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RAILROAD HISTORY Republican candidate Wendell Willkie, shown with wife Edith, on his whistlestop campaign at the Sandpoint depot in 1940. His attempt to defeat President Franklin Roosevelt was unsuccessful. PHOTO BY ROSS HALL/COURTESY HALLANS GALLERY

Politics and problems The first hint of new trouble coming for the Northern Pacific depot occurred as railway traffic gave way to increased automobile traffic. A clamor arose in Sandpoint for better highways and improved secondary roads. The July 11, 1957, edition of the Sandpoint News-Bulletin urged citizens to attend the upcoming July 17 public hearing of the proposed Highway 95 bypass being planned for the east side of Sand Creek. A downplayed blip occurred in 1958. The state of Idaho promised the railroad that in the event of a highway bypass, they would build the Northern Pacific a new depot somewhere else. By 1970, every year that the depot remained standing was a gift. On March 1, 1970, various railroads

merged to form Burlington Northern (BN), and the new conglomerate worked to consolidate its holdings. On May 1, 1971, BN leased the depot to Amtrak for passenger service. In 1972, realizing that it didn’t need two depots in Sandpoint, BN closed the newer Great Northern depot and retrofitted the 1916 Northern Pacific depot as it sat along the main line. In 1971, Mrs. Don Samuelson, former first lady of Idaho, forwarded a letter from the Bonner County Historical Society to Dr. Merle W. Wells, the state’s historic preservation officer, requesting his assistance in preserving local landmarks. That led to the placement of the depot on the National Register of Historic Places, July 3, 1973, which generated little fanfare at the time. Within the “statement of significance” on the National Register’s nomination form it states: “The Sandpoint station differs from the rather routine designs assigned to scores of other small towns along Idaho’s railway lines. Rather than merely fulfilling a formula,

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SANDPOINT MAGAZINE

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SUMMER 2016

5/10/16 2:36 PM

Sandpoint Magazine Summer 2016  

In this Issue: Dog Town, Idaho How people and their dogs have created Sandpoint’s copious canine culture Plus ‘Peaking’ Our Interest - Peak...

Sandpoint Magazine Summer 2016  

In this Issue: Dog Town, Idaho How people and their dogs have created Sandpoint’s copious canine culture Plus ‘Peaking’ Our Interest - Peak...