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[graphic] Rock Island Depot
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Rock Island Depot

Photo by Lorraine Draper

The Rock Island Railroad Depot, built in 1890, is Pipestone's only remaining depot. In Pipestone's heyday, there were four rail lines going into the city. As one of the major reasons for Pipestone's prosperity, the railroad is central to the history of this small Minnesota town. The 26-foot by 80-foot depot is constructed of cream colored bricks, trimmed in Sioux quartzite. The freight room is wider and taller than the rest of the building, resulting in a projecting roofline and gables. A rectangular bay extends toward the track from the freight office. Two waiting rooms, one for male and one for female patrons, still exist and each have separate entrances and chimneys. Due to the decline in railroad usage, the depot closed in the 1960s.

[photo] Historic image of Rock Island Depot c.1900
Courtesy of Pipestone County Historical Society
For a time during the 1970s the depot served as a center for American Indians called the Spirit of Peace Indian Center. After sitting empty for several years, Historic Pipestone, Inc., acquired the depot in 1986. Since that time, the exterior has been restored with matching grants from the Minnesota Historical Society. In January 1997, Historic Pipestone, Inc. sold the depot to a American Indian organization, Keepers of the Sacred Tradition of Pipemakers. They have since completed renovation of the interior. Included is an art gallery, gift shop and meeting rooms.

The Rock Island Depot is located in the 400 block of N. Hiawatha Ave., Pipestone. Summer hours are Monday-Saturday, 10:00am to 6:00pm, Sunday noon-6:00pm. Winter hours vary. For further information call 888-550-8675 or visit the website of the Keepers of the Sacred Tradition of Pipemakers.

[graphic] Link to essay on Pipestone County History [graphic] Link to essay on Downtown Revitalization[graphic] Link to essay on Pipestone: The Rock

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