Thursday, March 27, 2008

"Vintage Places"

April, 1925
circa 1930s
recent photo

One of my favorite buildings is the old Boise Depot. It sits atop a hill overlooking the beautiful city of Boise, the capitol of Idaho, and is surrounded by lovely gardens, complete with koi ponds. If you go inside and ride up to the belltower on a clear day, you can see the entire city--it's a stunning view. The depot was originally named the Union Pacific Railroad Depot, and was built in 1925; stone that was incorporated into the design was quarried right in Boise, near the Old Penitentiary. The first transcontinental arrived at the station in April of 1925. Union Pacific's last passenger train left Boise in 1971, and it wasn't until 1977 that passenger service began again when Amtrak took over and made some repairs to the depot. In 1990, Union Pacific sold the depot to the Morrison Knudsen Corporation, and the depot, which had fallen into disrepair over the years, was carefully restored to its original condition. The City of Boise took possession of the building in 1996. Sadly, though, the last passenger train rolled out of Boise in 1997. Still, the building is well-loved and care for, and used for community and special events; it is often open to anyone wanting to see a little bit of history and experience the beautiful landscaping and views. With today's high gas prices and expensive airline fares, there has been renewed interest in train travel, and so there is always hope that maybe one day the old depot will again come alive with the exciting sounds of engine whistles blowing, the screeching of wheels on the tracks, and the hustle and bustle of passengers coming and going on fun and fantastic adventures.

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