Other Ellsworth area depots constructed similar to our Depot


      The Callanan/Ellsworth Depot was built about 1877 or 1878, when the narrow gauge railroad was constructed north from Ames to Callanan.   When Callanan folded, the track  no longer crossed the river, but was turned a bit west and went into Jewell Junction.   There the east-west track came from Stratford and Stanhope and headed east through Jewell, Ellsworth, and on through Radcliffe and Hubbard.

There were other depots from a similar time period (the mid to late 1800s), and they are shown on this page.

the first Depot in Ames

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(courtesy of Ames Historical Society)    Click to enlarge this image.

    The first Ames Depot was completed in 1865 when the Cedar Rapids and Missouri River Railroad came through Ames on its way across the state of Iowa.   This was the first building in Ames, and was constructed the same year as the first home in Ames.   The depot also held the first Ames business, a grocery store run by H.F. Kingsbury, the gentleman who was the station agent, express agent and postmaster.  This depot was located just north of where today's Dutch Oven Bakery.   This structure was replaced by the 1901 brick depot seen today a few blocks west of the first Ames depot.  Although many trains still travel through Ames, they no longer stop at the Ames depot because there are no passengers.

Heading north to the Gilbert Depot

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This photo looks south.  The train will head north.

The first stop north from Ames was Gilbert Station, known today as Gilbert.   The railroad was being constructed north towards the communities of Callanan, and Jewell.   It is believed that this Gilbert depot does not survive today, however a brick structure which was constructed to look like a depot now sits on the east side of the track.

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This train is heading south towards Ames.

the two Depots of Story City

The next stop north from Gilbert is Story City.   Story City operated with two Depots because at one time, there were two railroad lines that serviced that town.   The Chicago and Northwestern line came north from Gilbert, and the Minneapolis & St. Louis line came west from Zearing and Roland.

(Thanks to the Story City Historical Society for providing two of these Story City images!)

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The two story wood depot from the Minneapolis & St. Louis line that came east-west along where 4th St is today, was constructed a bit similar to the Callanan depot that is now in Ellsworth.   Many depots built at this time were two-story to enable the stationmaster and his family to live upstairs.   It is thought that this original Story City depot does not survive today.

(Thanks to the Story City Historical Society for providing this image of the 
Story City Chicago & Northwestern Depot scanned from their 1931 Jubilee Book.)

      The following article from the November 7th issue of the South Hamilton Record News tells the story of Story City's Chicago & Northwestern  depot:

     The Dave Fishers, since last May, fought all the rains and mud to finally several yards further south start building their new home.   They have been forming and pouring cement for a basement, to which very shortly they will move the old "Story Depot" onto the newly formed building site.   The mover who plans to move the depot located in Story City estimates it will probably take two weeks to get the building off the foundation and ready to be moved.   He says there will be no problem as far as moving the building north of Story City on the black top and through the bridge near the Riverside Bible Camp.   Everyone is anxiously waiting the due date for the big event to take place.
     The Fishers plan to live in the basement of their new home until they reconstruct and re-model the depot into their new home.   Dale is employed by the Iowa State Highway Commission.   Judy is a busy housewife and does part time work at Doyle's Design in Story City.   David attends school at South Hamilton.   A big event and a landmark that will live on.          (South Hamilton Record - November 7, 1974)

     The Story City Depot has officially been moved and mounted on its new foundation at the Dale Fisher residence in Randall.   It was quite a venture and with no real problems.   "Patrons of Christy Town" watched and wondered how they'd ever get the job accommplished.   The Fishers have their work cut out for them, but will be a conversation piece for many years.   (South Hamilton Record - Janurary 16, 1975)

Heading North to the Randall Depot

This image of the Randall Depot faces South towards the county line and Story City.

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This was the depot in Randall, Iowa.
The Randall depot looked just like the Callanan/Ellsworth depot.

The next stop north from Ames and Story City is in the community of Randall.   This two story depot was built in Randall in the late 1870s at a cost of $1,790.   The last depot agent in Randall was Ed Carlberg, who had that position until 1959, when the building was sold.   This depot building does not survive today.

The following is a news article from the March 22, 1945 edition of the Ellsworth News:

The North-Western depot in Randall is being almost completely remodeled.   A construction crew has been at work this week and has removed the second story and the south end of the main room.   It is planned to have a one-story building, with a new outside entrance being made into the waiting room.

