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Duluth Depot

St. Louis County Heritage & Arts Center

4 Museums, 8 Organizations, 1 Amazing Building

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See more, for less

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Enjoy all the museums of the Depot with 1 ticket!

Visitors Guide

So much to do, see, and experience.
Treat your family to a visit they will never forget.

Lake Superior Railroad Museum

Lake Superior
Railroad Museum

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Rated THE BEST railroad museum in the country, the Lake Superior Railroad Museum houses historic rail artifacts from Minnesota and across the country.

Our Team

Duluth Art
Institute

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The Duluth Art Institute enriches daily life with dynamic, innovative arts programming that upholds excellence and promotes active community participation with galleries open every day.

Our Team

St. Louis County Historical Society

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Beautiful collections of historical artifacts from St. Louis County and the area. With exhibits ranging from the Forest History Gallery, to other rotating exhibits.

Our Team

Veterans'
Memorial Hall

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The Veterans’ Memorial Hall is a program of the St. Louis County Historical Society that explores the diverse human experiences of veterans, their families,
and communities.

Admission Information

Get a ticket that includes fun for the whole family including 4 exhibiting
organizations
under one roof, at The Depot.

 

Adults 14 and over $12.00 each
Children

3-13 yrs

2 yrs and under

$6.00 each

Free

AAA and AARP Memberships

Price Discounts

10% off each
Group Rates*

10 or more: $1 off
20 or more: $2 off

Call for Youth, civic, & Church group pricing

 

To schedule a group visit,
call the group sales coordinator (218) 733-7503 or Contact Us today.

Tickets can be purchased at the Depot front desk year-round.

 

Building Hours

Summer

(Memorial Day - Labor Day)

Winter

(Labor Day to memorial day)

Monday-Saturday

9:30am - 6:00pm

10:00am - 5:00pm

Sunday

9:30am - 6:00pm

1:00pm - 5:00pm

Click Here for a floor map of the Duluth Depot.

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Organizations in the Depot

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In addition to exhibits, the Depot is home to performance organizations,
clubs, and an operating scenic railroad

Inside the Depot

Select any of the organizations below to be taken to their websites.
Learn and explore at YOUR historic Duluth Depot.

About US

North Shore
Scenic Railroad

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Train rides along the beautiful shoreline of Lake Superior. Narrated excursions from one-hour to full day trips, with special events all summer. All trains depart from the Duluth Depot.

About US

Duluth
Playhouse

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The Duluth Playhouse offers exceptional entertainment, training, and performance opportunities in theater arts that may inspire, challenge, and engage the region we serve.

About US

The
Underground

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The Underground is the Duluth Playhouse's event space located in the Duluth Depot. A smaller theater featuring a wide variety of performances, and daily entertainment all summer long.


About US

Matinee
Musicale

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Matinee Musicale provides musical programs to conduct artistic, cultural, educational, and charitable activities. Offices located in the Duluth Depot.

Minnesota Ballet

Minnesota
Ballet

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Minnesota Ballet is the only professional ballet company in NE Minnesota and is based in Duluth. The Minnesota Ballet tours internationally performing classical and contemporary repertoire.

Arrowhead Chorale

Arrowhead
Chorale

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The Arrowhead Chorale is a vocal ensemble located in the Duluth Depot. They are a non-profit organization consisting of 24 singers.

About US

St. Louis County Heritage & Arts Center

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With an operating historical archive, the SLCHS takes exquisite care to curate artifacts, and works to grow areas such as the Albert J. Amatuzio Research Center to preserve and make history available.

About US

Duluth art institute

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For over 100 years the Duluth Art Institute has been providing visual arts programming to the region encompassing Northeast Minnesota and Northwest Wisconsin through exhibitions & education.

About US

Lake Superior railroad museum

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The member supported and operated Railroad Museum greets thousands of visitors of all ages throughout the year that tour the ever-changing displays both indoors and out..

And St. Louis County!

We’re fortunate to have a fantastic county
made of the good people of the Northland, who support the St. Louis County Heritage & Arts Center, the Duluth Depot.

Our Skills

Space for All Occasions

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We love hosting events of all kinds.
With space for one to thousands,
the Duluth Depot is the place for your events!

Event Space

Perfect place for the wedding you deserve or
for corporate events/meetings that meet your needs.

Click here for more on Wedding Rental Space

Our Skills

Visitor Feedback

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People love to talk about this amazing place.

Feedback from Visitors

Below are actual testimonials
from visitors to the Duluth Depot.

