Omaha Station - Rice Lake Depot, Rice Lake Wisconsin

Date added: March 18, 2023 Categories: Wisconsin Train Station

The village of Rice Lake was platted in 1875 by Knapp, Stout & Co., an important lumbering company that operated in tracts of timber in the vicinity of Rice Lake. The company's workers had originally established a dam on the Red Cedar River in 1864 to create a supply of spring floodwaters for sending the company's logs downstream from the company's pineries in Barron and Dunn counties. When the dam was found to provide a suitable source of power to operate a gristmill and sawmill at the site a decade later, Knapp, Stout & Co. moved their headquarters here and platted the village. Knapp, Stout & Co. employed 1,300 men in their camps at the peak of their logging operations. The firm's holdings expanded from 115,000 acres of land in 1873 to 250,000 acres in 1877 and 530,000 acres in 1885. In addition company farms raised horses, oxen, and beef cattle as well as grain and vegetables. By the late 1870s and 1880s, other lumber companies were opening in Rice Lake including the Rice Lake Lumber Co, which was affiliated with the Weyerhaeuser lumber interests.

In the midst of Rice Lake's early years as a logging center, the Chicago, St. Paul, Minneapolis and Omaha Railway became the first railroad to extend its tracks north through Rice Lake. The rail connection was actually part of a three-year project by the Chippewa Falls & Northern Railroad on behalf of the C, St. P, M & O RR to construct a through-line from Chippewa Falls to Chicago Junction just south of Spooner between 1881 and 1883. Rice Lake was connected in 1882 as part of a 37-mile stretch completed from Bloomer in Chippewa County north to Haugen several miles beyond Rice Lake. When completed the line was conveyed to the C, St. P, M & O RR and dubbed the "Northern Division" of the C, St. P, M & O RR or "Omaha Road." The following year the 160-mile long route was completed to Superior, its construction achieving the objective of a through-connection from Chicago to Lake Superior for the majority owner of the C, St. P, M & O RR - the Chicago and North Western Railroad. The complex development and ownership arrangement of the C, St. P, M & O RR with the C & NW RR over time is summarized by railroad historian H. Roger Grant:

A distinguishing feature of the Chicago & North Western Railway for decades was its control of the Chicago, St. Paul, Minneapolis & Omaha Railway. This approximately 1,700-mile railroad, popularly called the "Omaha Road" or simply the "Omaha," developed three principal lines that radiated from St. Paul: one to Omaha, Nebraska, via Sioux City, Iowa; one to Elroy, Wisconsin, which made a direct connection with the North Western to Chicago; and one to Ashland-Bayfield, Wisconsin, and Duluth, Minnesota. Although the North Western purchased a controlling interest in the Omaha's stock in 1882, it did not lease the carrier until 1957. The North Western finally acquired the Omaha in 1972. The company owned only a bare majority of the common and preferred shares until the mid-1920s when it substantially increased its holdings. Thus the relationship between the North Western and the Omaha differed markedly from [its other rail holdings].

The pine forest lands held by Knapp, Stout & Company along the Red Cedar River, Bear Lake, Long Lake, and Shell Lake were becoming exhausted as the decade of the 1880s drew to an end. According to historian Alvah Axtell, Knapp, Stout & Company began to withdraw during the following decade as a result selling their interests to the Rice Lake Lumber Co. The last log drive down the Red Cedar and Chippewa Rivers from Rice Lake left in July 1900. Although planning mills continued to operate in the city with the switching of some operations to hardwood processing, the principal years of the logging era were drawing to close. In their wake came settlers, merchants, and farmers who "followed the receding edge of the forest northward."

The town of Rice Lake grew quickly during its early years with U.S. Census figures showing population reaching 2,130 by 1890. While the 100-foot wide Main Street platted by Knapp, Stout & Company seemed overly optimistic to most new settlers, by the 1890s the area north of the company dam was lined with saloons, rooming houses, blacksmith and harness shops, grocers, butchers and produce merchants, many real estate agents, merchant tailors and dressmakers, and other specialty merchants. The town grew by another 50 percent between 1890 and 1900 with 3,002 people recorded by the turn of the 20th century. Despite the decline in logging during the following decade, growth continued at a respectable pace with the 1910 U.S. Census recording an increase of one-third in the number of city residents bringing the population to 3,968.

U.S. figures for county-wide population growth for Barron County as well as figures for the number of farms and manufacturing establishments (including sawmills) before and after 1900 show an even more dramatic story.

