Restored BN Depot and WWII Museum
In 1903, when the CB&Q (Chicago, Burlington and Quincy) Railroad Depot was completed, it was a model of modern convenience linking Red Oak Iowa to more urban communities in worlds totally different from life here on the prairie. Rural communities were virtually inaccessible by any method of transportation until lifelines of railroads joined them to more metropolitan societies.
Re-dedicated December 20, 2003, on the 100th anniversary of the first dedication, the restored Burlington Northern Depot now houses a WWII Memorial Museum, dedicated to all those who served in World War II, whether on the front lines (1,100 active duty service participants were from Montgomery County Iowa) or the home front.
During WWII, the citizens of Montgomery County Iowa lost more men per capita than any other county in the United States. Active service participants were assigned to Company F (Villisca - organized in June of 1861) and Company M (Red Oak - organized in May 1879). During WWII, both units were part of the 168th Infantry Regiment, 34th (“Red Bull”) Infantry Division.
our visit to the Depot and Museum, which is ADA accessible, can include docent and self-guided tours, an orientation in the auditorium with a rear projection TV viewing screen, use of the WWII and railroad history research library, and the gift shop. To schedule your tour, call 712.623.6048.
- Free admission
- Monday - Friday 10 a.m. - Noon
- Holidays and weekends by appointment
- Group tours welcome
- Meeting rooms and catering services are available
The architecture of the Depot is the Richardson Romanesque style, which influenced the first Chicago School of architecture and architects such as Louis Sullivan and Frank Lloyd Wright. That style, named after Henry Hobson Richardson, generally follows Romanesque Revival style, incorporating 11th century southern French and Spanish Romanesque characteristics, plus Richardson designs, which can be observed on the depot, such as:
- Recessed window arches (more extensive than the earlier Norman)
- Polychromatic use of 2 colors of stone
- Hip (slopes to sides and ends) roof
- Arches that sit on the columns
- Stone stringer courses
A few city blocks directly north of the Depot is another structure constructed in the Richardson Romanesque Style - the 1890 Montgomery County Courthouse.
The Restored Burlington Northern Depot and WWII Memorial Museum is a project in the Depot Hill Historic Preservation District, and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, cultural resources worthy of preservation, administered by the National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior.