Great Northern Depot In Bemidji Celebrates 105th Anniversary
The Great Northern Depot is celebrating its 105th birthday this week. You may know the building as the home to the Beltrami County History Center, but the brick and mortar offers a ton more to history buffs.
“Well, it was opened to the public in 1912. It actually went under construction in 1911 and it was a key transportation hub for about 70 years,” says Andy Mack, a volunteer at the center and railroad history buff.
The 215 foot-long depot houses a basement and an extensive attic. It was restored into the Beltrami County History Center in the year 2000. To celebrate the big anniversary, admission to the museum was only 105 cents. Guests were also given an exclusive tour of the building.
“We had a lot of visitors. A lot of families took advantage of the reduced price and we were so grateful for folks coming out to see the depot,” says Gary Rozman, who serves as the executive director of the center.
There was a time when the building was almost lost, but thanks to a few activists, no one laid a finger on the historic site.
“It had a historical significance. It got a tremendous amount of support from Beltrami County, the city of Bemidji, the citizens of the area and then the state of Minnesota. So that kind of got the ball rolling and it was restored to as you see it today,” says Mack.
The Great Northern Depot has served the Beltrami County for more than 100 years. For the next 100, they’re hoping for more of the same.
Rozman says, “We have many, many generations of worth of items that can be found here that truly help tell the story of Beltrami County and the surrounding region here in Northern Minnesota. We have a number of Ojibwe artifacts, bead work, a dug out canoe.”
While they want more of the same, they’re also listening to the thoughts of the public.
“We would love to have you come and see the exhibit. If you have an idea for an exhibit or a topic you want us to focus on, let us know! We eagerly want to work with the community!” says Rozman.
If you’d like to visit, the center is open Wednesdays through Saturdays from 12 to 4 or by appointment.