This is the third installment of our report of a visit to Redfield's train depot. The depot is being restored by Redfield's Tourism Board, which is headed by Kari Schultz. Kari is giving us a tour of the grand old building.
We walked into
the Men's Waiting Room. The men had their separate space, for "smoking cigars and talking rough."
The eastern two-thirds of the building may have gone without heat for as long as forty years, Kari said. "The woodwork in here was very faded. There was no finish left on it. When we oiled the wood, it soaked everything in and darkened considerably. That's why it doesn't look like the woodwork in the Women's Waiting Room. It's the same wood."
"The floor in here is also in tougher shape from pallets and forklifts," Kari said.
The new heating plant for the depot has been installed in what used to be the men's restroom.
There used to be a solid wall between the Men's Waiting Room and the lunchroom just to the east of it. There were also solid walls dividing the lunchroom from the baggage room, and the baggage room from the express freight room. Anyone wishing to go to the lunchroom from the Women's or Men's Waiting Room had to step outside onto the platform to do that.
The ceiling lights in the lunchroom are original. You could see holes in the terrazzo floor where stools had once been bolted to the floor in the same U-shape as the lunch counter. There were dining tables along the windows to the north. The room has been repainted above the oak wainscoting, a deep mustard color. "That's the original color," Kari said. "We found it on the bottom layer behind some woodwork."
The floor in the kitchen is new. "The original was rotten and worn through," Kari said. The light fixtures are original, but again they don't provide as much light as we're used to today.
The walls in the baggage room are raw brick. They haven't been plastered. The feel of the room with that raw brick sends you back seventy-five years. The doors on the northside had to be replaced. Terry Taylor, a local carpenter, built the new ones to match the style of the era. "He is very interested in historic stuff," Kari said of Taylor, "and he's easy to work with."
Perhaps Kari didn't want to show me the basement but I love dark holes and saw the stairs. "A basement!"
Yes, a basement, with a sump pump running to deal with all the water of Redfield's uncharacteristically we summer.
When you enter the basement, you step into the boiler room. All that remains of the boiler now is the memory and some of the large pipes that moved steam to the radiators upstairs. Beyond the boiler room, two other rooms - the coal room on the left (south) side, the room for handling the "clinkers" from the furnace on the right side. There used to be an opening from the clinker room to a window well on the north side but that has been cemented up.
"There used to be eight feet of water standing in this basement," Kari said. "We thought some kid could fall through that opening and drown, so we closed it up."
We went back upstairs. There are insulated overhead doors at the end of the express freight office. This is going to be the depot's storage area so old doors from the depot are kept here - "we didn't want to get rid of them but we don't know where we can use them," Kari said. Marble from the men's room is stored here. There had been signatures written on the marble, men going off to war perhaps - 1919, 1920; men looking for work perhaps - 1929. A photo of all those signatures was taken before the marble was cleaned. "B & O Red" had also been carved into a piece of the stone. Also stored here, the original bar from an establishment in Athol, South Dakota, five miles to the north. The cross-bar that locks the big door form the freight room to the platform has been carved too, a secret communication from decades past that I can't decode: GJC 7ZT.
To be continued....