RR Historic District Preserves Transportation Hub

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The original railroad depot, built in 1892 for passengers arriving on the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy trains that initially served the city. (Photo by Pat Blair)
The original railroad depot, built in 1892 for passengers arriving on the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy trains that initially served the city. (Photo by Pat Blair)

Sheridan's Railroad Historic District is one of 25 properties and sites in Sheridan County that are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Edre Maier is former executive director of the Historic Sheridan Inn, which is on the National Register in its own right and is part of the Railroad Historic District. She said counties and cities such as Sheridan that preserve their historic buildings retain their integrity as communities.

But she added that educating people on the need to preserve their history is an ongoing process.

The Railroad Historic District was listed on the National Register in 2004, and a master plan for future development of the area received approval from Sheridan's city council in October (2013).

The District covers a 15-block area including the east side of Broadway from Grinnell Plaza north to Dow, and several blocks on the east side of Main Street from First to Sixth Streets. The District includes 151 buildings and structures. According to the master plan, 113 of those are individually listed on the National Register. They include the Historic Sheridan Inn.

The former Sheridan Inn director said though the inn is probably the best known of the places built to serve passengers arriving in Sheridan by railroad, it wasn't the only place. There were other boarding houses, and several restaurants. Houses along Gould Street were originally built to house railroad workers and their families.

She added that since the railroad historic district was created, 11 buildings have been demolished. Listing on the National Register regulates renovations to historic buildings, but it doesn't protect them from demolition. A preservation easement is needed to keep a building from being destroyed. To date, only the Sheridan Inn is protected by a preservation easement.

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One of the historic buildings on the Broadway Street portion of the Railroad Historic District, Sheridan Commercial Company is the longest-operating company in the district. Owners moved the business to Broadway from downtown Sheridan in 1892, when the railroad arrived. The current brick structure was built in 1916 after the original building burned the previous year. (Photo by Pat Blair)