All across North America, before and after the turn of the 20th century, wooden railroad depots like this were typical of many small towns in Canada and the USA. Even now some of them are still in use, and more have been modified for other uses (and more have been demolished, of course). Let’s visit Uncle Joe the station agent and take a tour…
The town (non-train) side of the depot building has three doors – one to the passenger waiting room on the right, one to the freight room on the left, and a center door which gives access to the agent’s living quarters. We’ll head into the passenger waiting room and enjoy the warmth of the pot-bellied stove between the seats while we wait for Uncle Joe to finish selling a ticket to a would-be passenger.
Uncle Joe can’t let us into his office – that’s against railroad regulations! – but we can peer through the door and see the cubbyholes by the ticket window where the tickets are kept, the desk in the bay window with the telegraph key and stacks of important papers, and the big office clock.
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On the other side of the office is the freight room. Sometimes this room is chock-full of goods being shipped to or from our town, but today there’s a relatively small stack of boxes, crates and packages, a couple of barrels, and a passenger’s trunk being sent on ahead.
As station agent, Uncle Joe lives right here in the depot with his wife, Aunt Sarah. He’s got plenty of work to do, so we’ll leave him to get on with it and head into the kitchen to visit with Aunt Sarah over a cup of tea. Her dresser is, as always, neat as a pin, and the kettle is is simmering at the back of the wood-fired cook stove.
The rest of the living quarters is upstairs: a living room with another woodstove, and a bedroom where one of Aunt Sarah’s handmade quilts covers the bed. Where’s the bathroom, you might ask? Well, this is an early 1900’s period building, and the bathroom was an outhouse – which I leave to you to build!