Historic Structures

Building Description Medford Soo Line Railroad Depot, Medford Wisconsin

The building measures 24 x 109 feet. The roof overhang measures 7 feet on the west, south and north sides, and about 6 feet on the east side where it was shortened to permit truck passage. The concrete passenger boarding platform, 12 feet wide, extended 350 feet north from the sidewalk on State Street. After acquisition by the City of Medford, this platform was shortened to the north side of the depot and now measures about 215 feet in length.

The railroad's property line, following the sale of the excess right of way to the City, is 15 feet either side of the center line of the mainline track. This places the property boundary about 2 feet from the west face of the depot. About 1-1/2 feet of the agent's bay and half the eaves overhang encroach onto railroad property. Wisconsin Central has agreed to permit the City and its successors to maintain the encroachment, and to permit access to the west face of the depot from railroad property solely for purpose of maintaining the building. Both pedestrian entries are on the west side of the depot, and so it will be necessary to cut a new public entry on the east or south side if and when the depot is converted to other use, in order to avoid trespassing on railroad property.

The original flooring was hard maple tongue and groove planking. The present floor is poured concrete throughout the building. The men's and ladies' waiting rooms are on either side of the agent's office connected by a narrow corridor and separated by a doorway. The small lavatory closets open directly into their respective waiting rooms. A tiny storage closet is at the top of the basement stairs, which are narrow and rise at the rate of 1:1. The warm baggage room opens into the unheated larger baggage area. A loading dock 24" high and built of heavy bridge timbers fills the northerly 18' of the baggage room. This facilitated transfer to and from the outdoor team dock at the north end of the depot.

The measurements of the various rooms are as follows:
Men's Waiting Room
Ladies's Waiting Room
Agent's Office
Agent's Bay Window
Lavatory Bay Protrusion
Baggage Room Overall
Warm Room

The original heating system consisted of coal-fired space heaters which probably were removed when the depot was placed on its concrete slab. The present system utilizes an oil-fired hot water furnace in the basement dating from around World War II. Radiators in the upstairs rooms are connected by circulating pipes mounted outside the walls near the ceiling.

The depot site originally was part of the railroad's station grounds property in downtown Medford, which was 100' wide either side of the mainline center and which extended to the west edge of Main Street. Main Street is about 7' higher than track level and about 56' east of the east face of the depot. The railroad sold a string of shallow commercial lots facing on Main Street which are only 28 feet deep from the sidewalk line. These lots are occupied by Main Street businesses, except for one lot opposite the depot lavatories which is owned by the City of Medford and developed as a "mini-park." This gives the depot limited visibility from Main Street; otherwise, it is somewhat overwhelmed by Main Street commercial buildings which tend to tower over it.

A small, unimproved parking lot lies to the south of the depot accessible from State Street which connects Main Street to the Black River 2 blocks to the west. North of the depot is a municipal parking lot built in 1990 on former railroad right of way. The Wisconsin Central's former mainline track bounds the depot to the west. This track serves four small shippers and ends near the north City boundary since being abandoned from Medford to Prentice. West of this track is another strip of former railroad right of way owned by the City, and beyond are commercial buildings facing onto Whelen Avenue. The depot and all of its surroundings were included in a tax increment finance (TIF) district in 1989, organized to help revitalize the downtown business district.

Immediately southeast of the depot is the former First National Bank of Medford (also former State Bank of Medford) building at the corner of Main and State Streets, built in 1924. To the northeast is the former Long Dairy building facing onto Main Street and built in 1945. Most of the other commercial buildings on Main Street date from the 1880's and 1890's.

Railroad outbuildings in the vicinity of the depot included a locomotive watering tower at the north end of the boarding platform east of the track, a pump house related to the water tower, and a small maintenance of way section house to the north near Broadway (State Trunk Highway 64.) These were removed in the 1950's, and only the depot was left standing. The railroad never operated a servicing facility for engines or cars in Medford.