Northern Pacific Depot, Starbuck

While the Pope County Museum is closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we will be highlighting historic sites around Pope County. We hope that you can walk or drive to visit these sites while maintaining appropriate physical distancing.

Northern Pacific Depot, Starbuck


Starbuck Depot in 1993

Added to the National Register of Historic Places is pending, the Starbuck Depot holds a proud place in the history of Starbuck.  Located in the heart of the business district, the depot was ideal for shipping and receiving for main street businesses. The Little Falls and Dakota branch of the Northern Pacific Railroad provided speedy access to distant markets resulting in greater economic return for local products.  Mail and passenger service, even a ride to school, were also supplied by the rail line. The Starbuck Depot continues to be a contributing asset to the community after restoration by dedicated volunteers. The Starbuck Depot Society hosts four civic events annually, offers tours and generally boosts civic pride in a property which has significantly impacted the community and its development.


Starbuck Depot in 1909

The Starbuck Directory has the following information:

The Starbuck Depot Museum serves a center for the community of Starbuck to gather and reminisce. It is a place that celebrates the rich Norwegian heritage of Starbuck and the railway that ran through it. Memories of old school days and a younger Starbuck live here.

The beginning of train service in Starbuck was heralded by a shrill steam whistle on Nov. 10, 1882. The last train left without fanfare on July 15, 1983.

This 90 mile line from Morris to Little Falls was built using horses and dirt scrapers. It provided passenger and mail service as well as freight hauling of building materials, machinery, fuel, fertilizer, livestock, grain, cream and eggs.
The local dray line picked up merchandise at the depot and delivered it to the merchants.

The depot building was closed after the passenger service was discontinued in 1954. After a merger in 1960, the railway became known as the Burlington Northern. In June, 1986, the Starbuck Depot Society was organized to restore and maintain the depot building and grounds and a grand opening was held on May 16, 1992.

The Depot Society was responsible for four major annual events held at the depot: Lefse Dagen, Heritage Days, Eple Tiden, and Juletre Lysning.

It is believed that the City of Starbuck was named after Mr. William H. Starbuck of New York, who financed the construction of this railway. He was a friend of Henry Villard who was the president of the N.P.R.R. 1881-1884.


For more information, contact the Pope County Museum, or you can read the entire National Register application form here.

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