Northern Pacific Depot "Union Station"

Billings’ first depot was built in 1883, a year after the arrival of the Northern Pacific. Because the first depot failed to meet railroad specifications, the nearby Headquarters Hotel served instead as the passenger station. The hotel burned a few years later and a second depot replaced it. In 1909, the Northern Pacific began to upgrade its facilities and built this splendid $65,000 passenger station to be used by three railroad companies. Designed by the Northern Pacific’s chief engineer, only the Livingston Depot equaled this stylish station. The up-to-date complex featured a spacious waiting area for 200 passengers, gentleman’s smoking room, ladies’ waiting room, baggage area, and service offices. The “lunch house” had its own separate building where a chef “second to none in the employ of the company” had charge of the kitchen. By 1914, tracks extended in ten directions and twenty-six passenger trains arrived and departed the depot daily. Striking red roofs, gabled dormers, and stepped parapets long provided travelers with a grand first impression of this busy railroad hub.

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2310 Montana Ave, Billings, Montana ~ private