THE COMMERCE HUB OF TOPPENISH IN THE EARLY 20TH CENTURY
Depot in 1911
A brief history The present Toppenish railroad depot was built by the Northern Pacific Railway in 1911, replacing the 1885 wooden depot used when the Northern Pacific first arrived here. For 50 years it served as the transportation center and commerce hub of the community. The railroad became the most effective means to transport both passengers and freight. As automobile, bus and airplane service increased, railroad transportation and freight declined and in 1961 passenger service from Toppenish was discontinued. When the Railway Express Agency went under, the depot was no longer used and boarded up in 1981.
In 1989 a group of railfans approached the city and the railroad about leasing the depot as a railroad museum. The Yakima Valley Rail and Steam Museum Association (YVR&S) was formed to accomplish this goal. With the city's help the depot was leased in 1990. The Fort Simcoe Job Corp was able to refurbish the damaged plaster ceilings. Many hours of volunteer work resulted in the replacement of the electrical systems, stripping of the paint from the oak trim, and the beginnings of the museum displays. The museum had its grand opening on July 4, 1992. In 1993 the depot and adjacent freight house were purchased from the Burlington Northern Railroad. In 2000 the museum division was renamed the Northern Pacific Railway Museum. Please scroll down to the bottom of the page to see the interior of our depot.
Our museum on a busy day
I want to thank Robert of www.rgusrail.com for allowing me to use some of his pictures inside the depot. His "photo eye" is great and in this situation surpassed my talents. Please visit his sight and enjoy a different view of the museum from his perspective.
The old depot
The station was built around 1885 when the Northern Pacific arrived in Toppenish. It was on the opposite side of the tracks from where the depot is today.built in 1885 when the rail came through Toppenish. One story I have is it burnt down in 1910. The other story is that after the new brick station was built the old depot became a freight building.