Minnehaha Depot
Minnehaha Park Hwy 55 & Minnehaha Parkway
Minneapolis, MN 55417

Hours

Closed until May 27, 2018.
 
Memorial Day Weekend-Labor Day:
Sun 1-5 pm
 
Open Memorial Day, July 4, and Labor Day, 1-5 pm
 
Call 651-228-0263 for group tours.

Admission

Free

Contact

651-228-0263

2017 Dec 5

Weather Forecast
 

History

Minnehaha Depot was built in 1875 to replace a smaller station on the first railroad line on the west bank of the Mississippi River, connecting Minneapolis with Chicago. In the Depot’s early years, Minneapolis residents flocked to Minnehaha Park by train to enjoy summer weekends. The station supported passenger service until 1920 and continued to operate as a freight station until 1963. Minnehaha Depot is located along modern day Highway 55 in South Minneapolis’ Minnehaha Park.

About the railroad

The Minnehaha station, along with those at South Minneapolis Junction and Fort Snelling, was one of three stops on the first railroad line built out of Minneapolis. Completed to Mendota in 1865, the tracks were extended the following year to St. Paul effectively creating the first Minneapolis to Chicago route. 

The line was built by the Minnesota Central Railway Company, a forerunner of the Milwaukee Road. The depot was on the heavily traveled line that first connected Minneapolis with Chicago and the East in 1866 and served as a main line of the Milwaukee Road until a direct route between Minneapolis and St. Paul was constructed in 1880.

Originally built in a country-like setting, the city of Minneapolis grew up around the Minnehaha Depot. The station was situated to provide passenger facilities to the park for weekenders who wanted to picnic, swim, fish and visit the Longfellow Zoo. Its size belies the volume of traffic it handled in the early 20th century.
 
Soldiers from four wars, the Spanish-American, WWI, WWII and Korean War, were inducted into the Army at Fort Snelling and left for service over these tracks, either from the Minnehaha Depot or from staging areas on Pike Island.
 

The depot was closed in 1963 and presented by the Milwaukee Road to the Minnesota Historical Society. The Minnesota Transportation Museum restored the building to its 1890s appearance and maintains and interprets it as a historic site.

About the depot

The Minnehaha Depot was designed by company engineers in a style called Carpenter-Gothic. It features elaborate gingerbread ornamentation made possible by the recently invented jigsaw and precut or dimension lumber. The delicate decoration includes cockscomb detailing along the roofline, ornamental eave triangles, fans and spires. The look of the depot led railroad men at the time to call it the "Princess."

The building itself is only 22 feet by 20 feet, while the platform measures 75 feet from end to end. The exterior is painted in the Milwaukee Road colors of orange siding with boxcar red trim and wainscoting.
 
Inside visitors can see telegraph equipment; a telegraph typewriter and the hand-crank telephone which was used to communicate with the tower at 24th Street; the train order hoops, used to pass train orders to trains while in motion; wooden benches for the waiting passengers; the coal-fired stove used to heat the depot; and other displays of early railroad and streetcar travel in the area.