The Inman City Museum’s Rock Island Train Depot is nearing total restoration.
Ralph Vogel, director of the museum, said the inside of the depot has been completely restored, and the exterior of the building now awaits repainting.
“I’m hoping it’ll be done sometime this year,” Vogel said.
The depot, which was originally built in 1887, shut down its services in 1979. It was left in a deteriorated state. Inman city government decided to move the building in 1981, and Vogel began restoration of the building in 2000.
The building itself is a vintage Rock Island Railway depot and was the only Rock Island depot in central Kansas.
Rock Island Railroad Company was a Chicago-based company that built and managed railways across much of the central United States.
Vogel said much of the fun behind the project was the historical items left behind in the building, including vintage beer bottles and a check made to the Rock Island company for a penny. A sign hangs in one room of the building listing the times of the last trains serviced by the depot.
“Almost everything within the building is over 100 years old,” Vogel said. “These old buildings are fun to go through.
The depot consists of three rooms — a waiting room for passengers, an operations room for railway engineers, and a back room for the transportation of luggage and other goods. Vogel has designed the interior into what the building may have looked like during operation.
Vogel said the Inman depot saw many passengers, including a former U.S. president, due to the duck hunting that was available in former marshlands near the city.
Vogel said he wished to recapture the experience of the past through the restoration of the building.
“What we try to do is bring that feeling back, as it used to be,” Vogel said. “’Cause that’s what history is all about. We learn from the past — or we should. Sometimes, we don’t.”
The Inman museum is open from 1:30 to 4 p.m. Sundays or by appointment by calling 620-585-6659.
Joseph Tuszynski can be reached at email@example.com, or follow him on twitter @JoeTSentinel.