Endion Train Station was the first-ever passenger train depot in Duluth. Designed in 1899 by rising architects, Gearhard A. Tenbusch and I. Vernon Hill, the structure still stands in Canal Park today.
The building was structured in a Romanesque style, featuring the unique characteristics of Tenbush and Hill. Hill influenced much of Duluth’s early twentieth century architecture, according to the Duluth News Tribune. The building was constructed with Kettle River sandstone and pressed brick as well as local wood, according to an article by James Buchanan in the magazine Railroad Model Craftsmen.
Ken Buehler, executive director at The Depot in Duluth, said that travelers passing through Endion would have a long day of travel.
“Passengers went up in the morning, and by mid-day [they would] be in Ely and Winton,” Buehler said. “You would use the turn around in the afternoon to go back to Duluth.”
According to Buchanan, the final passenger train in Endion’s history pulled away from the station on July 15, 1961.
Fourteen years later, in 1975, the station was added to the National Registrar of Historic Places. Because of this recognition, the building is eligible to receive funds from the U.S. Department of the Interior, and no significant exterior alterations are permitted.
Buehler said it is rare for a train depot to remain in such good condition over time, since the buildings were usually left to rot after the railways stopped using them. Yet, the Endion Train Station was used as an office building for a number of years.
"The station never saw any of the legendary iron ore that was native to the land during its operating days," Buehler said. "Instead, this depot serviced many passengers and moved wood products through the station’s yard."
In 1986, when Interstate 35 was being built through Duluth, the Endion Train Station was in the path of construction, resulting in the relocation of the station. The move cost approximately $368,000, according to the Duluth News Tribune, and the station relocated to its new home in Canal Park on June 26, 1986.
“It was always planned to be moved," Beuhler said. "It was already on the registrar. The federal government moved it, so money wasn't an issue.”
According to Buchanan’s article, a myriad of setbacks kept the moving crew on their toes. They experienced unexpected rain and hail, and one of the trucks almost tipped over as it made its way up Fifteenth Avenue East. The crew also had to cut tree branches and power lines in the process of relocation.
Despite these setbacks, the workers finished the move in close to half the expected time. Since then, the station has stayed in its current location.
Since its move, the building has been owned by the city of Duluth, but it has exchanged hands in a number of leases.
In 2012, the city decided it was time to sell the station, with a starting bid of $200,000. According to the Duluth News Tribune, the highest bid was $300,000. Local entrepreneurs, Rod Raymond and Tim Nelson, owners of Tycoons, Burrito Union, and The Brewhouse, placed the winning bid on the Endion Station.