FORT PIERRE, S.D. – (DRG News) A celebration was held yesterday to formally mark the return of a long-time Fort Pierre landmark. The Fort Pierre Train Depot was brought back to the community last week after spending about fifty years on a ranch near Mud Butte. The building started serving the rail-line in 1907. It was purchased by rancher Shirley Miller after being declared surplus and was moved away from Fort Pierre in the 1960’s. A group of local citizens has been working the past few years to move the building back to town, after it was given to the community by Miller. During a ceremony held at the Casey Tibbs South Dakota Rodeo Center Tuesday, Fort Pierre Mayor Sam Tidball declared the day “Shirley Miller Day” in Fort Pierre.
The 93-year-old Miller also recalled his memories of moving the building from Fort Pierre and how it was used for storage on his ranch.
Miller’s daughter, Reta Fae Kelly said her father had wanted to make something good out of the depot. She wrote a poem she read yesterday called “Forlorn But Not Forgotten”-which told a story of what the depot would say if the old building could talk.
Gary Grittner, who leads the Bring it Home Committee, acknowledged Shirley Miller, along with the work of the committee and the assistance of donors in helping to make the depot’s return possible.
After Tuesday’s homecoming event, Miller said he thinks it will be good to see the building restored to the way it looked in its heyday.
When he was told the depot would be restored; Miller said he felt it would be an improvement from what he had been doing with it.
Kelly recalled some of her memories growing up with the depot on her family ranch.
Mayor Tidball said the depot brings another interesting feature to a community that already has a lot of history.
Grittner was very happy with Tuesday’s gathering and with the progress on the depot project.
Miller says if he is able, he’ll be back to see the depot, after it is restored.
The depot project received a $500,000 Department of Transportation grant and the committee needs to raise $115,000 as a match. Fundraising continues and Grittner says the next step for the depot will be to write specifications and advertise for bids to restore and renovate the building.
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