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Depot history 1909 - 1919 , 1920 - 1975, 1976 - 2001, 2001 - Present, Miscellaneous Photos

Depot History

by Mike Reilly,  4/28/03, updated 12/28/2005

       The Depot history continues from 1976 to 2001.

C & NW Railway Station
(Taken from the Lake Mills Leader of April 8, 1976)
    Area dailies have recently publicized the closing of Chicago and Northwestern Railway depots in the state. Among the 24 stations which may be eliminated is the depot in Lake Mills. Other nearby stations in this group include those at Watertown and Juneau. The Public Service Commission of Wisconsin has given its approval to plans by the C&NW to close down certain stations. Chicago and Northwestern Railway contends that the depots suggested for closing receive too little freight business to cover maintenance, and have indicated that closing them could save over $293,000. yearly. Word of the PSC approval of a close-down for 24 stations has come to railroad personnel as no great surprise. In January of 1975, a public hearing was held in Madison before the Public Service Commission. At that time, customers and shippers were given an opportunity to voice their opinions either for or against the C&NW request. Many customers at that time felt that the railroad would be downgrading service and discouraging business. Some also contended that the C&NW railroad would not be able to furnish a level of service to which customers have been accustomed without additional cost to the shipper. Naturally, each of the communities involved does not wish to lose its local agent.

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1977/ March - "The Vanishing American Scene" - The following is an excerpt from this article: Chicago & North Western Sussex depot abandoned May, 1976, now for sale. Building is approx. 25 x 75 feet in area, constructed of wood with a central heated office which housed the ticket window and the depot agent. The east wing was formerly a waiting room for passengers. The west wing was the express shipment warehouse. A unique feature of the red painted depot is its red stone slate roof. 

    It is presently used by the local section foreman, Larry Drahos, as a tool and supply warehouse. All fixtures and furniture have been or will be removed from the premises before its final disposal.

    The "For Sale" sign has a card attached to it reading, "Call or write A. J. Tiesling, supervisor bridge and building, Chicago & North Western Transportation Co., 608-249-7066, 1890 E. Johnson St., Madison, WI. 53701." The depot was abandoned because of the centralization of the dispatching and repair functions that were formerly operated out of this depot. Drahos, a Sussex resident, will remain in the local area for the present, operating out of a rail car on a side track. He will use a rail mounted truck to get from place to place on the N.W.R.R. system. Sometime in the future, he will have to move or commute to Clyman, Wis., where the N.W.R.R proposes to centralize the section foramen's' location. Source: Sussex Sun, Tuesday, March 22, 1977, page 13, Picture.

1977/ Apr. 26 - Six mile long grass fire on Northwestern railroad right-of-way fought by local fire department. Another fire reported in May 10, 1977 issue of Sussex Sun.

1977/ May - Country Store owners negotiate to buy and move Northwestern depot to rear of their Main St. address.

1978/ Mar. 28 - Two strings of about 40 cars and gondolas are stretched out for approx. 1/2 mile , just south of the main Northwestern railroad track between Maple Ave. and Hwy J (today's Hwy 164). They've been standing for several years; several minor box cars fires occurred, and they've been deemed a "public nuisance" by the village of Sussex. Source: Sussex Sun page 2.

The Sussex depot was purchased by James and Lucille Henry and moved to its' present Main St. address on May 8, 1978. It was remodeled and opened for retail rental in 1979. (Author's note: Betty Mindemann remembers the inside of the Depot as being "unfinished" or "rustic". The paint now on the inside walls was first added by the Henry's after moving it to its' present location.)

"Old Sussex train depot opens soon" - In tearing apart the interior walls, Henry found bushels of coal, an old blue Western Union telegraph sign, porcelain on both sides, and inter-depot messages, one of which warned of hoboes riding the rails. Source: Sussex Sun, December 26, 1978, pages 3-4.

"Peppermint Junction - baggage room opens" - A two year old dream and a lot of work will be completed this weekend. The old N.W.R.R depot becomes the "Peppermint Junction Ice Cream Parlor and Baggage Room". A few finishing touches are necessary and final inspections are necessary. James and Lucille Henry, owners of the Country Store, moved the historic depot to a new site. 

    A special grand opening is scheduled for May 31 with the actual opened scheduled for Saturday, June 7. The Peppermint Junction Ice Cream Parlor will feature ice cream specialties, tea, coffee and light lunches; while the Baggage Room will sell greeting cards, books and paper items. Source: Sussex Sun, May 29, 1979, page 4.

1979/June 30 - Depot retail shops grand opening: Peppermint Junction Ice Cream Parlour, owned by the Mathev family, and Marie Deviller's , Baggage Room  and Cards & Paper Goods stores. Source: Sussex Sun, June 17, 2003.

    The Chicago and North Western Railway Company merged with the Union Pacific Railroad Company in April 1995.

Depot history 1909 - 1919 , 1920 - 1975, 1976 - 2001, 2001 - Present, Miscellaneous Photos

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Copyright Sussex-Lisbon Area Historical Society, Inc., , 2002 - 2016, Except as noted: All documents placed on the website remain the property of the contributors, who retain publication rights in accordance with US Copyright Laws and Regulations. In keeping with our policy of providing free information on the Internet, these documents may be used by anyone for their personal research. They may be used by non-commercial entities, when written permission is obtained from the contributor, so long as all notices and submitter information are included. These electronic pages may NOT be reproduced in any format for profit. Any other use, including copying files to other sites, requires permission from the contributors PRIOR to uploading to the other sites. The submitter has given permission to the website to store the file(s) for free access. Such permission may be revoked upon written notice to the website webmaster. Website's design, hosting, and maintenance are donated by Website Editor & Webmaster: Michael R. Reilly (Mike)