Depot features museum and tribute to singer Peggy Lee
A new treasure has been unveiled in the city of Wimbledon, thanks to the hard work of the Midland Continental Depot Restoration Committee.
For the last five years, the group has been working to renovate the original depot and create a museum to honor singer Peggy Lee, who lived and worked at the Wimbledon depot as a young high school girl.
A grand opening event was held at the end of May to showcase the historic building.
Treasurer Mary Beth Orn said, “This place has it all. You can step back in time and see how the depot looked and read about how it operated. Our Peggy Lee collection has so many interesting things, too.”
The main floor features the freight room, depot agent’s office, and waiting rooms for both men and women. The history of the Midland Continental Railroad is told through displays and interactive sound. The museum has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It is the only remaining depot built in 1913.
Norma Deloris Egstrom, known as Peggy Lee, lived and worked at the depot from 1934-37 while she attended Wimbledon High School. Her father served as the depot agent. They lived on the second floor which has also been restored to the time when Peggy Lee lived there. The upstairs living room area features displays, three of her performance dresses, tidbits from her high school years, memories of classmates, memorabilia and music of Lee.
According to museum president Les Koll, the restoration project has been very successful. “We were very fortunate to have so many people, organizations and businesses support our efforts.”
Future plans will include restoring the Midland caboose, flat car and car shed.
Regular visiting hours are from 1 to 4 p.m. Memorial Day to Labor Day. Special group tours may be arranged by calling Orn at 701-435-2875. Admission is free but donations are encouraged.
Orn concluded, “Everyone should make a trip to Wimbledon for an educational, interactive and entertaining experience that the whole family will enjoy.”