Minburn Hopes Old Depot Brings New Appeal

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MINBURN, Iowa - The old train depot was part of what initially put the small town of Minburn on the map. It's new role is to help keep it there.

When the station was built 100 years ago, the train was Minburn’s lifeline.

“This was the “M & St. L” line, here," said longtime resident, Charlie Thompson, "and that meant Minneapolis to St. Louis.”

Since the tracks were abandoned in 2004, it’s looked lonely squashed between towering grain bins. It was suggested that the depot be sold.

“A person in Waukee was interested in buying the depot and moving it to Waukee for their part of the bike trail,” said Minburn resident, Megan Cline.

Aha! Suddenly, the bloom was back on the rose.

“No one wanted to sell it,” laughed mayor, Mike Pace.

“It’s Minburn’s depot!” Cline agreed.

It was a good idea, though, and Minburn is on the bike trail, too. So the decision was made to keep it--pick it up and move it to a vacant space along the trail.

Sounds hard!

“It does to me," Thompson laughed, "you’d think the bricks would fall out, wouldn’t you?”

It also sounds expensive - and it is; $1.3 million in all. But state and federal historic tax credits will cover a large part. And the depot will house a new café and restrooms for cyclists, so the hope is it will pay for itself in the long run.

“It’d be nice to have a place for the bike riders to sit, enjoy some time, take in the ambience of our depot and spend some money!” said Pace.

The train may be gone, but there is a new lifeline running through Minburn, and this summer an old favorite reprises its original role alongside it.


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