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Fort Pierre Railroad DepotFort Pierre Depot Museum

Near intersection of Highway 83 and 4th Ave., Fort Pierre

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With the planned 1907 construction of a railroad bridge across the Missouri River from Pierre to Fort Pierre, the Chicago and NorthWestern railroad track was quickly laid from Fort Pierre to Rapid City. Along the route, depots were built to handle the passengers and freight along with providing supplies for the early steam engine powered trains. The Fort Pierre depot was completed in 1906 and served the community for over 50 years. Eventually trucks, cars, and airplanes largely replaced trains for personal travel and freight movement. By 1964, the railroad abandoned many depots, including the Fort Pierre depot, and the buildings were sold as surplus.

Mr. Shirley Miller, a rancher from Mud Butte, South Dakota, bought the surplus Fort Pierre depot. He cut the high portion of the roof off to get under power lines and hauled the depot to his ranch, a distance of about 170 miles. Over the next 50 years, the building was used as a storage shed, a sheep shearing facility and a wool storage area. Because of Mr. Miller’s careful cribbing and maintenance of the depot, it remains a solid and serviceable building.

Fort Pierre Railroad DepotSeveral years ago, Brian Scott was doing some insurance adjustment in the Mud Butte area and confirmed that the building on Shirley Miller’s ranch was indeed the old Fort Pierre depot. After some discussion, Mr. Miller agreed to donate the building to the Verendrye Museum in Fort Pierre for use as a museum artifact.

Subsequently, the Verendrye Museum established a "Bring It Home" Committee to oversee the return of the depot, its placement on a permanent foundation, and its restoration as a community historic structure. A significant grant has been received from the South Dakota Department of Transportation for the return and restoration.

The Depot Museum is open Memorial Day to Labor day.


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