YearPopulationManufacturing CoFarms
1890 15,416 49 1,859
1900 23,677 121 1,842
1910 29,114 N/A 3,852
1920 34,281 74 4,516

These figures tell the story of what was happening in the rural townships surrounding Rice Lake - Barron County's most populous commercial center. County-wide population nearly doubled between 1890 and 1909 when the C, St. P, M & O RR made the decision to build a new passenger station. Though Rice Lake's population experienced similar growth in this period, a substantial portion of the new residents were farm dwellers. The number of farms grew 110 per cent from 1,842 to 3,852 between 1900 and 1910 and continued to grow in the following decades.

Among these new residents in and around Rice Lake were many Northern European immigrants according to historian Alvah Axtell - Scandinavians and Irish who came as woodsmen and stayed to farm as well as Germans, Bohemians, Poles, and Swiss who bought land in the cutover where they established farms. Skills in dairying were brought by some immigrants in the latter group and became a mainstay for agricultural output before World War I, including manufacturing operations for such things as cheese and canning operations, all headquartered in Rice Lake.

As was noted above, rail service to Rice Lake commenced in 1882. The mainline rail service provided by the C, St. P, M & O RR was supported by a number of trackside improvements in the 1880s and 1890s. The 1893 Sanborn-Perris Company Map shows the original passenger and freight depot (nonextant) located one block south of the current passenger station. The depot was located west of the tracks that paralleled Tainter Avenue between W. Humbird and W. Marshall streets. A separate coal shed (nonextant) was located further north in the approximate location of the 1909 C, St. P, M & O RR Passenger Station with a wood water tank (nonextant) just to the west along the north side of W. Humbird Street. Nearby privately operated trackside facilities shown on 1893 and 1899 maps included lumber storage piles, a beer depot, and an oil company warehouse.

Railroad station crews at Rice Lake were never large. The most significant employee was always the railroad agent, who was responsible for general operations of the station, ticket sales, dispatching trains through the station, and coordinating the delivery and pick-up of express shipments. William Henry Winter served as Rice Lake's first full-time agent working for the C, St. P, M & O RR from October 5, 1882 to January 25, 1889. For his first six months, the depot was located in a box car in the rail yard. The frame combination depot, as well as a coal shed and water tank, were built during his tenure.

A.M. Fenton replaced Agent Winter. He originally came to work at the Rice Lake station in 1882 along with Winter. Fenton saw the arrival of telephone service at the station in June 1896 and later was elected to the position of vice-president for the Barron County Telephone Company. Fenton's leadership role in civic affairs was also demonstrated by the fact that he held the position of alderman for the first ward in 1894-1896 and acting mayor in 1895-1896. He left Rice Lake in 1900 to take another job for the St. P, M, & O RR in St. Paul where he retired as chief freight agent in 1923.

C.D Stockwell became the new agent for the C, St. P, M & O RR on May 25, 1900. He continued here until May 28, 1907 when he moved to Marshfield to take a position as agent. It is likely that planning for the new railroad station was just beginning during Stockwell's waning days in Rice Lake. He was replaced by D.W. Kuhn who held the position of agent for only two years moving to Spooner on May 7, 1909 in the midst of construction work on the new station.

According to company employment and pensioner records, Shelby Scott "S.S." Brodt was the newly appointed Rice Lake agent for the C, St. P, M & O RR when the new station was completed in 1909. He began work for the company as an operator at the Bloomer, Wisconsin station and was reassigned to Rice Lake in January 1909. He remained station agent through World War I and the Depression Years with records showing him continuing through at least 1940. He moved to Clear Lake sometime before his retirement in 1946 continuing to hold the position of agent in that community.

Plans for the construction of the new station that occurred at the beginning of Brodt's tenure as station agent actually began several years earlier. During 1907 and 1908 railroad officials recognized that the increasing population of Rice Lake and surrounding sections of Barron County was providing a growing passenger market. As a result, the C, St. P, M & O RR began planning a larger and more commodious passenger station. Construction of the new station can be attributed to several other factors as well. One was the general upgrading seen in the Northern Division of the C, St. P, M & O RR in the years immediately following the turn of the century. Another was the growing popularity of the Duluth Limited and Twilight Limited trains that connected Duluth and Superior on the south shore of Lake Superior with the Badger State Express in Eau Claire for points east and west along the heavily traveled "Bow Line" between Chicago, the Twin Cities, and Omaha (a name derived from its shape).

