Peabody and Stearns
| Railway museum|
9 December 1971
| 506 West Michigan Avenue
Duluth, Minnesota 55802
506 W Michigan St, Duluth, MN 55802, USA
Closing soon · 9AM–5PMTuesday9AM–5PMWednesday9AM–5PMThursday9AM–5PMFriday9AM–5PMSaturday9AM–5PMSunday9AM–5PMMonday9AM–5PM
Lake Superior Railroad, North Shore Scenic R, Great Lakes Aquarium, SS William A Irvin, Glensheen Historic Estate
The Duluth Depot is a historic train station in Duluth, Minnesota, United States. The union station was built in 1892, served seven different rail lines, and accommodated 5,000 passengers. In 1973 it re-opened as the St. Louis County Heritage & Arts Center, housing the Duluth Art Institute, Lake Superior Railroad Museum (which operates the North Shore Scenic Railroad), St. Louis County Historical Society Museum, a Veteran's Memorial Hall, and five performing arts organizations. Amtrak (the National Railroad Passenger Corporation) provided rail service to the station from the mid-1970s to the mid-1980s.
Duluth Depot Wikipedia
The Depot is located at 506 West Michigan Avenue in the shadow of the elevated I-35, which runs immediately southeast of the depot. (On the southeast side of the Duluth Harbor Basin of Lake Superior.) The depot is easily accessible from northeast bound I-35 by way of the Michigan Avenue interchange (exit 256A). It is also fairly accessible from southwest bound I-35 by way of the Lake Avenue/5th Avenue West interchange (exit 256B). (However, since West Michigan Avenue is a one-way street, vehicular traffic must turn northwest [right] onto South 5th Avenue West, southwest [left] onto West Superior Street, and then southeast [left] onto South 6th Avenue West before reaching West Michigan Avenue.) The station has one side platform and three island platforms that provide access to its seven tracks. The outer southeast active track is utilized by the North Shore Scenic Railroad, with the remainder being used to display various trains and train cars by the Lake Superior Railroad Museum.
Scenic tours from the station continue to be provided by the North Shore Scenic Railroad (a heritage railroad operated by the Lake Superior Railroad Museum), which provides several different excursions from Duluth to points northeast along Lake Superior's northern shore. Regular tours are round-trip, ranging from one to six hours long, with destinations including the Lester River, the area of Palmers, and the city of Two Harbors. The railroad also provides a multitude of special excursions throughout the year, as well as opportunities for charter trips.
The current depot was built on the site of the previous wood framed depot building (constructed in 1870) and was designed by architectural firm Peabody and Stearns. (The original depot building remained on site until it was disassembled after its replacement was complete.) Many local materials were use in the French Norman-style building, including granite, sandstone, and yellow brick. After two years of construction, the depot was completed in 1892 at a cost of $615,000. A large Train Shed originally covered the building's platforms, but it was removed in 1924 and replaced by the canopies that remain. Over the next seventy-seven years it served seven different railroads (Duluth & Iron Range, Duluth, Missabe, & Iron Range, Duluth, South Shore & Atlantic, Duluth Missabe & Northern, Great Northern, Northern Pacific, Saint Paul & Duluth) before it closed in 1969.
Although the depot was scheduled for demolition following its closure, it was eventually saved and in 1971 the Duluth Union Depot was added to the National Register of Historic Places. Although the depot was purchased from the railroad owner for the bargain price of a quarter of a million dollars and the edifice was in excellent condition, the cost of the necessary renovations to prepare The Depot to its current condition cost another $4.7 million.
While The Depot continued to house its other tenants, Amtrak provided rail service to the station for nearly a decade (1977-1985). In 1975 Amtrak initiated the Arrowhead to provide service from the Great Northern Depot in Minneapolis to Superior, Wisconsin (which is south of Duluth, just across the Saint Louis Bay of Lake Superior). By 1977 service by the Arrowhead was finally extended the 4 miles (6 km) north to this station (previously thuway connection bus service had been provided between the stations). In 1978 the North Star replaced the Arrowhead and extended the rail service south from Minneapolis–Saint Paul to Chicago, Illinois. The next stop for both Amtrak trains was in Superior, Wisconsin. In 1981 service by the North Star was truncated back to the Midway Station in Saint Paul. However, in 1985 Amtrak ended all passenger rail service to Duluth when the North Star was entirely discontinued.
Renovations to the depot are in planning to serve the Northern Lights Express Higher-speed rail service from Minneapolis to Duluth. This 155-mile (249 km) project will roughly follow the route of Amtrak's former North Star and is expected to include stops in Coon Rapids, Isanti, Cambridge, and Hinckley in Minnesota and in Superior, Wisconsin.