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According to historic accounts, it took about a year (from 1909 to 1910) to build the train depot at the end of Third Avenue in Ellensburg — there were delays caused by flooding in the area.

Restoring the now historic depot has proven to be a considerably more time-consuming task.

The Friends of the Northern Pacific Depot effort, spearheaded by Steve Hayden, has achieved milestone moments in the depot’s restoration — most notably the replacement of the roof this past year.

Hayden said the roofing project drew national notice with a segment on the project aired on the Fox Business channel.

“EcoStar (manufacturer of roofing materials) is using pictures of the depot roof in their brochures at trade shows,” Hayden said.

The roofing material is the same used in the Cheyenne, Wyo., train depot restoration project.

Hayden said completing the roof is a major step in the renovation of depot, in that it protects the integrity of the structure.

He said the work right now is to install the wood decking in the overhangs.

“It is all going to be sealed up,” Hayden said.

Once sealed, Hayden said historic-period lighting will be installed. Hayden said heat tape also is being installed along the gutters to help limit ice build up.

Search for support

To date, the renovation of the depot has been done with private funding — contributions from Hayden, area businesses, community members and railroad depot enthusiasts, some as far away as Australia.

Hayden is working with 13th District elected officials, state Reps. Judy Warnick and Mathew Manweller and Sen. Janéa Holmquist Newbry to secure state funding, but did not find success in having the project included in Gov. Jay Inslee’s proposed state budget.

“To me it is important that the state remember small counties need support, not just the West Side,” Hayden said.

The state budget process is ongoing, and Hayden said he will continue to work with the district representatives to secure funding.

Piece by piece

Hayden is not just bringing the building into a usable condition, he is painstakingly restoring as many historic details as possible.

“We’re trying to preserve the history of the building,” Hayden said.

In doing so, Hayden is encapsulating the history of other buildings as well. A source of doors and some glass in the building was the Kuhn Building in Spokane, demolished in the 1990s.

“I bought 1889 doors with original glass from the Kuhn Building,” Hayden said. “It’s privacy glass. It’s hard to find.”

There are pieces and materials throughout the depot from other historic structures or depots.

The commitment to preservation extends to potential uses of the building as well. Hayden said he has excluded use of the building as a restaurant or brew pub because of the renovations and alternations those businesses would require.

Hayden said the two ends of the building will be renovated for office space to provide the revenue needed to support the remainder of the building.

Work continues on the building, both the interior and exterior, but there are also big ticket items that remain.

Hayden said the building needs a new heating system. He said he received a cost estimate of $100,000 for the system.

This past year the building was used by a few groups for functions, but Hayden said because of the lack of heating and restrooms, the building is not currently suitable for use.

He does have a history class from Central Washington University slated to visit the depot this spring.

Hayden said this remains a difficult economy to raise money and that he hesitates to continue to call on local businesses.  

“We need some new blood, some new money,” Hayden said.



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