Grant will help transform Marion depot into a library

From the tile roof to the original design for the light structures and

woodwork, the Santa Fe Depot, Marion, is being restored to house the

Marion Public Library.

?We?re trying to keep everything original,? said Janet Marler,


The depot has several characteristics that make it unique, including

the bay window in the waiting room, a tile roof, arched ceilings and

the Santa Fe emblem carved into the stone.

?It?s just a beautiful building, and with some work, I think it can

be restored to what it was,? Marler said. ?I am sure it was quite a

show place back then and I?m sure it still could be.?

In an old news article, the depot, built June 17, 1912, is described

as being modern for the day, with steam heating, elegant electric

light fixtures and beautifully decorated walls. The back half of the

depot was for freight and the general waiting room, a women?s waiting

room and station master?s office were located in the front.

Because no pictures exist of the depot when it was built, they are

relying on people telling them what they remember about it.

?People are coming through slowly, saying, ?I know what this was

like,?? she said. ?Slowly it is kind of coming around that we can

figure it out a little bit.?

Most of the people they have talked to so far have been the men who

worked in the freight room and do not know what the waiting room

looked like.

As part of the restoration, the additional walls built over the years

will be knocked out.

?The architect knows which ones are original and which ones have been

added,? Marler said.

They want it to be as open as possible for the library.

?We?ve had several people say that once the walls are knocked out they

want to come see it because they used to work at the depot when they

were younger and they think that maybe they could visualize it better

without the additional walls,? Marler said.

Some of the original aspects of the depot remain in tact, which will

aid in the restoration. That includes some of the original woodwork. A

freight scale will be left in the depot and the original lights are

available to be reproduced.

In addition, Marler said they are looking for earlier things from the

depot or Santa Fe Railroad to install in the depot.

The entrance to the depot, which is about twice the size of the

current library, will be on the east side of the building.

Inside, the library will have a children?s area and fiction and

non-fiction books in the freight area. A Kansas genealogy meeting room

will be placed by the bay window and will include a special Kansas

section and chairs to sit and read.

A special area for kids? story time will be included, too.

To go along with the depot, a railroad section promoting trains and

railroad history will be added. They are hoping to find some

memorabilia, books and artifacts relating to the railroad, especially

the Santa Fe line.

To the east of the depot, a small, relaxing park will be built. It

will include park benches and flower beds. It may contain a gazebo for

story-time or for people to sit in and read as well as the Chingawasa


The majority of the funding for the project is coming from a

transportation enhancement project grant, which is providing a little

more than $700,000.

In addition to the grant, the library is continuing to raise its

portions of the funds, $151,000, through sales of bricks, cookbooks

and t-shirts. Currently they have raised $15,000.

?It plays such an important part in Marion?s history,? Marler said of

the depot. ?I just think if we are going to have this much money to

spend on restoring it we need to try our best to spend that money

wisely and restore as much as we can.?

Marler said work will begin on the depot January 2001, when they

receive the grant money, and should be completed in 12 to 15 months.

To this point, all of the floor plans and designs have been completed

by Ed Kinney and Jim Pettijohn, Overland Park, who have worked with

historic buildings before.

In a couple of months it will go to bids for a contractor and


?If we can have local people we will look at their bids,? Marler said

?We will try to keep it local, but some stuff they won?t be able to

do, like the tile roof and masonry.

?We are trying to help the community out as muc

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