Union Depot in St. Paul will celebrate local railway history with special activities on Saturday, September 20 from 11:30 am – 6:00 pm. The public is invited to attend a screening of “Back on Track: The Rebirth of St. Paul’s Union Depot,” a documentary by Greg Ellis about the renovation of the historic structure, followed by a Q & A session with the filmmaker. Author Bill Schrankler will speak about his recent book, “Shadows of Time…Minnesota’s Surviving Railroad Depots,” and noted historian and author John Diers will lead a special tour of Union Depot. The events are free and open to the public. The documentary screening and the special tour require free tickets, click on “Events” tab at www.facebook.com/uniondepot.
Ellis’ film, a detailed chronicle of the dramatic renovation of the historic gem, will be shown in the Red Cap Room on second floor at Union Depot. Guests will be treated to a review of the meticulous work by dedicated teams of architects, engineers, construction workers, historians and preservationists that culminated in the transformation of the building from an empty, decaying state back to its magnificent original glory complete with modern amenities. Ellis is an independent corporate live event and video producer/director who has contributed to more than 100 major corporate productions.
Schrankler, son of an Orphan Train Rider, has had a lifelong love affair with trains and train depots. His book, co-authored with Frederick L. Johnson and published in 2013, covers 168 of Minnesota’s existing railroad depots with beautiful photography, maps and history. He will read from his book and discuss Minnesota’s rich railroad history. Eleven images from his book have been enlarged and will be displayed at Union Depot in the Head House below the East Clock from September 8 through October 31.
Diers, author of “St. Paul Union Depot,” will lead guests on a tour of the historic space. His book, also published in 2013, is a rich historical account of Union Depot, from its golden days in the 1920s when hundreds of trains came and went each day and more than twenty million pieces of mail were processed each year, to the early 1970s when passenger rail travel ceased for more than 40 years.
In addition to the special events, Union Depot will host the September 17 return of the Riders on the Orphan Train audio-visual production. For more information about the events and for ticketing to all events, including the Riders on the Orphan Train performance, visit www.facebook.com/uniondepot.