FORT PIERRE, S.D. – (DRG News) A group of area citizens working to bring Fort Pierre’s former train depot back to town from a ranch near Mud Butte are getting closer to making the plans a reality. The depot that served the railroad from Fort Pierre was purchased by a rancher and moved to northwest South Dakota in the mid-1960’s. It was new to Fort Pierre in the early years of the 20th century and was a hub for railroad passengers and freight for several years until the building was sold to Shirley Miller and was transported to Mud Butte. In January, the South Dakota Department of Transportation Commission awarded a $500,000 grant for the project to restore the depot. Gary Grittner of Fort Pierre’s Bring it Home Committee says the group has selected a firm that is helping with the various steps needed to return the building to Fort Pierre and restore it.
Grittner says the transportation commission requires that the group obtain about $100,000 in donations to match the grant the commission awarded.
Grittner says a foundation needs to be excavated and he believes that people will see the depot back in Fort Pierre; near where it used to call home along Highway 83-by sometime this summer.
Grittner says he believes that the building, which has been on the ranch near Mud Butte for more than 40 years, might be the focus of a going away party by Mill’ers family before it is trucked away and brought to Fort Pierre.
Plans also call for a “welcome home” celebration for the building in Fort Pierre, sometime after the depot is securely on its foundation, and hazards like equipment are removed from the site. Those that would like to donate toward helping return the depot to Fort Pierre or offer other assistance in the project can contact Grittner at 223-3255.
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