A third factor was construction of the new C, St. P, M & O RR line between Rice Lake and Park Falls. Built by its subsidiary, the Chippewa Falls and Northeastern Railway Company, the line originally extended from Tuscobia located north and slightly west of Rice Lake to Birchwood to the northeast in 1901. According to railroad historian Stan Mailer, the pulpwood and veneer freight of this line helped offset the declining sales from pine shipments for the railroad after Knapp, Stout & Co. ceased operation. Mailer also observed: "Newspapers were certain cattle grazing would prevail where Knapp, Stout & Company supply farms once flourished, and that nearby sparkling lakes would attract vacationers." Construction continued on the Park Falls line during the balance of the decade with legs completed to Radisson in 1902, Winter in 1904, Draper in 1906, Kennedy in 1908, Kaiser in 1908, and Park Falls in 1914. With each leg completed, more passengers made their way through Rice Lake.

In 1909, plans were prepared for the new Rice Lake station by architect Horace P. Padley, an employee in the office of the C, St. P, M & O RR's Chief Engineer in St. Paul, Minnesota. Padley was familiar with design and construction in the Northern Division having spent much of his professional career working in Ashland, Wisconsin before going to work for the railroad. Plans for the new passenger station were completed by Padley in February 1909 and construction was underway by summer. The Sanborn Map completed in October 1909 shows the finished building located a block north of the former passenger and freight depot on the site of the former coal shed. The trackage for the station was located to the west of the new building. A wood-stave water tank (nonextant) was located southwest of the platform shed between the main line track and a single siding track. There are no notes on the 1909 Sanborn map showing it to be "under construction" making it likely that it was not in an incomplete state at the time that map information was collected in October 1909.

Through the years the new passenger station served as a hub for managing the arrivals and departures of trains and other daily operations of the rail yard. From the projecting window bay of the agent's office located along the west side of the station, orders were relayed to train crews and line maintenance crews. The direct role played by the railroad in the local economy was seen in nearby rail facilities as well. Regional agricultural shipments were handled from the privately owned elevators and warehouses erected to the south along the west side of the tracks. By 1917, the Sanborn Company map of the area shows the addition of a third track west of the station. The water tank was moved to the western edge of the tracks directly opposite the agent's office. A frame scale house and a track platform scale (both nonextant) were installed along and under the central track. The eastern track continued to stop along the combination concrete, brick and wood platform adjacent to the west side of the station. Both the 1926 and updated 1945 Sanborn Company maps show no changes in railroad yard structures or alignment of tracks.

Railroad employees accounted for a substantial sector of Rice Lake's workforce in the years before and after World War I. A Rice Lake Chronotype account in 1917 identified 31 individuals working for the Omaha Road and another 28 for its competitor for east-west traffic, the Soo Railroad. Together, the newspaper estimated 250 to 300 Rice Lake residents comprised railroad worker families with a combined yearly payroll of $42,000. "Thus it can easily be seen that directly and indirectly the railroads play no small part in the prosperity of our city." Workers at the C, St. P, M & O RR Passenger Station included the station agent, four assistants and three operators. Additional workers operating out of Rice Lake included a six-person switch crew, six section men, five engine watchmen and coal shed workers, two car repairmen, one towerman, and three carpenters. In addition to passenger trains from the north and south passing through Rice Lake, two lines to Park Falls originated in Rice Lake, the No. 243 and No. 244, each with a crew of five men. The 1917 Chronotype account went on to identify the tonnage handled through the Omaha Station in 1916 as totaling nearly 150,000 tons or enough to fill approximately 3,700 freight cars.

During the establishment and growth of the C, St. P, M & O RR rail facilities in Rice Lake in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the surrounding neighborhood took shape. Sanborn maps, written histories, and surviving building stock tell the story of the development of a mixed commercial and residential neighborhood with a handful of industrial and institutional buildings. The earliest record from the 1893 shows a series of one- and two-story frame dwellings in the blocks to the east towards downtown. A two-story rooming house was located opposite the old depot with the Falk, Jung & Burchert Beer Depot and Standard Oil Co. in buildings to the south. By 1899 several 200-foot long, open lumber storage piles maintained by the Johnson Brothers and Spenser Lumber Yard were located west of the tracks opposite the coal shed - the future site of the C, St. P, M & O RR Passenger Station between W. Evans and W. Humbird streets. Two churches were located on double-wide lots in the block to the east of the future station site. The new Norwegian Evangelical Lutheran Church building (nonextant) was erected prior to 1899 at the southeast corner of Tainter Avenue and W. Evans Street and the Grace Episcopal Church (nonextant) was located along the north side of W. Humbird Street.

