Clean-Up Day at the Historic Northfield Depot


Over a dozen enthusiastic volunteers for Save the Northfield Depot, ranging from teens to octogenarians, gathered at the Northfield Depot on Saturday morning (8/20) with their hand saws, trimmers, and trucks to remove the trees and brush from the area next to the historic train depot.  The larger trees and brush were cut down with chain saws on Friday night.  In a few hours on Saturday, the group was able to complete the remaining tasks of removing smaller brush, trimming the branches, and hauling to the compost site.  The group will keep the area clean of new growth in preparation for the move of the building.

Rob Martin, co-chair of Save the Northfield Depot, reported that the group was concerned about the growth that obscured the building, affecting its security, and about the on-going deterioration from the vegetation growing next to and on the building and roof.  After expressing concern to the current owners of the depot, Canadian Pacific, permission was given by the railroad to remove the vegetation.  Rob indicated that Canadian Pacific has been very cooperative, and is pleased that there are plans to save the depot.

A draft agreement between Save the Northfield Depot and the City of Northfield for the transfer of city property on the Q-block will soon be sent to City Council for approval.  Based on the draft, a building permit to move the building will not be issued until enough funding is secured to complete the move and basic restoration of the building, about $300,000.  Fund raising will begin as soon as the site is secured.  Rob reports that public enthusiasm and support of the depot plans grows as more of the public becomes aware of the project.  Recently, several Northfield residents have sent the organization information and pictures of restored depots in other cities they have visited this summer with notes of encouragement that Northfield, too, can successfully save and reuse its depot.   

Depot (Before and After)

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Text and photographs by Alice Thomas