City sees museum as fast track for success of depot project

A railroad museum could be the major attraction when the Kingman Depot rehabilitation project is completed.

"We will have more space for a railroad museum than was originally planned," city planner Rob Owen said.

"Model-train buffs and residents with railroad artifacts are encouraged to participate in the museum plans."

Owen invites residents to an open house at 5 p.m.

Sept.

30 at the Kingman Municipal Complex to view the plans and make suggestions for the depot and the museum.

"We plan a railroad museum in the depot," Owen said.

"We are talking with Shannon Rossiter at the Mohave Museum of History and Art for help and advice."

The city has contracted with the museum to manage the Route 66 Museum and the Bonelli House in order to take advantage of the expertise of the museum staff.

Robert H.

Heureman, retired from 40 years with the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway, told Owen during the last open house that local railroad retirees would "donate a ton of stuff" for a railroad museum.

The railroad and Amtrak have agreed to a lease for the depot that will include a ticket office and waiting room for Amtrak.

The city of Kingman will sublease the property from Amtrak.

The Amtrak waiting room on Fourth Street will be moved back to the depot in 2004, when construction is scheduled for completion.

The $500,000 project is being designed by the historical architectural firm of Otwell and Associates.

Bill Otwell designed the Powerhouse Visitor Center nearby.

The project includes the 4,358 square-foot depot and a total site of 55,000 square feet with landscaping that will extend from Fourth Street east past the water towers.

A shade ramada for the use of tourists is planned at the water towers.

The railroad would not approve use of the depot for a restaurant, citing parking and safety concerns.

The depot is too close to the tracks to allow tourist traffic along the trackside of the building.

The building of Spanish mission revival architecture was designed in 1907 and constructed of poured concrete.

The depot and the Powerhouse Visitor Center are examples of poured concrete construction of the early 1900s used to make buildings fireproof.

Two previous depots burned to the ground on the same site.

Steam engines would spew hot embers on the roofs while taking on water at the nearby towers.

Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad built the depot.

It was listed on the National Registrar of Historic Places on May 14, 1986.

The city has been approved for a second grant to purchase the land between the Powerhouse Visitor Center and the depot for development as a park.

Walkways and landscaping will tie the entire area together and provide a way for visitors to walk from the Powerhouse to the water towers.

Downtown merchants hope the completed project will encourage tourists to walk and shop in the Beale Street area.