The following is a news article from the April 11, 1945 edition of the Ellsworth News:

     Reconstruction of the Chicago & Northwestern station in Randall has been completed, a large part of the old station having been torn down, and the remaining portion completely rearranged and redecorated.   With the passing of years, and the curtailment of train service on this road, the larger depots were not needed; and with the removal of the agent's family to have a home out of the station, the living rooms on the second floor were superfluous.

The portion of the station reconverted was the former express and freight room on the north end, that portion containing waiting room and agent's office, and the upstairs rooms having been razed.

    The new station is compact and very attractive.   It has been divided into office, waiting room and freight room.   New cement floors have been laid over the old frame floors, and the walls redecorated in light color.   The exterior has been painted "depot" red and presents a very nice appearance.   The old station was built about sixty years ago, when the railroad was built, according to available information.

Below is a newspaper photo (similar to image above) published in 1967:

The Randall depot was rebuilt into a one story building and then (later) destroyed.

the Jewell Depot

The two-story original depot of Jewell Junction

After Randall, the next stop north was originally Callanan.   But, when the narrow-gauge track was converted to standard gauge, the railroad path was changed to skip Callanan.   Instead of crossing the Skunk River, the track was turned north and slightly westward, and headed to Jewell Junction.   When the railroad went north to Jewell, it intersected with the east-west railroad that went through Jewell Junction between Radcliffe and Stratford.   In Jewell, this structure was located in the north part town on the east side of Highway 69.    Due to a fire, this Jewell depot was lost.  Read more about that loss on the first Railroad page from the Jewell Historical Society Website. 

The new Jewell Junction Depot looked so different after the new rail station was constructed. 
The news article below the next image tells why Jewell's second depot no longer survives.

These men are posing in front of the depot, freshly painted "depot red" after its completion in late 1909.

The loss of the Jewell Depot was published in the January 3, 1985 edition of the South Hamilton Record News:

Jewell loses landmark as depot is torched
Photo and text by Jeff Heeren

Jewell lost a landmark last week when the Jewell Depot was burned down by the local fire department.   The depot was built in 1880 to serve the Toledo and Northwestern Railroad Company which had tracks built from the south and east, and also to the north to Webster City.   David Jewell and the railroad reached agreement to build the depot roundhouse and stockyard on Jewell's property, and that the complex would be known as Jewell Junction.

In the early years, the depot was used primarily for passenger cars, where people could purchase tickets.   But it was also used for sending mail, sending telegrams at any time of day or night, and just as a place to meet with friends.  After the last passenger train ran in 1956, an agent was placed there to control switches, arranging trains and other railroad jobs.   The depot was used until about three years ago when the agent was removed by the railroad.

The Jewell Junction Depot was the first building and first sign of life for what has become the city of Jewell.   While the structure exists no longer, memories of the once-stately building will be remembered, and its history will likely be passed on from generation to generation.

Heading North to the Kamrar Depot

The Kamrar Depot has been gone for many years.

East/West track - the Hubbard Depot

     Railroads and their depot stations were important to communities in the early days.    The trains brought settlers, friends, the mail, the food, clothing and much more to towns.   Most tracks were located very close to the the grain storage elevators because farmers' crops were brought to town, sold and often shipped out by the railroads. 

(picture courtesy of Jolene Erickson)

Similar to most original depots, the one in Hubbard, seen above in 1985,
was used less, fell into disrepair and was destroyed.

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Travelling west to the Radcliffe Depot

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The Radcliffe depot (Radcliffe was the next community east of Ellsworth.)
It is not known if this depot survives today.    If so, it serves another purpose.

the following is from the South Hamilton Record of July 15, 1 971

FOR SALE - Chicago & NW Railway 2 story 22' x 55' frame depot at Radcliffe, Iowa.   Building to be removed & site leveled.   Bids to be received until July 20, 1971 by John D. Hoveland.

the Stanhope Depot

The Stanhope depot

Going west from Jewell, the railroad came to Stanhope.  This Stanhope depot does, indeed, still survive today, having been relocated to a farmstead north of Stanhope.

The following is a news article from 1970:

     For many years, Hooks' Point, one mile north of Stratford, was the nearest post office for the people living in this neighborhood.   This was a long, tedious drive to walk to make for the mail.  In 1880, when the Northwestern Railway was completed through town, the settlers hoped that a depot would be placed here so that the mail could be delivered more directly.   They sent a petition to the Postmaster General, and were pleasantly surprised when they received the information that Mrs. Ray Parker has received an appointment as post-mistress for the village of Stanhope.   The post office was established in 1880, but until a depot was erected here in 1882, the mail was brought by carrier from Hook's Point once a week.

