My Idaho: The historic Nampa Depot

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Posted at 5:15 PM, Dec 19, 2021

NAMPA, Idaho — The Nampa Train Depot is a historical brick and sandstone building that was once part of the Oregon Short Line over one hundred years ago.

Stepping inside takes you back to an almost forgotten time.

"The attraction of trains is they take you places; they take you into adventures," said Aldis Garsuo with the museum that's located inside the depot. "So, imagine back in the late 1800s and you hear a steam engine for the first time in the distance to those people that is equivalent to what the internet is to us today."

The Nampa Depot was added to the National Register of Historic places in 1972 and is the only surviving depot of this style in the nation. Once inside there are plenty of stories of the engines and railroad barons who helped the west come alive, like E.H. Harriman who ran the Union Pacific railroad.

"Mr. Harriman fell in love with Idaho while riding the rails. Harriman even devised a way to get skiers to the top of the mountain when he had his people back in Nebraska build a lift system on a steep hill in Omaha," said Garsuo.

For anyone who has tried to navigate the streets through Nampa, Garsuo explains why.

"Back then when the railroad came through town it grew from the railroad track well when the town grew they would put the streets ninety degrees to the track which makes total sense because it's still a grid but it's just shifted according to the angle of the track, well that worked until Nampa grew and at some point, they had to square it up with north and south."

For better or for worse, the railroad will always be a big part of Nampa, Idaho.