The Restoration of the Historic Depot
When the Marysville Union Pacific Depot Preservation Society bought the Historic Depot it had been insured as an abandon warehouse. Like so many historic pieces of architecture most had no idea of the history behind this Gilbert Stanley Underwood creation. Underwood is famous for bringing "rustic elegance" to the west. Contracted in the 1920's to design hospitality lodges for the Union Pacific Railroad at national parks like the Grand Canyon, Bryce and Zion Canyon, Yellowstone and Yosemite the lodges became the vacation travelers "dream locations" served and owned by the Union Pacific. During this time the UP also contracted Underwood to design several depots. Three of these outstanding creations are in Kansas... Abilene, Topeka, and Marysville. With over 350,000 head of cattle coming into Abilene every year, it was obvious why this Kansas town received an Underwood Depot. It was the largest cattle town west of Kansas City. Obviously Topeka has an Underwood Depot because it was the Capital of the state. But why Marysville? In 1908 the Topeka Cutoff was built through Marysville. If was the only North and South tracks to connect the Union Pacific's major east and west lines until you got to Denver. 100 years later, Marysville is still a major railroad hub with 8 tracks surrounding the town. At one time it had 12 passenger trains a day that stopped at the Historic Depot... which is why we were lucky enough to have this historic Gilbert Stanley Underwood creation.
With plywood over the windows, no wiring or plumbing, dropped ceilings covering the beautiful 25 ft. ceilings, office partitions cluttering the grand lobby and carpet glued to the slate floors, the Historic Depot was a challenge. The stucco on the exterior had to be replaced because of asbestos and all of the windows had to be refurbished or totally rebuilt. This work was all done with donations.
Protect the Past... Insure the Future
What's Next for the Historic Depot
2021 was a banner year for the Historic Depot in terms of progress and community involvement. With the completion of the Grand Lobby, the Archives Room, the Freight Room Museum and the Restrooms, we were able to host more private and community events and open our doors to those who wish to learn more about how the railroad impacted not only Marysville but the State of Kansas.
We have a busy work calendar for 2022 with the following projects slated to be completed
- Engineering study for the HVAC System
- Insulate the depot attic
- Plaster, paint and build the South Wall of the Trainmen Room
- Remove the asphalt from the North Lawn and plant grass and landscape
- Install a temporary warming kitchen and sink facility
- Complete the Jake Perez Reading Room
In addition to the above "to do" list for 2022, we will continue to offer special events sponsored by the Historic Depot and also offer the Historic Depot as a venue for Community Events... such as the Gravel Dash Spaghetti Dinner, Squirrels Want to Have Fun Registration Location, Black Squirrel Night Pumpkin Judging, and the Fall Farmers Market.
Want to Volunteer?
Please contact Fran Grauer at (785) 562-8459