     The first post office was in the front room of the Ray Parker home.   This was the first home built in Stanhope, and was located just south of where the depot stands.  The last occupant was the Sam Anderson family.   In 1954, the farm was sold and the house torn down.

The following is a news article from October 28, 1976:

     The picture shows the Stanhope depot, which now belongs to the Central Iowa Cooperative Elevators, located on the highway as you enter from the south into Stanhope.  The history book of Stanhope reads, "The Chicago and Northwestern Railway was built through the community in 1880 and the first depot constructed in 1882.   Depot agents were Robert Wheatley, Eugene Wheatley, Paul Stevens, Clarence Williams and Dick Setchell.

     The Cooperative is looking for some organization or persons to undertake the task of moving the old depot to another location in Stanhope and restoring it.   Other towns have restored their old depots and created much interest in the building and the town.   When the Historical Society committee was finding old and restored buildings in the county, they asked what Stanhope had.   Our answer?  Here is our chance, someone begin and others will help.

The following is a news article from October 28, 1976:

Country Relics Village has received a $2,000 Heritage Tourism Grant Applicable to the restoration of the roof on the original Stanhope depot building.  The Stanhope Depot was the first building built in the town of Stanhope in 1882, the town was then platted around the depot.   In 1979, the depot was moved by Varlen Carlson to its present location at Country Relics Village, 1 1/2 miles from its original site to keep the building from being razed.   It is one of the original and key buildings at the Country Relics Village complex.

The waiting room and the depot agents area contains railway and Stanhope memorabilia.  The freight area which was enlarged twice over the years contains many collections including Iowa State College artifacts, and original Stanhope telephone swichboard, hybrid seed corn display, artifacts from the Anderson Drug company, a sewing exhibit, a laundry room display, a replicated Arcade doll house with authentic Arcade, cast iron furniture, toy sewing machines, toy washing machines, steel toy truck collection, and a complete collection of McCormick, Deering, International and Case/International peddle tractors.

The only known surviving Chicago & Northwestern depots constructed at this time (the late 1800s), are the Stanhope depot and the Callanan/Ellsworth depot.   One of Story City's two depots also survives as a home.

the Stratford Depot

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West of Stanhope is the town of Stratford.  The Stratford depot is not known to survive today.  If it does still exist, it has been moved and serves another purpose.

"The Stratford Depot will forever be commemorated in a Christmas ornament that the Stratford Promotion Committee has commissioned.   This ornament is the third in an on-going series of ornaments.   This 14K, gold-plated brass ornament features a three dimensional cut-out of Stratford's history.   The ornaments are sure to become a treasured heirloom for people who grew up in Stratfurd and those who remember using the railroad.   Each ornament is packaged individually in a red gift box labeled with a brief history of the depot.  The package reads: "Stratford was founded in 1881 after the Chicago and Northwestern Railroad was laid through the area.  The depot, built at the time the rail came through, was relocated in 1897 when it became clear it would be in the center of main street.   All passenger service was suspended April 15, 1950, and a new depot was built the following year, 1951."

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(You may wish to click to see a larger version of this image of the Stratford Depot.)

This artice was from an article in the South Hamilton Record in June 26, 1969.

Local Railroad Depots to close.

     Ninety-three communities in Iowa will soon be losing their Chicago and North Western Railway depots following approval issued over the weekend by the Iowa State Commerce Commission of plans by the Chicago and NorthWestern to remove the depots.   The ICC ordered the depots to be removed in 17 different groups.   Under the proposed plan, Radcliffe, Hubbard and Ellsworth would be serviced out of the Jewell central agency station.   Stanhope and Stratford would be serviced out of a central depot at Gowrie.   Webster City would be served out of a central depot at Eagle Grove, which would also serve Woolstock, Thor, Renwick and Goldfield.


Another Hamilton County Depot survives!

Another surviving community depot (from Williams) was taken to a Hamilton County farmstead
and has been altered and transformed into a great usable structure.

A wonderful use for an old, but historically significant, structure
which was no longer needed for its intended purpose.

     The former Williams train station looks so different from the others seen on this page because Williams (and Blairsburg and Webster City) were on the Iowa Falls & Sioux City Railroad east/west line across Hamilton County.


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