Ten years later in 1909, when the new C, St. P, M & O RR Passenger Station opened, two other establishments were about to open, each honoring the railroad's common name - the "Omaha Road." The two-story Omaha Hotel (nonextant) with its wide wrap-around porch was located at the northeast corner of Tainter Avenue and W. Marshall Street and the Omaha Lunch, later called the "Big O" (extant), was located directly opposite the station on the east side of Tainter Avenue. A third church, St. Joseph Catholic Church (extant) and its affiliated parochial school (nonextant), were located a half-block east of the Omaha Hotel along the north side of W. Marshall Street.

By World War I, the area south of W. Humbird Street saw a change in commercial users. A monument works (nonextant) appeared west of the tracks and the building that had served as a beer depot in the 1890s was now an ice house and warehouse for the Rice Lake Produce Company. A decade later this group of commercial buildings had continued to expand. In 1926, the cold storage warehouse/ice house was taken over by the C.E. Blodgett Cheese Company. Two additional cheese warehouses were erected trackside to the north including one fronting on W. Humbird Street operated by the Kraft Cheese Company. Cheese warehouses continued south of the passenger station through World War II but the Omaha Hotel disappeared by the time the 1945 Sanborn Map update was produced.

While the neighborhood surrounding the C, St. P, M & O RR Passenger Station was in transition, after World War I Rice Lake's population continued to grow but at a slower pace. In 1920, population stood at 4,457, by 1930 it had grown modestly to 5,177, and by 1940 had risen to 5,719. Unlike many rail facilities, the presence of the C, St. P, M & O RR Passenger Station along Tainter Avenue appears to have contributed to a stable, mixed-use commercial and residential neighborhood through the post-war years. Both modest and substantial single-family residences facing the east-west streets in surrounding blocks remained well cared for. Congregations for three churches and a parochial school retained their nearby locations in 1945 with a public school added. The commercial use of the cold storage cheese warehouses was accepted as part of a necessary relationship between such enterprises and their rail shippers. The only business to completely fade was the Omaha Hotel, already a declining business model before the war. Temporary closure of the Rice Lake station during World War II likely sealed the hotel's fate.

Though functionally a part of the C & NW system since the mid-1920s, the C, St. P, M& ORR Passenger Station continued to be operated by the Omaha Road and be known locally as the "Omaha Station." As noted above, the C & NW had held a controlling 51-percent interest in the C, St. P, M & O RR from 1882 until 1926 when it acquired a substantially larger interest. Though operated independently, the C, St. P, M & O RR was frequently identified as part of the C & NW RR's 9,000-mile system. As with other railroads in America, the C & NW RR suffered financial setbacks during the Great Depression years and the company was reorganized following bankruptcy. The nature of rail business was changing for the C, St. P, M & O RR and the C & NW RR even before the Depression years. Introduction of automobiles and improved highways were impacting short distance travelers by the 1920s. During the same period, growth in the resort business in the northern counties was increasing the number of travelers to the area. In response the C, St. P, M & O RR introduced the Arrowhead Limited, an overnight train from Duluth to Chicago that connected through Rice Lake and other northern communities for the convenience of tourist travelers returning home to points south. Competition from private automobiles and over-the-road bus services further reduced passenger traffic during the Depression.

The resurgence of freight and rail passenger operations after World War II revived activity at the Rice Lake station and the railroad for a time. In 1957 the C & NW RR took another step in its control over the Omaha Road when it leased all of its assets. Four years later in May 1961, passenger service to Rice Lake was discontinued. The last trains to operate were the southbound No. 510 from Duluth to Chicago, which left Rice Lake at 11:18 p.m. and arrived in Chicago the following morning, and the northbound No. 511 with northbound service leaving Rice Lake at 6:40 a.m. and arriving in Duluth at 8:10 a.m. After passenger service ceased, the Rice Lake station remained open for freight operations for nearly two decades. During this period, the C & NW RR officially acquired full-ownership and operation of the Omaha Road in 1972. The last station agent to be identified with the Rice Lake station was John "Jack" White who served from 1960 until the C & NW RR closed the station in the fall of 1979. The station was sold to Kurt Bents of Rice Lake in 1981 and transferred to the current owner, Timothy Miller, in late 2005.

