The Dickinson Museum Center is starting the process of restoring a historic structure that is more than 100 years old, and they feel it is important to do it now rather than later.
The old South Heart Train Depot came to Prairie Outpost Park in Dickinson in the early 80’s to be historically preserved, but it looks like it may have been lost in the shuffle with the other structures in the park .
The park currently has 20 structures, and five of them are historical originals like the depot; the others are recreations.
“I don’t want to say it wasn’t restored before, but the care of the exterior sidings may have slipped through the cracks a little bit,” said Bob Fuhrman, Director of the Dickinson Museum Center.
Fuhrman said it is important to address the structure now, because the longer they wait the more costly and harder it will be to restore.
“You can see there has been significant paint failure on here, but even more concern is there are several areas that have developed some serious rot. We feel the best approach is a removal of the siding”.
The Dickinson Museum Center would also like to restore the rooms inside the depot to look the way they looked back in 1905.
Right now the interior of the building is being used as a showcase for historical artifacts.
“To get a feel that this wasn’t just a job for them (station agent and family), this is where they lived, ate, slept,” said Fuhrman.
The Dickinson Museum Center gets more than 10,000 visitors annually to visit the historic structures in Prairie Outpost Park, and some would like to see the old train depot get the care it deserves.
“These people made our country through hard work, and their dedication to forming a good life. They are the backbone of the country and these older buildings represent that,” said Bernie Clipper, a tourist from Florida.
Fuhrman said the restoration project will cost about $20,000, and no timetable has been set yet.
He currently has a grant application in with BNSF Railway, and a budget request with the City of Dickinson for 2019 for additional monies.