The Sandpoint Train Depot

Northern Pacific Railroad Depot in Sandpoint, Idaho

All aboard! Men and woman have gathered at the Gothic style Sandpoint train station since its opening in 1916 to greet friends or family and to travel to other destinations.

BURLINGTON NORTHERN STATION

In 1882 the Northern Pacific Railroad rumbled to a stop in Sandpoint, Idaho. The arrival opened a trade route for timber from North Idaho to the east coast and freight to the west coast. Passengers arrived and small communities sprung up along the tracks. The railroad was a driving force behind the settling of North Idaho.

The original station sufficiently handled the needs of the growing community. The wood frame combination freight house and passenger depot was built on the east side of the tracks between the railroad grade and Pend Oreille Lake. Sandpoint had sprung up along both sides of the Northern Pacific tracks. The town was built from the plentiful timber supplies of North Idaho, and it burned to the ground in 1892, again in 1894 and yet again in 1900. In each fire, many of the businesses were destroyed. By 1914 the majority of the town moved to the west side of Sand Creek leaving only the depot, a few businesses and the “Restricted District” or Red Light area on the east side of the creek. The depot was moved to the west side of the railroad tracks at the base of Cedar Street Bridge.

In 1915 a prosperous and growing Sandpoint decided a fancier depot was needed, so as to impress arriving travelers. Rounds Construction Company of Seattle disnged the current o ne-story brick building, the only gothic-style railroad depot in Idaho. The brick gables at the ends of the roof are accented by arched, pointed windows and topped with stone spheres. The dormers and bay window are off center, adding to the character of the building. The depot contained a waiting room, ladies restroom, a smoking compartment for men and several offices. The outside was lighted by cluster lights and 8 posts with large candle power along the brick platform.

The construction company used 70,000 “common” bricks from the Anderson Brick Company west of Sandpoint and 1,200 bags of Lakeview cement, 16,000 “facing’ bricks and the deep red roofing tile from Spokane. The interior featured white enameled brick, heavy oak timber and terrazzo flooring. The wood plank platforms were replaced by Lakeview cement.

According to the Pend Oreille Review November 10, 1916, the new depot opened for business without furniture that had not arrived.

The depot has served the community for a century and is the last standing structure of the original town of Sandpoint. With the Sand Creek Bypass, Amtrak felt the depot would be compromised and considered abandoning this depot and building a new one outside of town. Instead, Amtrak and Idaho Transportation Department reached an agreement to refurbish the depot and keep it open. The depot was restored in 2014 and reopened on May 29, 2015. The Amtrak’s Empire Builder passenger train stops daily at the Sandpoint depot at 11:49pm, departing at 2:37 am. The building is not open to the public; however, a covered platform is provided for passengers.

Images

Northern Pacific Train Depot in downtown Sandpoint.

Northern Pacific Train Depot in downtown Sandpoint.

The original train depot for Sandpoint was on the east side of the tracks. Sandpoint sprung up on both sides of those tracks. This picture in 1890 shows the depot at the far left and some of the wood frame businesses on the right. Courtesy of the Bonner County Historical Museum. View File Details Page

Early Sandpoint the Northern Pacific tracks cut through the center of town. The original depot is in the distant center on the east side of the tracks. The wood-framed businesses lined both sides of the track.  Several fires destroyed many of the businesses in 1900. Courtesy of the Bonner County Historical Museum.

Early Sandpoint the Northern Pacific tracks cut through the center of town. The original depot is in the distant center on the east side of the tracks. The wood-framed businesses lined both sides of the track. Several fires destroyed many of the businesses in 1900. Courtesy of the Bonner County Historical Museum.

View File Details Page

The Burlington Northern/Northern Pacific Railroad depot in Sandpoint, Idaho circa 1916.

The Burlington Northern/Northern Pacific Railroad depot in Sandpoint, Idaho circa 1916.

The new Burlington Northern/Northern Pacific train depot at Sandpoint Idaho circa 1916. The station was moved to the west side of the tracks. This building was larger and more modern than the old depot. Courtesy of the Bonner County Historical Museum. View File Details Page

Sandpoint Train Depot after renovation in 2014.

Sandpoint Train Depot after renovation in 2014.

The front of the Sandpoint train depot located between the tracks and Sand Creek. The depot is unattended and not open to the public. There is a covered passenger waiting platform for use when the only train that stops arrives at 2:00 am. The depot was renovated 2014 – 2015 with little change to the original structure. Courtsey of Mary Garrison View File Details Page

Looking north from the covered passenger waiting platform of the Sandpoint Train Depot.

Looking north from the covered passenger waiting platform of the Sandpoint Train Depot.

Looking north from the passenger waiting platform of the Burlington Northern Trail Depot in Sandpoint, Idaho. The station was reopened for business May 2015. However, the building is not open to the public. Courtsey of Mary Garrison 2015. View File Details Page

The Cedar Street Bridge leading to the Sandpoint Train Depot.

The Cedar Street Bridge leading to the Sandpoint Train Depot.

Historic Sandpoint Train Station and Cedar Street Bridge. The bridge was built to connect the new business areas of Sandpoint on the west side of Sand Creek to the train depot and old businesses of Sandpoint on the east side of Sand Creek. This bridge eventually became the Cedar Street Bridge Mall. Courtesy of Bonner County Historical Museum. View File Details Page

Street Address:

450 Railroad Ave., Sandpoint, Idaho 83864 [map]

Official Website:

http://www.sandpointtrainstation.com/

Cite this Page:

Mary Garrison, “The Sandpoint Train Depot,” Spokane Historical, accessed May 30, 2017, http://spokanehistorical.org/items/show/571.
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