Having been served by two railroads in its days, Saint Paul, Nebraska boosted two fine depots.
Union Pacific Railroad
The Union Pacific bought out the Republican Valley Railway soon after the railroad line was completed to Saint Libory and completed the line to St. Paul in 1880 and to Ord in 1881. The original depot was built by the Union Pacific in 1880 and used until 1913, when the last, larger depot was built due to the city’s expansion.
Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad – Burlington Route
The NSRC granted permission on Aug. 23, 1961, for the UP and CB&Q to establish a joint agency in St.Paul, headquartered in the U.P. depot. This effectively closed the CB&Q depot in St. Paul.
According to information provided by Clarence Ritz, he acquired the CB&Q depot from the railroad in 1964 for use as his office for his feed and fertilizer business which he had just started. Ritz moved into the depot in 1964 with the railroad’s blessing. He did some fertilizer shipping via the Burlington at that time.Ritz had his office situated in the former agent’s office until he constructed a new office facility adjacent to the U.P. tracks. Ritz moved to the new office in 1971. After that, the depot was used for a time by another party for seed corn storage, then later by Ritz for excess fertilizer storage. But as of November 1978, the depot was only being used to store “odds and ends” according to Mrs. Ritz
As of November 1978, the depot still wore the old CB&Q white paint scheme. Mrs. Ritz said that, as other parties had their eyes on it, the Ritzes decided to take up the brick depot platform during the summer 1978, so as to save the brick for themselves. The bricks were found to have come from three different brick companies, she said. The ST. PAUL station lettering was covered over with a “Ritz Mobile Feed” sign.
Ironically, in 1976, Ritz owned two former Sargent Branch Line depots.
According to CB&Q records for 1926, the St. Paul depot was built in 1901 to dimensions of 24X66 feet. The waiting room was 20X23 feet while the freight room was 23X30.3 feet.
We are continuing to research further information about this and other depots and the communities they served. If you have any information you would like to share about this depot, community, or any other piece of Howard County history, please contact us, we would enjoy speaking with you.