Oregon Short Line Passenger Depot, Dillon

The Union Pacific Railroad entered Montana Territory via the Utah and Northern narrow gauge branch line in 1880. The newly platted town of Dillon, named for Utah and Northern president Sidney Dillon, stood ready as a stopping point between Utah and the mining town of Butte. By 1907, Dillon’s Oregon Short Line Depot was handling $1,000 a day in passenger and freight traffic. The old depot building, dismantled elsewhere and moved to Dillon in sections in 1880, was inconveniently located, “…dingy, dirty and absolutely unfit….” Dillon businessmen feared its wretched condition might encourage passengers to choose an alternate route. Mayor B. F. White secured the promise of a new depot from Union Pacific officials, thereby assuring the survival of this railroad-dependent town. On New Year’s night, 1908, townspeople christened their new depot, declaring it “…a credit to a town ten times the size of Dillon.” The Arts and Crafts style brick depot features quoining and banding of cast concrete, multi-paned windows, and wide eaves supported by wooden brackets. Its central presence enhances the architectural character of the community. Rail traffic dwindled in the 1970s and in 1989, the Union Pacific acknowledged the end of an era, transferring its depot keys to Beaverhead County Museum officials. The elegant depot, a splendid example of period railroad architecture, symbolizes Dillon’s roots.

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125 South Montana Street, Dillon, Montana ~ public