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About the Depot...

"Between Ballet classes, the Playhouse and the Museums, my kids practically grew up at the Depot, we're very fortunate to have such a wonderful resource in our community."

Christine G.


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About the Immigrant Room Exhibit...

"This is our story, they told me. Hell, this is everyone's story."

Museum guest in 2013

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About the Railroad Museum...

"the Lake Superior Railroad Museum is one of the ten finest train museums in North America."

Jim Wrinn, the Editor of TRAINS Magazine

Tell us your story!

Our Skills

About This Place

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Rich in history, on the National Register of Historic Places.

History of the Duluth Depot

Celebrating 122 years of service to the Northland.


The Duluth Depot was built in 1892, served seven different rail lines, and accommodated 5,000 passengers. In 1973 it re-opened, housing the Duluth Art Institute, Lake Superior Railroad Museum, St. Louis County Historical Society, and five performing arts organizations.

Between 1977 and 1985 it served Amtrak's Arrowhead (Minneapolis–Duluth) and North Star (Chicago–Duluth). Renovations to the Duluth Depot have been proposed to serve the Northern Lights Express rail service from Minneapolis to Duluth.


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Depot Construction

1892, Duluth Union Depot Opens

After a huge population boom in the late 1880's, Duluth and Railroad leaders quickly realized the need for a larger station...continue reading here.

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Early 20th Century Heyday

At its peak, the Union Depot served 7 Railroads and could accomidate over 5,000 passengers a day. Read more.

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Rebirth

1970's Transition & Rebirth

Duluth citizens began to realize the importance of the building after it had been vacant for many years following the end of rail service. Read more.

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CONTACT US TODAY

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Admission Information, Rental Quotes, and More.

Contact Us Today

Answers are just one click away.
Simply contact us today!

The Depot

506 West Michigan Street
Duluth, Minnesota 55802

EMAIL: info@duluthdepot.org

PHONE: 218.727.8025

THANK YOU!
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We’re fortunate to have fans of this place
who support and grow with the Duluth Depot.

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Map of the Depot

Map of the Duluth Union Depot, as of 2014

Tags: Duluth, Depot, Attraction, Event Space

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Published on January 21st by Admin Category: Photography, Website Design Tags: minimal, web, design, inspiration

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Space for Weddings of Any Size

Great Hall Level 3 Capacity 250 seated, 400 standing Facilities Staging area, PA System, Handicap Accessable

This is the wedding space you've been looking for, with its 88-foot ceiling and two original brick fireplaces, the Depot's Great Hall will add elegance and charm to the special occasion. Consider the Depot for wedding receptions, ceremony, and more!

Staging space is available that catering services can use. We have no contracts with any services, so this keeps the options (and prices) wide open for you!

Space for your guests to wander, dance, and enjoy. Ask about adding the Lake Superior Railroad Museum as an option for coctail hours or just a fun additional area to explore!

Click Here for more!

Dream
Plan
The Big Day
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Lake Superior Railroad Museum

Level 1 Capacity 250+ Facilities Prep areas, displays, kids areas, unique setting.

The Railroad Museum is a very cool space to have a classic area for an event. To accomidate events of all kinds, we can setup tables for dinners, coctail tables, and many more options.

Keep your guests entertained with all the displays and other areas to explore in the Railroad Museum, and enjoy this fantastic backdrop for your special event.

Ride the train too! Many groups charter private rides on the North Shore Scenic Railroad and then return to the Lake Superior Railroad Museum for reception time.

To reserve the Lake Superior Railroad Museum, contact Mary Karl: 218-733-7503 or email mary@duluthdepot.org

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The Underground

Level 1 and 2 Capacity Mezz: 150 Theater: 150/300 Facilities Prep rooms, audio system, adjustable seating.

The mission of The Underground is to serve as a community meeting place for culture, conversation, for arts and education, offering diverse programming to foster the artistic and intellectual life of Northern Minnesota/Wisconsin.

The Underground is the satellite theater of The Duluth Playhouse, and when it’s not hosting a production or series of its own, it’s a perfect and unique event space to host your special event. The Underground has hosted everything from business workshops, community presentations, to wedding receptions, and holiday parties. The space is reconfigurable, so it can be an open room, set up with round tables/chairs, or be set up in a theatre style seating—thrust configuration, or in the round. Please note: Rental availably depends on the season theater schedule.

Special LED lighting can be programmed to colors of your choosing and reflect on the historic brick, giving your event have a unique extra touch.

