Filed Under Whitefish

Great Northern Railway Passenger and Freight Depot, Whitefish

Whitefish served as a division point for the Great Northern Railway from its founding in 1904 until 1955. In 1925, one railroader called it “the most distinctively railroad town on the whole Great Northern system.” The second floor of this 1928 Tudor style building, designed by railroad architect Thomas McMahon, housed the railway’s division offices. Serving as a hub for passenger and freight transportation, the first floor housed the yard office, freight and baggage rooms, warm room, ticket office, general waiting room, telegraph office, men’s smoking room, and ladies’ rest room. Competition from automobiles and trucks had already begun to decrease railroad traffic, so not many depots were built in the 1920s, the height of Tudor popularity; thus Tudor style depots are rare. This depot’s Tudor features include its high pointed roof, stucco and decorative half timbering above clapboard, and multiple groups of tall, narrow windows. Its decoratively carved brackets and rafter tails and second-floor balconies echo similar detailing at Glacier National Park chalets, visually connecting Whitefish to Glacier, a tourist destination widely promoted by the railroad. In the 1980s, Whitefish preservationists worked to preserve this magnificent building, which still serves as a passenger and freight depot. Railroad depots are one of the few types of buildings for which the back (facing the town) is as important as the front (facing the tracks). The stylish façades on both front and back of the Whitefish Depot continue to welcome travelers and reflect the town’s railroad history.

Images

Great Northern Railway Passenger and Freight Depot, Whitefish
Great Northern Railway Passenger and Freight Depot, Whitefish Great Northern Railway Passenger and Freight Depot, Whitefish, front view of the depot, facing north from Depot Park; digital photograph, taken in mid-afternoon. Source: Montana Historical Society Creator: Michael Connolly Date: July 2019
Great Northern Depot
Great Northern Depot Great Northern Depot #1 Central Ave. S John L. Constenius 251 Elk Trail, Whitefish, MT. 2/84 Flathead County (verso) b&w print Source: Official records of the Montana State Historic Preservation Office, Helena, Montana Creator: John L. Constenius Date: February, 1984
Great Northern Depot
Great Northern Depot Great Northern Depot #1 Central Ave. S John L. Constenius 251 Elk Trail, Whitefish, MT. 2/84 Flathead County (verso) b&w print Source: Official records of the Montana State Historic Preservation Office, Helena, Montana Creator: John L. Constenius Date: February, 1984
Great Northern Depot
Great Northern Depot Great Northern Depot #1 Central Ave. N John L. Constenius 251 Elk Trail, Whitefish, MT. 2/84 Flathead County (verso) b&w print Source: Official records of the Montana State Historic Preservation Office, Helena, Montana Creator: John L. Constenius Date: February, 1984
Great Northern Railway Passenger and Freight Depot, Whitefish
Great Northern Railway Passenger and Freight Depot, Whitefish Great Northern Railway Passenger and Freight Depot, Whitefish, front view of the depot, facing northeast in downtown Whitefish from Depot Park; digital photograph, taken in mid-afternoon. Source: Montana Historical Society Creator: Michael Connolly Date: July 2019
Great Northern Railway Passenger and Freight Depot, Whitefish
Great Northern Railway Passenger and Freight Depot, Whitefish Great Northern Railway Passenger and Freight Depot, Whitefish, front view of the depot, facing northwest near Depot Park on the corner of Depot Street and Spokane Avenue; digital photograph, taken in mid-afternoon. Source: Montana Historical Society Creator: Michael Connolly Date: July 2019
Great Northern Depot
Great Northern Depot Great Northern Depot #1 Central Ave. N John L. Constenius 251 Elk Trail, Whitefish, MT. 2/84 Flathead County (verso) b&w print Source: Official records of the Montana State Historic Preservation Office, Helena, Montana Creator: John L. Constenius Date: February, 1984
Great Northern Depot
Great Northern Depot Great Northern Depot #1 Central Ave. N John L. Constenius 251 Elk Trail, Whitefish, MT. 2/84 Flathead County (verso) b&w print Source: Official records of the Montana State Historic Preservation Office, Helena, Montana Creator: John L. Constenius Date: February, 1984
Great Northern Train 28 Arriving in Whitefish, Montana
Great Northern Train 28 Arriving in Whitefish, Montana Great Northern train 28 (skiers from Big Mountain), Whitefish, Montana. A crowd gathers on the platform near the arriving train. Snow covers the ground. Source: Montana History Portal Creator: Philip C. Johnson Date: Mar. 1964

Location

500 Depot Street, Whitefish, Montana | Private

Metadata

The Montana National Register Sign Program, “Great Northern Railway Passenger and Freight Depot, Whitefish,” Historic Montana, accessed April 19, 2024, https://historicmt.org/items/show/65.