents were invited to the opening of the new depot.

A Daily Sentinel reporter got an early tour of the building and through his words a clear image emerges:

“There are three double oak door entrances to the depot, two from the tracks side, and one from the street side. Over the track entrance are glass covered canopies. Entering the street entrance the visitor finds himself in a cozy little vestibule. From this vestibule a uniquely finished oak stairway, almost spiral in its structure, leads to the second floor. On the west side is a large telephone booth for the use of the public. Glass and oak doors open from the vestibule into the big waiting room.

There is nothing to surpass this waiting room in Colorado or Utah, in point of finish, decorative effects and conveniences. The room is 63-feet in length and 33-feet wide. The ceiling height is 22 feet, finished in squares of cast plaster detail. The building is heated with steam and it has a fine electric system.

The ceiling is composed of squares of material resembling plaster pairs.

The walls have wainscotting running to a height of about four feet above the floor with plaster pilaster extending from the top of the wainscotting to the ceiling. The colors are leather brown, ivory white and green and done in water color technique.

The huge windows and wood work are of solid oak. The upper windows are of stained glass.

Curved seats of solid golden oak are arranged in the walls of the room and a large number of seats are to be scattered over the floor.

On the south side of the room are the two big steel latticed windows opening into the large ticket office and the counter under each is solid marble. Opening from the west wall of the room is a cozy little alcove in which there is a fireplace and grate.

The ladies retiring room, situated in the northwest portion of the building, is a triangle shaped room, and is entered through swinging doors from the main room. The room has solid oak seats on two walls and a number of comfortable rocking chairs. The ladies toilet room is furnished in the most modern style.

The gentlemen’s room is located in the northeast portion of the building, and smaller than the ladies room.

The long upstairs hall is covered with a rich burlap and then stenciled. The Western Union Telegraph
office and the trainmen’s private apartments EW are located on the east end. The superintendent’s and clerk’s rooms are located on the western end of the second floor. A private toilet room is located on the second floor.

In the one story portion to the east are the offices of the Wells Fargo and Globe express companies and baggage rooms.

The long hoped for new depot for Grand Junction is now a reality. It will long be a matter of pride to the people of Grand Junction.”

For more than 17 years the main portion of this grand building has sat empty. There have been several attempts to restore the depot and once again a group has formed to help find a new owner and help that owner restore the building.

If you are interested in helping, please e-mail me, Kathy Jordan, .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). We welcome you.

Kathy Jordan is retired from The Daily Sentinel and now involved in several historic preservation efforts.


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