Building Description

The Chicago, St. Paul, Minneapolis and Omaha Railroad (C, St. P, M & O RR) Passenger Station in Rice Lake, Wisconsin is located on the west side of Tainter Avenue immediately east of the former main line track of the C, St. P, M & O RR, commonly referred to as the "Omaha Line." The main line track and adjacent sidings have been removed and replaced by the route of the Wild Rivers State Trail. This 96-mile recreational trail follows the abandoned railroad right-of-way first established by the Omaha and Soo Line railroad companies in the 1880s. The trail begins in Rice Lake in Barron County and extends north through Spooner and Solon Springs in Washburn County and terminates in Superior in Douglas County, with much of its route paralleling U.S. Highway 53.

The roughly triangular-shaped parcel containing the C, St. P, M & O RR Passenger Station measures approximately 65 feet along the north, 264 feet along the east, 15 feet along the south, and 270 feet along the southwest diagonal leg. The site extends along the former northwest-southeast main line route between W. Evans Street on the north and W. Humbird Street on the south. The parcel is level along both the town (east) and track (west) sides. Sections of original brick pavers extend along the east side of the property with concrete sidewalks in place in front of the passenger entrances and baggage room doors on the west side and beneath the platform shed on south side. West of the Wild Rivers Trail the vacant siding area is rock covered. Neither W. Evans Street nor W. Humbird Street are open across the former railroad right-of-way adjacent to the C, St. P, M & O RR Passenger Station property.

State Road 48, or Knapp Street, is located three blocks north of the C, St. P, M & O RR Passenger Station and Main Street, the primary north-south route through Rice Lake, is located two blocks to the east. Tainter Avenue itself is 80 feet wide and extends for only four blocks south of Knapp Street to the C, St. P, M & O RR Passenger Station where it terminates. The railroad right-of-way runs at a slight northwest-southeast angle through Rice Lake.

The C, St. P, M & O RR Station's "town" side faces Tainter Avenue, a two-lane asphalt paved city street with curb and gutter and parallel parking lanes on both side. A cluster of commercial buildings is located on the east side of Tainter opposite the C, St. P, M & O RR Station. The one-story frame building at 411 Tainter Avenue, which continues to be occupied by the "Big O" (for "Omaha"), is a neighborhood tavern once patronized by railroaders as a result of its proximity to the C, St. P, M & O RR Station. Rice Lake's central business district is located several blocks east of the station. It extends along both sides of Main Street between W. Humbird and Messenger streets. Between the station and Main Street, the blocks contain a mixture of early 20th century single-family dwellings, late 20th century apartment buildings, a few commercial blocks, a school, several churches, and several paved parking lots.

West of the C, St. P, M & O RR Station, the blocks contain a mix of one and two-story single-family dwellings dating primarily from the 1910s through the 1950s. Most residences are of frame construction with a few featuring stucco or stone finishes. Several blocks to the south, a complex of agricultural storage buildings and elevators are located along the former railroad right-of-way. The blocks to the north along Tainter Avenue contain several metal pole buildings that serve warehouse and storage functions.

The Chicago, St. Paul, Minneapolis & Omaha Railroad Passenger Station was described on its original plans as a "passenger station" though its layout is more typical of combination depots built for the C, St. P, M & O RR and its parent company, the Chicago and NorthWestern Railroad. The term "combination" was historically used by railroads to refer to small and medium sized stations where freight and passenger service were "combined" in the same building. The use of the term passenger station for the Rice Lake facility likely resulted from the fact that it had a larger than normal express room for receiving freight shipments.

The C, St. P, M & O RR Passenger Station has a long and narrow cross-shaped foot print with overall dimensions of 24 to 30 feet (east-west) by 129 feet (north-south). A complete set of floor plans and elevation drawings for the original 1909 station survive. The design for the station and the execution of these drawings was completed by Horace P. Padley, an architect employed by the Chicago, St. Paul, Minneapolis & Omaha Railroad's St. Paul office at the time. The builder for the station is unknown, although notes on the drawings suggest that a "Rice Lake contractor" would be responsible for certain elements. Other notes indicate that stock moldings and fixtures handled by the Omaha Railroad were to be used in the construction.

