The Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific Depot Freight House and Train Shed (commonly referred to as the Milwaukee Road Depot), now officially named The Depot, is a historic railroad depot in downtown Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States. At its peak, the station served 29 trains per day. Following decline, the station was closed and eventually adapted into various other uses.

Former intercity passenger rail station
Milwaukee Road Depot.jpg
The Milwaukee Road Depot from the west, with train shed at rear
Location201 Third Avenue South, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55401
Preceding station Chicago Great Western Railway Following station
St. Paul Main Line Terminus
Preceding station Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railroad Following station
Terminus Minneapolis – Houston St. Paul
toward Dallas or Houston
Burlington, Cedar Rapids and Northern Railway St. Paul
toward Burlington
Preceding station Milwaukee Road Following station
St. Louis Park
towards Seattle or Tacoma
Main Line St. Paul
towards Chicago
Terminus Minneapolis – Calmar St. Paul
towards Calmar
Preceding station Soo Line Following station
toward Portal
Main Line Cardigan
toward Chicago
Terminus MinneapolisSault Ste. Marie St. Paul
Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific Depot, Freight House and Train Shed
C. M. & St. P. Depot, Minneapolis, Minn.jpeg
Postcard showing the station's pinnacle.
Location201 3rd Ave., S.
Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA
Coordinates44°58′47″N 93°15′44″W / 44.97972°N 93.26222°W / 44.97972; -93.26222Coordinates: 44°58′47″N 93°15′44″W / 44.97972°N 93.26222°W / 44.97972; -93.26222
ArchitectCharles S. Frost
Architectural styleRenaissance Revival, Italianate
NRHP reference No.78001542 [1]
Added to NRHPNovember 28, 1978


The Milwaukee Road had a long history in the Minneapolis area, beginning in 1865 when a predecessor railroad, the Minnesota Central, built a line from Mendota to Minneapolis. The Minnesota Central also built a line from Mendota to St. Paul in that early era. Eventually, rail lines connected Minneapolis and St. Paul with Milwaukee, Wisconsin via Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin.[2]


Italianate passenger station

The freight house and the first depot were built in 1879, with an Italianate architectural style.[3] The first depot was razed after a new facility, with Renaissance Revival architecture, was built in 1899.[2][4]

Originally, the facility's most distinguishing feature, the clock tower, was pinnacled and modeled after the Giralda in Seville, Spain; high winds destroyed the pinnacle in 1941 and the tower has since had a flat top.[5]


Several cars of the Olympian Hiawatha at the station on January 27, 1968

The freight house served a large percentage of less-than-carload freight arriving and departing from the Minneapolis area. Passenger traffic was also significant. In 1916, 15 passenger trains per day used the depot. Later years included the flagship Hiawathas. Rail yard facilities just south of downtown, on Hiawatha Avenue north of Lake Street, serviced the trains.[2] By 1920, the peak of activity, 29 trains per day used the depot.[4] Into the 1960s, the Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railroad (or Rock Island) operated the Twin Star Rocket bound for Houston, via Des Moines and Dallas from the station.

Closure and reuseEdit

The Depot's clock tower

As passenger rail traffic decreased across the nation and freight facilities were consolidated elsewhere, the Minneapolis depot steadily lost traffic. The depot was closed in 1971 and stood vacant for many years as various redevelopment and reuse plans fizzled.[5] In 1978, the depot and freight house were placed on the National Register of Historic Places. In 1980, rail access to the depot was severed when the Milwaukee Road abandoned most of its downtown Minneapolis trackage.[6] In 1998, CSM Corporation began a project to reuse the depot, including a Renaissance Hotel and Residence Inn by Marriott, an indoor water park, and an enclosed outdoor ice skating rink located in the former trainshed. The project was completed in 2001.[4] The water park was converted to additional guest rooms in 2015 during an expansion of the Renaissance Hotel.[7]

Other train depots in the Twin CitiesEdit


  1. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. March 15, 2006.
  2. ^ a b c Hofsommer, Don L. (2005). Minneapolis and the Age of Railways. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press. ISBN 0-8166-4501-9.
  3. ^ Nord, Mary Ann (2003). The National Register of Historic Places in Minnesota. Minnesota Historical Society. ISBN 0-87351-448-3.
  4. ^ a b c "History of the Depot". Retrieved 2007-01-13.
  5. ^ a b Millett, Larry (2007). AIA Guide to the Twin Cities: The Essential Source on the Architecture of Minneapolis and St. Paul. Minnesota Historical Society Press. p. 66. ISBN 978-0-87351-540-5.
  6. ^ Luecke, John (2010). More Milwaukee Road In Minnesota. Genadier Publications. p. 38.
  7. ^ "CSM plans to remove Depot hotel's water park for more rooms - Minneapolis / St. Paul Business Journal". Archived from the original on 2015-01-25.

External linksEdit