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Northern Pacific (NP) Railway Depot

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NP
1898, Cass Gilbert; 1983 renovation, Foss Associates. 701 Main Ave.

In its Romanesque expression, the depot owes much to the influence of H. H. Richardson’s work. Completed during the period when Gilbert was establishing a career that earned him international recognition, this massive depot is compact in form and has a heavily bracketed roof that extends to overhang the platform. The original red clay tile roof has been restored, and the exterior walls of dark brown brick are accentuated with deeply articulated and ornamented window openings. The central, two-story portion of the building originally housed ticket sales, men’s and women’s lounges, and office space. To the east, open steel and timber trusses with a wood deck enclosed a waiting room. The waiting room is the most dramatic space, with hardwood floors, a Georgia pine ceiling, and a large brick fireplace. The west end of the building is a single-story baggage room that is spanned by large timber trusses. After sitting abandoned for nearly three decades, in 1983 this landmark building was adapted for use as a senior recreation center and Park District offices. The gazebo (1983, Richard Moorhead) and surrounding Depot Plaza resurrect an important public open space.

Writing Credits

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

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