The C, St. P, M & O RR Passenger Station is built with a 20-inch thick concrete foundation that extends approximately 12 inches above grade where it is limestone faced and 4 feet 6 inches below grade. Concrete foundations beneath the interior bearing walls have a similar 20-inch thickness. Foundation walls have a depth of 6 feet 3 inches and interior bearing walls have a depth of 3 feet 6 inches separating the express and baggage rooms and the general waiting room, lobby and women's waiting room. Bay windows have 1 by 2-foot footings. Concrete and terrazzo floors throughout the building are built on fill except for the lobby area, which has a full-height basement beneath it with an 8 foot 3 inch clearance and concrete floor. The basement houses the boiler with a separate coal bin room extending towards the track. This area is now closed off and under separate ownership. This extension is outside the boundary of the nominated parcel and it is possible that this area was filled in at an earlier time.

The main building and express-baggage wing have 12-inch masonry walls composed of mottled tannish-brown brick and cream-colored mortar and ashlar faced limestone trim for the water table, window and door lintels, and window sills and belt course, which are set 2 feet 7 inches high. The thickness for the belt course and sills is 8 inches and for the lintels is 12 inches. Some discoloration from soot deposits is present on the stone and brick, mostly on the track side.

The building has a moderate-pitched hipped roof (35 degrees) over the main building with similar pitched roofs over the lower express-baggage wing on the north and platform shed on the south. The galvanized iron ridge caps identified as "No. 24" in the original drawings remain in place. The roof surface specified on the original drawings was "A" - most likely an abbreviation for a composition shingles such as asphalt shingles. Replacement composition shingles remain in use in 2006. The building has deep eaves extending 6 feet from the walls on the main building and 4 feet from the walls on the express-baggage wing and from the piers of the platform shed. The eaves are lined by widely spaced boxed modillions (4 to 10 feet apart) on the main building and platform shed.

Railroad stations such as the C, St. P, M & O RR Passenger Station were frequently designed with narrow, linear footprints in order to fit between multiple tracks, sidings, or streets. The principal facade of the one-story station referred to as the "track side" on the original plans faces west towards the main line track. The one-story express-baggage wing at the north contains a separate express room (23 by 24 feet) and baggage room (39 by 24 feet). The main building (67 by 30 feet) in the center contains a general waiting room (31 by 30 feet), a women's waiting room (22 by 30 feet), an 8-foot wide lobby connecting them, restrooms, and an agents office (13 by 19 feet).

A hipped roof open platform shed is located at the south approach to the building. The shed's four piers are set 19 feet on center beneath the roof and with the wide eaves measures 31 by 27 feet. The floor and piers are constructed of poured concrete. The piers have a 4 foot 6 inch footing with an 11-foot steel reinforcing rod connecting the footing to the above ground section. The 6 foot 6 inch square piers measure 18 inches at the base and taper to 12 inches at the cap. Short square half-columns connecting the piers to the beams have decorative pointed-arched spans between the columns and tall wall-mounted brackets on the main building. The spans have narrowly spaced, flat vertical dividers for infill. Both the half-columns and wall brackets have vertical gutter designs that reflect similar rectangular patternwork on the modillions. Portions of the original paint color scheme survive on the interior sections of trim ceiling.

The C, St. P, M & O RR Passenger Station has an asymmetrical arrangement of window and door openings on the east and west facades. On the town side, a projecting rectangular bay housing the men's and women's restrooms is located midway along the main building with a slightly wider wall north of the bay. Separate entrances, each flanked by windows of varying widths are located to either side of the projecting bay. The north entrance leads to the general waiting room and the south entrance to the women's waiting room. On the track side of the main building, a similar asymmetrical wall arrangement has a rectangular bay window located midway along the wall. The windows in this observation bay open into the agent's office and are designed to provide a better view of approaching trains and yard activities than typical flush mounted windows. Like the town side, entrances to the general waiting room and women's waiting room are located to either side of the observation bay. On both facades, the projecting bays do not extend beyond the eaves because of their substantial depth.

Windows in the building contain a mix of sash style and sizes including fixed sash, double-hung, and pivoted windows. Transoms above both the track side and town side entrance doors are single-light rectangular fixed sash. Transoms above the by-pass doors in the baggage and express rooms on both sides are made up of six single-light fixed sash, each measuring 12 by 18 inches. The observation bay on the track side has four double-hung windows, two measuring 46 by 21 inches over 46 by 46 inches facing the track and single sash measuring 21 by 22 inches over 21 by 46 inches on short walls facing north and south. Elsewhere in the building, large pivot and double-hung windows appear in singles and pairs with the upper sash shorter than the lower sash in the main building. In the express-baggage wing, the window openings have 1/1 double-hung windows with steel bars attached on the exterior. The overall effect of the fenestration and deep eaves is the provision of abundant, indirect natural light.

