3/14/2011 9:01:00 AM Hidden in plain sight: The Remer Depot
A piece of the past with plans into the future
On the west end of Remer, where State Highway 6/200 intersect with the Soo Line Trail, is the historic Remer Depot. To some, it may appear to be just another restored piece of history. But to the folks who put much time, attention, money and creativity into the Remer Depot, it's far more than an ordinary historical location.
The depot, built in 1910, was the stopping place for the first passenger train to come to Remer, on Nov. 10, 1910. By 1920, there were two passenger trains stopping daily at the Remer Depot. A ticket from Remer to Rogers Spur (Tobique), cost .22¢; .39¢ to Boy River; .65¢ to Federal Dam; $1.37 to Cass Lake; $1.87 to Bemidji; and $4.43 to Thief River Falls. From Remer to Shovel Lake, fare was .53¢; and $3.29 to Duluth.
The footings the Depot sits on today, are not original to the Remer Depot. In September 1932, the businessmen of Remer agreed to cover the expense of moving two warehouses which were on the right of way for the new highway. In January 1933, the state Railroad and Warehouse Commission demanded Warehouse No. 2 on the railroad property needed to be removed to provide an unobstructed view of the crossing. The building was demolished and salvaged for materials. In May of 1933, contractors placed the Depot on rollers and moved it 200 feet to the west to it's current location. This time the Depot was set on concrete piers instead of wooden posts like it had at its original location.
The last train rolled through Remer in April of 1985.
Nearly 10 years ago, a
group of people began to realize what a valuable asset the Depot was to the community, and began making plans to restore it into a multi-use facility. Some of the hardwood oak floor, original to the building, has been preserved. The Depot also houses a museum with items related to the early days in Remer.
In April 2009, the Remer Depot took on more of the authentic look of the old railroad days, when a caboose was placed on rails next to the Depot. Again, the community went into action with time and funding in order to give the caboose a bit of a face lift.
Set aside the historical value of the Depot, it's a resource the community can use for many types of gatherings. It has a large space available for pubic use. Non profit organizations may use the space free of charge. There is a $60 fee for private use, and $50 for local government usage.
As the City of Remer plans centennial events throughout 2011, they are able to incorporate the Depot into the historic significance the railroad played in the town's history.
For more information on reserving the facilities, volunteering, or to lend and/or donate artifacts or photographs to the Remer Depot, contact the Remer Chamber Office at (218) 566-1680.
Historical data provided by Cecelia McKeig, author of the book entitled "The History of Remer."