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Winifred Montana Train Depot
Winifred Depot Photos
Koffler Baby Pictures
Depot Pictures
Winifred Montana Contact Me

The Depot, September 2002

Agriculture Chemicals Flank Side of Depot
Other Items Stored Inside

The Depot, September 2002

The Depot, April 1948

Winifred Montana.  An aging Train Depot once buzzing with activity is now controlled by the Central Montana Coop.  According to Paul Seilstad, Cenex States Manager for the Coop, "The depot is still in sound conditon despite broken windows and boards nailed over windows and even with its ragged appearance and the roof doesn't leak."  But the depot's hardwood floors and interior are most certainly showing signs of wear.  Says Helen Koffler, the Milwaukee Freight Manager's wife (1946-1950), "Fifty years ago the living areas were well kept up.   My small children Mike, Cindy, and Mona put a lot of miles on those floors". 

For many years the depot floors creaked in solitude as temperatures fluctuated dramatically with the changing seasons.  The empty rooms, barren for decades, are now stocked with farming chemicals, fertilizers, feed, seed, fencing materials, batteries, and other farm products.  The outside of the depot is unceremoniously decorated with small tan colored cannisters and stacks of pallets appear on one side, in stark contrast to those erstwhile days of spit and shine.

Many events resurface in this writer's memory from those days, like the time I was playing with some metal washers I'd found.  Somehow one of the washers became stuck on one of my fingers.  My whinning and frustration was noticed by a man who came into the living room of the depot with pliers and some other tools!  Fortunately, my mother applied some "Crisco" shortening to my finger and slipped the washer off.


This dog was a show off...always hogging the spotlight.

Winifred Was Final Stop For Lewistown Trains

I watched many of the Milwaukee trains make their daily runs in and out of Winifred.  Much of the time, I was safely behind a wooden playpen my dad built to keep me away from the tracks.  The pen was constructed out of 2X10s in a triangular shape.  I spent many hours each day in the pen along with my dog taking only brief moments to look up to see one of the 300 series Milwaukee freight trains pull into the depot and then pull out again going the same direction they came from (Winifred was the final stop on the line).  To paraphrase Jim Arthur, noted Winifred Historian, the railroad made its first appearance around Winifred about 1913.  Viewing the Montana Branch Line Operations map below, Winifred is the last stop in northern Fergus County in a sparsely populated area of the state.  North Fergus County is noted for its hunting and fishing as well as its large tracts of farming which contribute to the economy of the area.

Mike Koffler, 1948 at the Milwaukee Depot

The Depot, March 2002.

The Depot in Winifred has deteriorated in recent years.

In the 40s, operations north of Lewistown
ran three times weekly in a circuitous
day-long trip to small towns around a spot
called Roy Junction.  The train would leave
Lewistown at 9:20 a.m. arriving at Roy Junction
by mid-day (43.5 miles).  It would then head
west arriving in Winifred by mid-afternoon
(22 miles) and finally arrive in Lewistown
about 5:55 p.m. just in time for dinner.  This
website host recalls watching many of those
trains arriving and departing the depot in Winifred.


© 2002 Michael W. Koffler. All Rights Reserved.

The March and September 2002 images of the Winifred Train Depot on this page are Copyright © 2002 Sue Kucera. All Rights Reserved.