Great Northern Railway Depot in Whitefish, Montana Gets Historic Makeover

Historic details add to the charm of the Great Northern Railway Depot located in downtown Whitefish, Montana, a popular stop on Amtrak's passenger line from Saint Paul, Minnesota to Seattle, Washington.

Whitefish, MT, July 12, 2013 --( Nationally, the Great Northern Railway is known for running from Saint Paul, Minnesota, to Seattle, Washington, more than 1,700 miles. It was the only privately funded railroad in US history, by the 19th century tycoon James J. Hill.

The Whitefish community has been served by the Great Northern Railway since 1927. Not only has it become a piece of our history, but highlights some of the notorious transitions of time. Considering it was designed in an Alpine style, which reflects the chalets that still exist in Glacier National Park, the entire wooden structure had timber walls sheathed in wood siding and decorative eaves. It was a perfect reflection of the settlers and era. Cedar shingles covered the entire roof which was adorned with several dormers, and as the architecture started to deteriorate, it was obvious that it was time to renovate. After 60 years of constant use, in the 1980’s, the Burlington Northern Railroad decided to exit the structure.

By 2002, the National Register of Historic Places added the Whitefish Train Depot. Since then, it has added a baggage facility, for large visitors to collect themselves and their luggage on the side of the terminal. In 2011, Amtrak designed and constructed a 1,200 foot long platform, which includes an electric snow-melting system, and lighting to compliment the platform edge

With the historical society heading the fundraising campaign, they used the funds to renovate the upper story, which they leased back to the Burlington Northern Railroad. Additional funding allowed for renovation to continue on the first floor, which is shared by the historical society, Amtrak, and local vendors. The lower level is largely kept in its original and historical design, with some of the original partitions re organized to fit the venue. The train currently pulls 3 times the duty as the designated Amtrak train station for Whitefish, MT.

Currently the Whitefish Depot is undergoing further renovations such as railings and gates made by Acutech, Montana’s most technologically advanced metalworking facility for metal fabrication and high tolerance machining. ( From the design process to the installation and upkeep, Acutech is unique because they have one of the most complete machine shops in Montana. Certified welders and iron smiths can bend, shape, hammer, and cut iron for a classic wrought iron look with whatever details you can imagine. Their state-of-the-art water jet cutting, laser cutting, and plasma cutting machines take it to the next level, allowing them to make railings, gates, and fences out of unique materials in eye-catching designs. This collaboration between the Whitefish Train Depot and Acutech will cast a pleasing and appealing look for the historic site, which has since 1927, looked historic and yet relevant to our time. For this reason Whitefish is also by far the most popular Amtrak station in Montana.
Acutech LLC
Alicia Jones