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History of Community

How Warroad Got Its Name

The Chippewa who lived in the area fought against the invading Sioux who occupied the prairies of the Red River Valley.  The Sioux would frequently invade the territory by way of the Red and Roseau Rivers - a route which ended at the mouth of the Warroad River.  This was the old "war road" from which the river and the village derive their names.

The Canadian National Depot

Listed in the National Register of Historic Places

On Feb 16, 1900 the Canadian Northern Railway train stopped in Warroad for the first time. 

March 3, 1900, CN built the first, original wooden depot.  In 1901 pilings were driven for the railroad bridge. January 2, 1902 the first Port Arthur to Winnipeg train passes through Warroad.  The 50 mile section between Warroad and Baudette is the only trans-continental line to run through the US. 

July 15, 1914 embers from a coal burning engine ignited the original depot and it was destroyed by fire.  Canadian architect John Scofield was hired. By September, work begins on a new, brick depot. The depot is the first one in built in the U.S. by a foreign corporation.  It was negotiated by a special treaty between Canada and the United States.  The cost for the depot was $30,000.

In 1918 the Canadian Northern Railway is sold to, and becomes, the Canadian National Railway.  Until the 1930's, immigration offices were housed in the corner of the depot's waiting room.

In 1977, due to declining demand, CN ended its passenger service.  The last passenger train passed through Warroad July 30 from Winnipeg to Thunder Bay, Ontario.  September 13, 1978 by signed orders from the Minnesota Dept of Transportation, the depot was closed.  CN made it known it wished to sell the depot and have it moved.  The people of Warroad wanted to work to keep the depot as a symbol of Warroad's past.  In 1980, Governor Quie signed a bill making the depot a state historical site.  The next year, the Marvin family donated $25,000 to purchase and renovate the depot in memory of George and Almina Marvin.  In 1982 the depot was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Restoration of the depot began in November of 1983.  Original oak doors, window casings, countertops and woodwork were restored.  In 1985 the depot reopened as a facility for the City offices.  The baggage room became the public library, the upstairs living quarters became the museum, and the waiting room was remodeled into the City Council Chambers.  On July 4, 1985 is was dedicated in the memory of George and Almina Marvin. 

In 1990, a new Public Library and Heritage Center was built across the street.  The Warroad Police department occupied part of the building from 1990 to 2005 when they relocated the new Public Safety Building.  The depot still houses the city offices and the building inspector. 

Approximately 20-24 non-passenger trains per day still pass through Warroad.


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