Milwaukee Road Depot

You can read about the history and designation of the Milwaukee Road Depot historic landmark.



Milwaukee Road Depot and Freight House




Address: 300 Washington Avenue South

Neighborhood: Downtown West

Construction Date: 1897-99

Contractor: Unknown

Architect: Charles Frost

Architectural Style: Renaissance Revival

Historic Use: Industrial, commercial, transportation

Current Use: Mixed-Use Commercial

Date of Local Designation: 1979

Date of National Register Designation: 1978

Area(s) of Significance: Architecture, Commerce, Industry, Engineering

Period of Significance: 1800-1899


Historic Profile: In the second half of the 19th century, the expansion of railroads to Minneapolis solidified the city as an industrial and commercial center in the upper-Midwest. The Milwaukee Road Depot and Freight House located in the Mississippi Milling District remain lasting monuments to the importance of freight transportation during the early development of Minneapolis. The "head station," situated on the corner of Washington Avenue and Third Avenue acted as the end of the line for the Chicago, Milwaukee, Saint Paul and Pacific Railroad Company. Built between 1897 and 1899, the three-story Renaissance Revival building is detailed with arched doorways, a heavy cornice, and terra cotta wreath ornaments. A tower, originally rising 140 feet, was capped with an elaborate cupola, but was removed after extensive storm damage in 1941. The interior - with marble floors, detailed plaster walls, and carved wood ceilings – also indicates Renaissance influences. Extending behind the station is a long-span, steel truss-roofed train shed that stretches approximately 625 feet. While the last train left the depot in 1971, the train shed remains only one of twelve like it in the United States. In 1998, The City of Minneapolis sold the Depot. The new owners have successfully turned the Depot into a mixed use complex with hotels, an indoor water park, a seasonal ice-skating rink, a bar and restaurant, a banquet space, an interpretive history center, and an underground parking garage.

Photo Credits:

1900, Sweet, courtesy of The Minnesota Historical Society

2006, Minneapolis CPED

Works Cited:

"National Register of Historic Places – Nomination Form," May 1978.

Updated: February 2007

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505 Fourth Ave. S., Room 320
Minneapolis, MN 55415