Improvements are coming to the Weiser Train Depot

Above is a luggage cart used to haul passengers’ bags and other belongings back during the 1800s and early 1900s. It is taken out of storage for special occasions. Photo courtesy of Weiser Architectural Preservation Committee.

The old Eaton Train Depot will soon get a new roof, which has been needed for some time. Above is Ray Laan, left, and Kevin Jones. Photo courtesy of Weiser Architectural Preservation Committee
Philip A. Janquart

Model Railroaders will bring trains and books as part of grand new exhibit during Fiddle Week

 The Weiser Train Depot, one of the community’s most prized historical attractions, will be adding some improvements over the next months.

 First, thanks to a $2,500 Community Enhancement Grant (CEG) from the Idaho State Historical Society, members of the Weiser Architectural Preservation Committee (WAPC) have been working on some new display pieces.
 The pieces are framed blowups of an historical brochure circulated by Union Pacific many decades ago.
 “It’s one of the things we’ve wanted to do for a long time,” said WAPC member Tony Edmondson. “Back in the day, the Oregon Short Line, a branch of Union Pacific, developed a brochure that they probably modified and reprinted for many communities along their line, but the one in Weiser, in particular, is kind of hard to come by now. Boise State University Library has one on file, but they couldn’t find it when we wanted to do this project. Fortunately, there was an online digital file that we were able to use, and we reproduced the whole brochure and then blew up some images to put on the wall.”
 The images include a blow up of a map, which also now adorns the walls inside the depot. More pictures will be put on display as the project moves along.
 In addition, a new bronze plaque will soon be installed near the outside entrance of the depot, indicating that the building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
 The grant is a matching grant requiring in-kind work and some hard money, according to Edmondson. Part of the hard money will be covered by a memorial left to the committee by a late member.
 “Irene Tallent was born in Weiser and lived here most of her life,” he explained. “She was involved with the museum and our preservation group for many years. We got a memorial from her that we are using as part of the match on the grant, so her name will be credited as being part of this project.”
 Judging by the number of photographs taken at the depot, community members appreciate the handsome building in its parklike setting. Over the past several years, WAPC members, with help from the Weiser Garden Club, have worked to improve the landscaping by adding several new plantings, including approximately 800 daffodil bulbs and the ever-popular zinnias at the center of the circular drive. A native plant berm has been added behind the caboose this year thanks to a $1000 grant from the Idaho Native Plant Society and donations of landscape boulders and placement from Harry Soulen and Darren Lee. The TVCC Foundation is including the depot on their garden tour fundraiser set for June 15.
 Some other projects include rebuilding one of two luggage carts associated with the museum.
 “The one is still in original condition and is usable,” Edmondson said. “The wood deck has a lot of age to it and periodically we will pull it out when people have weddings and other events. But the other one was badly weathered. As a scout project, Julie Chandler’s nephew Colyer Chandler, completely disassembled it, sandblasted it, and repainted it. 
 When we got to a point where we needed some lumber, we found it was going to be about a thousand dollars for the white oak we wanted to use, so the project got put on hold and kind of languished for a couple years.”
 The committee now has the money to put it back together. Nate Mink from the Upper Country has committed to getting the work done.
 “He came down and looked at it and he’s probably going to get started on it here in the next month or so,” Edmondson said.
 Another exciting development involves the small Eaton train depot, which now sits at the head of the Weiser River Trail, just north of the bridge off Highway 95 in Weiser.  Last Fall, “Ray Laan and Kevin Jones relocated it from its years long temporary location to a permanent foundation trail side and Ray is getting a bid for a new roof,” said Edmondson. “So hopefully we get the roof put on it before too long.”
 Lastly, the Weiser Train Depot will be hosting a special event during Fiddle Week this year.
 “The model railroaders are going to be down there, I think, the Friday and Saturday of Fiddle Week,” Edmondson said. “They are going to set up and we’ve got a number of different rail-related authors and books and things like that, that are going to be available.”
 More information about the above mentioned projects and, in particular, the model railroad exhibit during Fiddle Week will be provided in a future issue of the Weiser Signal American.
 You can find more information about the depot, as well as other historical structures in Weiser, by visiting 


Signal American

18 E. Idaho St.
Weiser, ID 83672
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