Miranda Depot History (draft)

Author: Bev Wilkinson

In 1886, the small town of Miranda sprouted up with the arrival of the Chicago and Northwestern Railroad. There were already a few houses built, and the town was named by the railroad in memory of the railroad President's mother.

Through the years the railroad brought many supplies to Miranda, including lumber, posts, wire, machinery, coal, fuel (gas and kerosene.) Also, families, their possessions arrived by rail. Mail came in and out by rail; Miranda had the first postmaster in 1887. The railroad shipped grain out, with grain loaded by wheel barrow and ramp into boxcars during the early years. A stockyard (probably owned by Phil Findeis) allowed cattle, pigs and sheep to be shipped to other mamarkets. Wool and cream were shipped, with the wool being bagged for shipping in the depot's freight room. The "Gallopping Goose" provided residents transportation and a trip to Faulkton (nine miles away) for 25 cents.

Curt Landon was the first depot agent to send a telegraph message from Miranda, probably in 1893.

Richard Blauert was on of the first section bosses. His daughter, Mabel Blauert Stammer told of going with her father when he checked the track and to listen for the train arrival, because he didn't hear very well and he wore a heavy ear-muffed cap. She said at night the young folks would take the hand pump car for rides, unknown to her dad.

The depot was used as a church part-time until 1908, when the present Miranda church was built. The waiting room and freight room also as a community meeting place, dance hall, and men gathered to keep warm, visit, and gamble.

J.E. Moul was depot agent, probably holding the position the longest of all agents, from 1900 to 1937 or 1938. Tales have been told how Mrs. Moul would come to the depot and the men, who had been gambling, would hurriedly exit by any means (including windows) to escape her wrath.

F. P. Geyer was agent when the depot closed on April 30, 1938. It reopened October 10, 1941. Donald Nultemeier, who graduated from Northville High School in 1940, learned Morse code from Mr. Van Squake, Northville's Agent. Donald became relief agent, living in Miranda for a short time. (He is Ceylon Hoffman's father.) Her mother tells that people living around would come to the railroad well to get water.

F. F. Varing was agent from January to Sugust 1943. William ("Bill") Gilbert was agent until his death in 1957. He worked six hours a day, and pay was $106 per month. Katherine and Bill slept in the waiting room and ate at a boarding house until they found a house. Then, their children came to Miranda to be with them.

Ronnie Schorg, from the Clark area, was probably the last agent. The depot was shut down on March 15, 1958, as part of the rural agency consolidation effort.

The railroad, showing a loss for several years, sent out unusable freight cars so that only a few out of 20 cars would be usable to ship grain out. The railroad shipped its last cars in 1968, and the tracks were removed a few years later.

The depot was removed from its location on the north side of the elevator in the late 1960s to the south side of the elevator road in back of the Findies hardware store, and it was used for storage of lumber, plywood and shingles.

In 1992, the building was purchased by Craig and Judy Hodson, of Ventura, California, and moved to a location south of Ipswich on Highway 45.