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.