Waupaca Railroad Depot

Waupaca Railroad Depot (2) Waupaca Railroad Depot (1)

Address:  525 Oak Street

Period:  1907

Exterior Description: Stone building 29 x 70 feet, plus five foot roof overhangs. Spanish tile roof. Exterior is unaltered except doors replaced by the railroad; missing brick platform. Some of the tiles have been removed to stabilize the roof.

Interior Description:  Three waiting rooms, office, baggage room, two restrooms, partial basement, three fireplaces, plaster walls with oak wainscoting, oak window trim, and maple floors.

Statement of Significance:  One of the last building projects of the original Wisconsin Central Railway before it was leased by the Soo Line was the construction of the Waupaca passenger station in 1907. After the old wooden passenger station burned to the ground, the Wisconsin Central constructed an impressive new structure for this important tourist and potato shipping community. The new 27 x 70 foot building incorporated sandstone walls and a Spanish tile roof. Inside were a general waiting room, ladies parlor, smoking room, agent’s office with a bay window and a baggage room. There were three fireplaces, one in each waiting room. Historically, the railroad played an important part in the Community. For many years, the depot was the first thing travelers saw when arriving in Waupaca. It was a place for families to say goodbye or be reunited. With the nearby Chain O’Lakes, Waupaca became a popular tourist destination. Travelers could take the train to Waupaca, ride a trolley to the Wisconsin Veteran’s Home, the Grand View Hotel or boat dock. They could board a steamer for their lake destination. Soldiers leaving for duty in two world wars were sent off by their loved ones. Eventually times changed and in January of 1965, Soo Line passenger service ended in Waupaca. The Station continued to be used as an agent’s office and section crew quarters until the new Wisconsin Central purchased the railroad in 1987. Since then, the once important building has stood deteriorating, awaiting the day it would be demolished or rescued.

Update: This property was acquired by the Waupaca Historical Society in 2004 and has been under extensive restoration since that time.