Laramie Historic Railroad Depot hosts open house

Joseph Cook places a model train on tracks Thursday evening while setting up for Saturday’s Laramie Historic Railroad Depot Open House.

SHANNON BRODERICK/Boomerang photographer

The Laramie Historic Railroad Depot Association is hosting an open house at the Laramie Railroad Depot to show the public model train displays and how the association is preserving the history of the depot, Laramie Railroad Depot Association Board member Charles Van Heule said.

“Every year as a thank-you to the community for what they do for us, we like to do an open house, train show and museum tours with free admission,” Van Heule said. “With the rentals and the donations they really take good care of us, so we want to thank them and we provide them with a couple of days of entertainment.”

For the open house, members of the railroad association — who are all volunteers — have model train displays for the visitors. Van Heule said the displays include a Lego village covering about 255 square feet that is popular with people attending the open house.

“We will have quite a few different sizes of model trains and a Lego village, which is always the big hit,” Van Heule said. “People seem to love it and I receive calls all the time asking ‘Hey when is the Lego show?’ it’s the first weekend of November.”

He said because the association’s members are volunteers, donations and revenue from renting out the depot for events such as wedding receptions and other events is used for maintenance.

The association also works to preserve Laramie’s railroading history and inform the public of train safety, Van Heule said.

“Five years ago, you couldn’t even come in (the museum at the depot) because it was a dump zone,” he said. “We cleaned it up, sorted the artifacts and we are going to start getting them labeled.”

Sorting through artifacts at the depot helped the railroad association preserve its history and made it easier to learn about Laramie’s railroading history. Van Heule said a way they plan to continue sharing the history with the community is to build a replica of Laramie’s stock yards and the railroad that traveled from Laramie to towns in the Snowy Range to promote tourism in the area.

“We are going to be building a model of the Laramie yards represented from 1935-1955 of the old west side of the Laramie Hahn’s Peak Historical Railroad that ran from Laramie to Centennial, Woods Landing and Fox Park,” Van Heule said. “It is going to represent what Laramie looked like from 1930-1950.”

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