Sunday Stories: Sutherland Depot

The railroad built a depot in Sutherland in 1894. The depot was originally located southwest of where Maline’s Super Foods is presently located. When the new highway bridges were built south of Sutherland in 1914, it was moved to the north side of the tracks where the Sutherland Railroad Park is located, just east of Spruce Street.

The building was a 22’ x 50’ frame structure with a stone foundation. The depot had a waiting room, agent-telegraph room, and a freight room. The depot was painted white with the town name and elevation of 2959 painted on the ends. The water tower was just west of the building and the coaling station was across the tracks and slightly west of the depot.

The depot was the center of activity for anything requiring travel or transport in the early days. In 1898 and for several years, if you wanted your laundry done you could take it to the depot on the 13th and 27th of the month and it would be sent to the North Platte Steam Laundry and be returned to you. Cream and other dairy products were shipped by rail from the depot freight office. Creameries in Sutherland were the Beatrice Creamery which was located on what is now Walnut Street. Freight, mail, and passenger services were provided into the 1960’s. With the end of passenger service in the late 60’s the depot was used for freight service only.

The depot served the community until 1971 when the Agency in Sutherland was closed. The depot was closed on March 11, 1971, and was purchased for use as a Community Center and was moved to a lot on Second Street between Maple and Walnut. The Community Center never developed and in July of 1978, the depot was purchased at public auction by Rick and Sharon Parr for $650.

The building was moved to Parr’s I-80 Sports Spot at the Interstate 80 and Highway 25 exit and restoration begun. A small restaurant in the former baggage room was to be the main attraction. Antique wooden cafĂ© booths with high backs were installed. A foyer for the restaurant in the old ticket office contained remembrances of the past. Eventually the restaurant was discontinued and an antiques operation carried on in the Depot.

In the mid 1990’s, Parr’s sold the service station, and the Depot was again sold at auction and moved to a foundation on a rural road just south and west of Sutherland. Originally the idea was to create a rural restaurant in the building, but the project never developed.

We are now in the beginning of a project to move the Depot back to Sutherland.As you can see from the photos below, it is in a sadly derelict condition.

 Wish us luck!


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