The Underground has a full liquor license so cash and open bar options are available for your rental.

For more information, or a rental application, please contact Producing Director, Crystal Pelkey, at cpelkey@duluthplayhouse.org.

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Board Room

Level 3 Capacity: 24 at table, 20 more seats Facilities Huge table, comfy seats, natural light.

The Board Room is an exclusive place for meetings. Since the Depot's construction, major decisions have been made in this room that have influenced the entire region.

For a nominal fee, this space is available for you to meet. Telephone lines are available for teleconferencing.

Preparing for an event elsewhere in the building? This space also works great for a "getting ready" area.

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Ruth Maney Room

Level 1 Capacity: 40 Facilities: Adjustable arrangement, blank wall for projection, lots of outlets!

This space is by far the most popular meeting room in the building. Perfect for small group discussions, large meetings, training seminars, or preperation area for other events in the building.

Seating and tables are easy to move around, or remove depending on the setup you would like for your event.

Named after Ruth Maney, a philanthropist who made alot of aspects of the Duluth Depot possible.

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All Aboard!

Track 26 miles Capacity up to 800 Facilities Fancy or simple, bars, food, dining, and more.

Take your event out on the North Shore Scenic Railroad for a truely memorable experience riding the rails. Ride times can varry depending on what you want to do.

Pricing is structured so that you can join public excursions as a group, or charter your own train on your own schedule, there are many possiblities to making your event taylored to what you're looking to do.

Over the years, the North Shore Scenic Railroad has hosted weddings, major company and political events, school groups, community events, church fundraisers, tours, and much more.

Contact Josh Miller, Station Manager for more information:
218-733-7594
josh@duluthtrains.com or visit: www.duluthtrains.com

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Celebrating 122 Years in the Northland

By Kim Schandel About Duluth Union Depot construction

Built on the site of the original wood-framed Depot of 1870, this magnificent building sprung up on the edge of the lake, and opened its doors to the world in 1892. Not only does this Union Depot serve 7 rail lines, with up to 50 trains arriving and departing daily, it also becomes a temporary haven to the early immigrants arriving from distant lands.

Architects, Peabody & Sterns of Boston, designed an elaborate French Norman-style building using many local materials quarried at the time such as granite, sandstone and yellow brick. The magnitude and influence of the railroad industry is evident with the dramatic towers and steep roof design seen on many other grand stations of the day.

The historical elements of the era all come together in the building’s design with architectural concepts to depict Duluth’s emerging population: strong, adventurous individuals who travel the seas to arrive in a rugged, but beautiful area to establish a new life. With a castle-like appearance and style – the Depot was designed to greet its guests with a romantic and impressionable welcoming.

Construction took nearly two years, at the cost of $615,000. The original wooden depot remained throughout construction, resting in the center of the tracks under the train shed, until operations could safely be transferred to the new station. It was then disassembled. The original depot location is now home to the LSRM model railroad building.

The first train departed the new Depot in March of 1892, and it continued to serve seven railroads: Duluth & Iron Range, Duluth Missabe & Northern, Duluth Superior & Western, Great Northern, Northern Pacific, St. Paul & Duluth, and the Duluth South Shore & Atlantic until the last train departed in 1969. It ended a century-long era of sky’s the limit development & rail transportation.

The Depot will eventually be placed on the National & State Register of Historic Places, after it survives potential demolition, and is saved by the citizens of Duluth. It will become home to many historical and performing arts organizations and be valued by the community forever.

Growth and Why the Duluth Union Depot was Built:
CENSUS POPULATION
1860 71
1870 3,131
1880 3,483
1890; 33,115
1900 52,969
1910 78,466
1920 98,917
1930 101,453
1960 107,312
1970 100,578
2000 86,918
2010 86,265
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The Depot In Service

ByJosh Miller About: Construction & Early Days of the Duluth Depot up until Amtrak

This building is actually the second depot built on this site. The first was built in 1869 and was a small wooden building. That same year a large group of Swedish immigrants arrived in Duluth. They traveled here for a chance to work on the construction of the first railroad line in Duluth, the Lake Superior and Mississippi. The First passenger train arrived in Duluth the following year. Within the next twenty years the population of Duluth grew and number of railroad lines served the area. In 1891 ground was broken for the Duluth Union Depot the Depot you see today.