Entrance openings in the main building are set beneath transoms and in between single or paired windows. The same design for the four wood doors features a metal kick plate affixed to the wide bottom rail, two horizontal panels with cove moldings in the lower half, and a single square light in the upper half. The doors have a painted exterior and varnished interior finish. Freight doors in the express-baggage wing are by-pass style built of tongue-and-groove vertical boards with "X" cross supports on the upper and lower haves. Steel plates measuring 1/16 inch are riveted through on each side of the doors. Despite this extra weight the 2½ inch thick doors operate smoothly on their original adjustable hanger tracks.

The C, St. P, M & O RR Passenger Station has a floor plan typical of one-story passenger and combination stations built before and after the turn of the 20" century by railroads operating in the East, Midwest and West in medium-sized towns. These communities had sufficient population to merit separate areas for both baggage and express freight as well as both a general waiting room and a separate room for the privacy of women passengers and their children. The express-baggage wing has concrete floors, plaster ceilings, and unpainted brick finish for exterior walls as well as the 12-inch thick partition wall separating the two rooms. Ceiling height is approximately 14 feet. The floors of both rooms are set slightly above the exterior grade-level concrete walks and platforms.

The main building's floor level is set approximately 21 inches above the exterior grade-level. Floors are built on fill with a 3-inch concrete base topped by large squares of terrazzo 3½-inches thick. The public rooms in the main building have 14-foot ceilings, brick relieving arches over the openings, and plaster covered cove-shaped surfaces at the wall-ceiling joints. The upper halves of the walls are finished in painted plaster and the lower portions have a 5-foot high wainscoting made up of white glazed brick tile. A picture rail molding is set approximately 24 inches below the ceiling and, along with all other interior 5-panel doors, window trim, and casings, has a dark varnished finish. A unique example of cabinetry in the main building is the ticket window located along the west wall of the lobby connecting the women's waiting room and the general waiting room. It consists of two window openings, each measuring 34 by 34 inches set adjacent to one another at the corner of a pair of slightly angled walls. The tile wainscoting surrounds the lower portion of the window. A 10-inch deep, bracketed wood shelf is located at the bottom of each opening on the customer side with a metal grill insert in each of the window. The grill design features closely spaced vertical rods with pointed-arch closures at the tops of alternating rods. The original finish for the grill was described in drawings as "Bower Barff finish" and is still in place. Suspended incandescent light fixtures throughout the main building are a mix of suspended opaque white glass globes and suspended circular metal shades.

Omaha Station - Rice Lake Depot, Rice Lake Wisconsin Track side, looking northeast (2006)
Track side, looking northeast (2006)

Omaha Station - Rice Lake Depot, Rice Lake Wisconsin Track side, looking southeast (2006)
Track side, looking southeast (2006)

Omaha Station - Rice Lake Depot, Rice Lake Wisconsin Town side, looking southwest (2006)
Town side, looking southwest (2006)

Omaha Station - Rice Lake Depot, Rice Lake Wisconsin Town side, looking northwest (2006)
Town side, looking northwest (2006)

Omaha Station - Rice Lake Depot, Rice Lake Wisconsin Town side, freight door detail, express room, looking west (2006)
Town side, freight door detail, express room, looking west (2006)

Omaha Station - Rice Lake Depot, Rice Lake Wisconsin Town side, window detail, baggage room, looking west (2006)
Town side, window detail, baggage room, looking west (2006)

Omaha Station - Rice Lake Depot, Rice Lake Wisconsin Track side, bay window detail, agents office, looking southeast (2006)
Track side, bay window detail, agents office, looking southeast (2006)

Omaha Station - Rice Lake Depot, Rice Lake Wisconsin Lobby, ticket window detail, looking southwest (2006)
Lobby, ticket window detail, looking southwest (2006)

Omaha Station - Rice Lake Depot, Rice Lake Wisconsin Womens waiting room, looking southeast (2006)
Womens waiting room, looking southeast (2006)

Omaha Station - Rice Lake Depot, Rice Lake Wisconsin Baggage room, looking south (2006)
Baggage room, looking south (2006)