One of the most surprising–for me, even shocking–patterns in the 21st century Hi-Line landscape is how many railroad depots have disappeared from the small towns. Certainly major towns that provide access to the Amtrak passenger service (Havre, Malta, Glasgow, Shelby) still retain their historic buildings. But most others are gone. Certainly the corridor itself remains and the grain elevators still dominate the scene, reminding everyone of the power of agribusiness today, but the stations that told you here is a Great Northern town are not there. The photo is from Rudyard in Hill County where residents took the station, moved it blocks away to the edge of the village, and use it now as a centerpiece for a community museum. In Kevin, Toole County, the depot was moved off the tracks (only slightly, it is still within view of the corridor) and made a Senior center. These places are now rare reminders of the Great Northern’s imprint on the landscape through the means of their standardized design, painted white, passenger stations.
What in the world is going on with the yard? I do not expect to see a golf course-style grass lawn anywhere on the Plains. That’s a lot of water to invest in something that is so unnatural for that environment…and makes the out of context depot look even more odd. Recreated heritage villages tend to portray a mythical version of a community’s past, but the lawn really puts this over the top. When and where are they interpreting this place to be?
And now I really want to see the rest of the museum grounds!
Just throwing this out there: http://www.nps.gov/tps/standards/applying-rehabilitation/its-bulletins/ITS41-Environment-Changes.pdf