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Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Burlington Northern Depot & WWII Memorial Museum is dedicated to preserving the historic passenger station and honoring local members of the armed forces who served in the war. The Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad (CB&Q) built the depot in 1903, and passenger service continued until 1971. A number of notable figures stopped at the depot including Presidents Theodore and Franklin Roosevelt. The depot was restored in the early 2000s and the museum opened in 2003. The museum contains displays of WWII memorabilia, a research library room, and a small auditorium.

The historic Burlington Northern Depot now houses the WWII Memorial Museum, which was established in 2003.

Sky, Plant, Building, Window

In the mid-1850s, the Burlington and Missouri River Railroad (B&MR) decided to build a railroad from the Mississippi to Missouri Rivers. An employee of the company, Col. Alfred Hebard, surveyed the area to map the new line, which passed through Montgomery County. At the time, no one lived in the area. He bought the land where Red Oak is now located and, along with others, platted the town in 1857. Hebard, who served in the territorial legislature in the early 1840s and in the state senate from 1875 to 1879, also built an attractive Italianate home in 1874 that still stands today.

Red Oak grew steadily and prospered in the coming decades as direct result of the railroad. In 1872, the CB&Q bought the B&MR, which became as a subsidiary of the company. In the late 1800s, the CB&Q decided to build a new, higher line to Red Oak to reduce the grades for locomotives. This required building the present depot a half of a mile to the south of the old depot. It was completed in December 1903 and opened to passenger service on the 29th. The depot's peak occurred in the 1930s. It also served as the departure point for locals who went to serve in the Spanish-American War and World War I and II. Company M of the 34th Division departed form the station during WWII. Montgomery County has the unenviable distinction of losing more men in the war per capita than any county in the United Sates.

Passenger service steadily decreased after the war but service continued thanks to mail contracts, which finally ended in 1971. The waiting room was converted into an offices but the freight room was kept for repairing equipment and supplies, and the ticket office was used for freight dispatching. Eventually freight operations ended. The city blocked the railroad from demolishing the depot in 1993 and it was donated to the city in 1995. Over the next several years it was renovated and finally reopened on December 20, 2003.

Adams, Jacky et al. "Burlington Northern Depot." National Park Service - National Register of Historic Places Nomination Form. April 29, 1999.

"Overview & Mission." Burlington Northern Depot & WWII Memorial Museum. Accessed January 24, 2021.

Image Sources(Click to expand)

Jim Roberts, via Wikimedia Commons:,_Burlington_Northern_And_Quincy_Depot.jpg