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Northern Pacific (NP) Railway Depot

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1900–1901, Reed and Stem. 411 E. Main Ave.
  • (Photograph by Steve C. Martens)
  • Postcard view (Photograph by R. H. L. M. Ramsay)

The Spanish Mission design of the Northern Pacific Railway Depot would seem familiar in the Southwest and California, but it is rare on the northern Great Plains. Designed by the St. Paul-based firm of Charles A. Reed and Allen H. Stem, this depot enhanced the popular image of passenger travel on the railroad. The depot is organized as a two-story central block flanked by one-story wings. Terra-cotta plaques on each face of a thirteen-foot-high square tower bear the Northern Pacific logo, the Chinese-inspired “Great Monad” emblem. The depot is entered from a one-story portico carried on six concrete Tuscan columns. Southwestern features include a red tile roof that terminates in curved gabled parapets, battered walls, and inclined base moldings on exterior and interior walls. Spanish or adobe construction is simulated in the monolithic exterior walls, which are faced with coarse chips of marble embedded in a stucco finish. Tiny porcelain “baby” figurines set in the marble chips have fueled much speculation about their meaning.

Writing Credits

Steve C. Martens and Ronald H. L. M. Ramsay


What's Nearby


Steve C. Martens and Ronald H. L. M. Ramsay, "Northern Pacific (NP) Railway Depot", [Bismarck, North Dakota], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Cover: Buildings of North Dakota

Buildings of North Dakota, Steve C. Martens and Ronald H. L. M. Ramsay. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2015, 194-195.

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