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Site Links

Contact

Aaryn Arndt

E-mail Us!

Write to:
327 W. 2nd st.
PO Box 56,
Clinton, MN 56225

History


Click here to read Depot Memories

The Fargo and Southern railroad company built a loading platform in 1883 two miles south of Clinton. It was called Rupert.

Two years later they moved their station to Clinton and it was called Batavia as late as 1899. The Fargo and Company line built from Ortonville to the South Dakota line near Wheaton, going through Clinton in 1884 and sold to the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul company in 1885.

The first through train on the line ran July 2, 1884.

From 1885 through the late 1920s four trains stopped at the Clinton depot each day including morning freight and passenger trains northbound for Fargo, an afternoon southbound train, and an evening southbound passenger train.

Posted at the depot was a sign which read, “Western Union Telegraph Office”. Railroads not only carried the mail and newspapers, they also meant another means of communication. Depot agents were necessarily telegraphers. In addition to handling railroad communications, they also relayed messages to the general public.

Telegraphy was the fastest means of news, business, and personal transmission at that time. Telegrams were use extensively until the late 1940s. J.P. Pratt became the depot agent in 1981. He had driven a streetcar in St. Paul and then learned telegraphy before he came to Clinton. While Mr. Pratt was depot agent, Frank Petrick became interested in the work and learned the Morse code and operation of the telegraph from him. Mr. Petrick started working as depot agent in 1901 and continued, except during the year 1908, until he retired in 1945.

Business, especially freight, increased to such an extent that Frank's wife, Alice Condit Petrick, was hired as depot assistant from 1909 to 1934. In 1900 a sleeping car was added to the passenger train. The 1904 Platt book shows the railroad depot to be located north of Main Street, and directly west of the crown elevator.

There was daily service until May 1930, when Sunday passenger trains were discontinued. After 1932, a freight train with one passenger coach provided mixed service until the 1950s.

The Campbell Post American Legion purchased one of the discarded railroad coaches in 1935. They installed it on the Legion lot opposite the advocate office and used it as a legion hall. A.L. Makinster succeeded Frank Petrick as depot agent in 1945 until 1969. On December 16, 1968 the Milwaukee railroad discontinued operation of passenger trains number 15 and 16, operating between Minneapolis/St. Paul and Aberdeen. The Milwaukee depot in Clinton closed December 12, 1969.

The line was discontinued March 1, 1980, and the track torn up a year later. By 1980 the Chicago, Milwaukee, and St. Paul Railroad was bankrupt and the survival of the line depended on heavy subsidization.

The interior has hardwood floors and decorative wainscoting in the waiting room, an office in the middle and a freight room at the south end. It is now a small museum for the Clinton area. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1985.

 

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