In its heyday the Depot served seven different railroad lines and housed the railroad offices, a newsstand, barber shop, parcel room and lunch room. By the turn of the century the building handled 26 trains a day. Passenger service began to decline in the middle of the century and the building saw its last train in 1969. The Depot was then slated for demolition but was saved by the people of Duluth and was placed on the national register of historic places in 1971.

Amtrak started passenger service departing from the Duluth Depot in 1974, offering daily service to St. Paul. This service was extremely popular and continued into the mid 1980s, when political restructuring and other cutbacks in service ended Amtrak’s 10 year stay in the twin ports. The last Amtrak passenger train left Duluth on Easter Sunday, 1985.

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Reinventing the Duluth Depot

By Ken Buehler About: Restoring the Duluth Depot to Today

In the winter of 1969 a lone BUDD Rail Diesel Car, with less than ten people on board, departed Duluth’s Union Depot on its final run to meet the Northern Pacific’s North Coast Limited in Staples, MN for the latter’s run to the West Coast. None of the people on board that train would continue on, they just wanted to say they were the last to ride a passenger train out of Duluth. While AMTRAK later ran trains from Duluth, this was the last of conventional railroad service that began for the Depot when it first opened in 1892.

By 1969 local passenger trains of the SOO Line, Omaha, Milwaukee Road, DM&IR and Great Northern had all faded into what composer Steve Goodman wrote, in “The City of New Orleans”; “This trains got the disappearing Railroad Blues.” Arlo Guthrie and others would make that song a hit in the same year that AMTRAK was formed, 1971.

A year earlier, on March 2, 1970, the Great Northern merged with the Northern Pacific the CB&Q and the SP&S to former the Burlington Northern Railroad, today’s BNSF. That meant that the building which is now the St. Louis County Heritage & Arts Center, the Depot, instantly became “surplus property” and was meant for disposal.

Between the coming of AMTRAK and more railroad mergers, there was no shortage of “surplus property” that the railroads were looking to unload to get off the tax rolls. Communities across America were offered everything from Depot’s to Freight Houses, to cabooses and even old office buildings. The only questions was; what to do with them?

Four people in Duluth figured it out. They were Don Shank, Vice President and General Manager of the DM&IR, his assistant and railroad historian Frank King, Wayne Olson, who was a railroad enthusiast and worked for the City of Duluth and a local attorney, Leo McDonnell, who would become the St. Louis County Attorney.

They envisioned a place where the area’s finest Arts, Culture and History Organizations could move into and live rent free, allowing them to use valuable resources to better serve their missions to grow and become the heart and soul of Arts, Culture and History in our area. The free rent would be possible because of public support and because guest/visitors, then called tourists, would pay to see what these men, and early volunteers like them, would build into a world class railroad museum, originally named the Lake Superior Museum of Transportation, it is today’s Lake Superior Railroad Museum.

Working with long time Congressman John Blatnik, Mayor Ben Boo and St. Louis County Commissioners, the work began. First they had to own the building. Duluth’s Junior League undertook a Twin Ports and County wide campaign to raise the quarter million dollars that the building, which was in excellent condition, and for the time being, was still being occupied by the railroad, would cost. It was a bargain!

Once that was accomplished the founders raised $4.7 million dollars in grants to start the refurbishing of the structure and start building the train shed for the Railroad Museum. The work was not easy and it easily overshot their budget. Many local, regional and national companies rushed in to help finish the dream any way they could. They donated railroad equipment, they restored that equipment, and railroads sponsored train trips on their lines and brought in First Class equipment from their remaining passenger fleets to operate these excursions. They contributed large amounts of cash, employee time and in-kind services. All the money went to build out the Depot and establish the Museum.

These founders, and there were many of them not mentioned by name, like Marilyn Persch, who contributed time, talent and treasure to the project. However, none of them were thinking about that day, those months and years or their time, they were thinking about the future and what the Depot would be like and represent twenty, thirty years in the future.

Today the Depot is a Community Treasure on the National Register of Historic Places, a beautifully restored building used for a wide range of events, over a quarter of a million people come here a year!

The Depot houses four Museum’s including a world class Railroad Museum and is home to America’s longest, continuous running Community Playhouse and has the training and coaching studios the nationally acclaimed Minnesota Ballet. The Duluth Art Institute is one of only two FREE art galleries in the Twin Ports. The St. Louis County Historical Society is the Northeastern Minnesota’s most valuable attic. The Arrowhead Chorale and Matinee Musicale offer a wide range of musical selections.

Simply put, the Duluth Depot is the Heart and Soul of Arts Culture and History for our region! Ken Buehler

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