Depot receives $245,685 grant

The Great Northern Depot in Princeton.
The Great Northern Depot in Princeton.

Christmas has come early for the Mille Lacs County Historical Society.

Playing Santa Claus is the Minnesota Historical Society, which informed Mille Lacs County Historical Society President Penny Quast on Monday, Dec. 16, that her organization was successful in obtaining a $245,685 Minnesota Historical and Cultural grant that will fund the replacement of a deteriorating roof on Princeton’s Great Northern Depot.

The Minnesota Historical Society’s Historic Resources Advisory Committee recommended the depot roof project for funding at its meetings of Nov. 7-8. The Historical Society’s executive council then approved the recommendation on Thursday, Dec. 12, according to Andrea Kajer, deputy director of internal affairs for the Minnesota Historical Society.

Quast had been eagerly awaiting the news since Tuesday, Dec. 10.

“I called the Historical Society on the 10th and they told me a decision would be made on the 12th,” Quast said.

“I didn’t call Thursday because I didn’t want to jinx things,” she said.

It wasn’t until Monday when Quast arrived at the depot that she learned the fate of the grant request.

“A car pulled up behind me and Carie (City Community Development Director Carie Fuhrman) gets out and says, ‘We got it! We got it! We got it!,’” Quast said.

“We jumped up and down,” she added.

Kajer stated that the Minnesota Historical Society is honored to support the local historical society’s efforts to preserve the state’s heritage.

The Mille Lacs County Historical Society has attempted to receive grant funding for the roof replacement on at least three other occasions, Quast said. All failed.

“I think this is one of the better historical buildings in the county, and people should be concerned about it,” Quast said.

Most recently, the local historical society applied for a grant to repair the roof last spring. Society members were informed in April that the local grant request had been rejected, Quast said.

It was believed that a request from Cook County and the Cook County Historical Society for money to acquire an old blacksmith shop in Grand Marais had taken precedence over the Mille Lacs County because of the impending blacksmith shop sale, Quast said.

With the grant, the failing and leaking roof will be replaced with a new roof that is historically correct in regards to the design originally installed on the depot when it was built in 1902, Quast said.

  • Rodney H Hess

    That is such great news. Coming from a construction and woodworking background, it is so wonderful to hear that. I drive by the old depot all the time, on my way to Walmart, or my dentist. This will be one fabulous improvement for the city of Princeton. Too bad it has taken this long. Old buildings like this can deteriorate very quickly, when the roof starts to leak. It will be wonderful seeing the new transformation. Buildings like this were built to last, for a long, long time. 🙂