Soo Line depot should be preserved

To the editor:

Congratulations to Dean Proper on his efforts to preserve our area’s railroad history with the replica of the Zachow Depot at Heritage Park. My grandfather was employed by the Chicago and Northwestern Railroad Company for 30 years as a freight conductor. Railroading is in my family’s blood.

It pleases me to see that Mr. Proper has taken the time to keep Zachow’s history alive, and also show the importance of the railroad. Job well done.

I am disturbed to see a piece of Shawano’s railroad history deteriorating. The old Soo Line (now Canadian National) depot on Green Bay Street is being ignored. This depot is a major piece of Shawano history.

A railroad company was established on this site. It was a major line of commerce for northern Wisconsin’s forest and lumber industry. Please refer to historian and author Ila Moede’s Shawano history books for more details.

When I was on the Shawano County Historical Society’s board of directors a few years ago, I questioned why the society had not taken an interest in preserving this historic structure. I was informed that the railroad company offered to sell the depot to the society for a very cheap price. The society declined the offer. The Zachow Depot is a replica. The Soo Line depot is an original building.

Thankfully, the Chicago and Northwestern depot, on South Main Street, has been preserved and is being occupied. It is a shame that the Soo Line depot is not. This saddens me every time I drive by it. A piece of Shawano history is wasting away.

Railroad enthusiasts, I encourage you to contact city, county and historical society officials in taking steps to save this depot. Do not let it disappear from our community.

If we don’t act soon, this piece of original history will be gone, forever.

Ron Dahm
Shawano