Sartell Village Hall built in 1919
The Sartell Train Depot
The Depot was located on the east side of the Mississippi River, just north of the Sartell metal bridge.
The depot was built and began operating in 1906.
Passenger waiting for the train
Old Highway 10 going past the Train Depot
Hank Sufka loading coal into a train.
Hank Sufka tending to the water tanks for the trains.
The Northern Pacific coal dock was built in 1912
The Sartell bridge connected the east and west sides of Sartell and was used until the mid 1980's.
The bridge is in its original location yet is not is use. The only traffic signal, a stop sign, on the west side of the river in Sartell was at this bridge.
The Village: The Depot
By Thomas Sartell
When the main line of the Northern Pacific railroad going through the east side of town and the prospect of the village becoming a city, a respectively large and attractive brick and stone depot was built just a couple of hundred feet north of the railroad crossing and on the west side of the tracks. The crossing was on Sartell Street after it left the east end of the bridge, from which it curved gently to the south.
The depot rated an agent and among those serving for long periods were C. A. Ayers and Carrol Walburn.
Of course there was much incoming and outgoing packaged material for the then
Watab Pulp and Paper Company. Some lumber and other building materials too, for the Sartell brothers. And, from the 1920’s on the DeZURIK company made use of the freight part of the service. There always seemed to be enough to keep the agent busy.
Passenger-wise there was some activity especially in the early years before people had automobiles with both departures and arrivals. You could even ride from Sartell to St. Cloud and back. Of course our mail came by train and left same way. Stops were short, even for locals, and in the Twenties unscheduled stops were not made without signals well ahead of the trains’ approaches. Seldom did “flyers” stop, as they were what the name implies--express trains that would barrel through all small towns and only stop at cities. That is, unless they had to stop at our coal dock for water or fuel.
The Depot, in addition to its materials handling spaces, also had a rather commodious “waiting room” for passengers, complete with pew-type benches. Well-lighted and comfortable. it was no Grand Central Station, but served its purpose well. The agent’s cage was placed so that he could keep an eye on both ends of the building inside and out, as well as up and down the tracks.
In addition to his railroad work, the agent handled incoming telegrams for village residents and businesses and often delivered them on his way home for lunch. All in all, he appeared to be and was a necessary cog in the village’s operation.
Then came the day when the railroad decided it could manage without the depot. It was razed, destroying not only a lot of memories but also an attractive brick and stone building that might well have served some useful purpose in later days.
Excerpt taken from ”History of Sartell, Minnesota Lumber, Paper, Valves and Progress A Century of Progress, Welcoming a Century of Promise” pages 88-89.