Grand Canyon Historic Train Depot Project is Underway!

Editor’s note: We have been working with the National Park Foundation for years to protect and preserve America’s national parks through donations generated by purchase of select products. You’ve already read about the restoration of the Grand Helical Stairway at Many Glacier Lodge (now complete); this report concerns our second project, a major restoration of the Grand Canyon Train Depot. Here’s an update from the National Park Foundation. 

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With support from Pendleton and their licensed collaboration partners, the National Park Service facilitated the kick-off of a multi-year project to restore the Historic Grand Canyon Train Depot at Grand Canyon National Park. The full scope of the project will allow future generations to experience and enjoy this popular landmark for many years to come.

Background

The Grand Canyon Depot is a National Historic Landmark constructed in 1910, nine years prior to the Grand Canyon’s official national park designation. The depot is one of three remaining structural log railroad depots in America and still serves an operating railroad. Originally built for the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad, it helped establish the rustic western sense of place for the Grand Canyon. The depot is one of the park’s “front doors,” serving not only as a major arrival point for thousands of visitors each year but a gathering site for over 100 years. Today, it is threatened by serious physical deterioration and fails to meet accessibility standards and adequate function for visitor enjoyment. The restoration project is an attempt to ensure this iconic structure remains accessible and intact in preserving the history of the park.

Exterior

Project Update

Initial work began in late 2017 to produce a scope of work for updating the Historic Structure Report and completion of structural analysis on certain sections of the depot to create an informed treatment plan. The National Park Service secured professionals for contract services to complete both tasks and entered into agreements to begin these assessments. In May of 2018, a structural engineer, architectural preservationist and wood scientist began visual analysis, condition assessment, and structural integrity testing – all necessary steps to evaluate the current building condition in preparation for restoration and preservation.

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Using information gathered during the on-site analysis, the team began to determine building decay patterns and draft a treatment plan. At the same time, an architect has continued to update the depot’s existing Historic Structure Report. This report now includes current structural condition assessment and treatment recommendations, with a special focus on the exterior building envelope which includes the roof, siding, log structure, doors and windows.

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Through these efforts, the National Park Service will have a comprehensive report on the status and integrity of the depot and will have expert recommendations for restoration and repair. Once the information collection and planning pieces are complete, the project will move into the repair phase. Depending on the extent of the treatment recommendations and funding, structural repairs are expected to begin in late 2018 or early 2019.

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The depot is currently open and in use for railway passenger services under the operation of Grand Canyon Railway. The hope is that the depot will remain open for the duration of repairs. The efforts underway will result in a restored and sustainable train depot, poised to educate visitors about the rich history of the Grand Canyon for decades to come. With over 6 million visits to the Grand Canyon each year, it’s a gift that will have a resounding positive impact on the park and visitor experience.

We appreciate the generous support of Pendleton and their licensed collaboration partners on this critical project. Additional status updates will be provided in 2019 as implementation begins.

We are excited to watch the progress of this much-needed restoration in 2019, and will keep you all posted. Thank you for your support!

You can see our National Parks products here: Pendleton for the National Parks

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Thank you, Everyone: Your Gift to the National Parks.

Throughout 2016, we have been donating a portion of the proceeds from all our National Park Collection merchandise to the National Park Foundation, the official charity of America’s national parks, to help support restoration and preservation of two historic national park landmarks. All of our National Park Collection collaboration partners have donated as well. This means that with  every purchase you’ve made, you’ve also made a donation!

“Every single dollar that was donated through your purchases makes a big difference for these incredible gems in our national parks and the people who visit them,” said Susan Newton, Senior Vice President of Grants and Programs at the National Park Foundation. “Ensuring that our national parks and historic sites are preserved well into the future is a responsibility that we proudly share with you, and we are grateful to partners like Pendleton for supporting this goal.”

Take a look at the two projects you’re helping to make possible:

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Many Glacier Hotel, Glacier National Park 

Many Glacier, a beautiful Swiss style lodge nestled in an unparalleled mountain panorama in Glacier National Park, is often called the most photogenic of the great National Park Lodges. Pendleton’s contribution is supporting the restoration of the historic lobby of the Many Glacier Hotel, including rebuilding of the helical stairway.

Many Glacier Hotel’s helical stairs were completed in 1917 as the hotel’s showpiece. The grand helix-shaped staircase led to a magnificent upper-floor lake view, but was removed in the 1950s, along with historic lighting fixtures. The removal of the staircase and lighting fixtures led to the gradual degradation of the historic character of this renowned National Historic Landmark.

Nikki Eisinger, Director of Development, Glacier National Park Conservancy, said of the project, “Many Glacier reflects majestically over Swiftcurrent Lake and is often referred to as ‘The Lady’ in our park.  To recreate the historic look and feel of The Lady has been an incredible undertaking. We are so grateful for the support to make these renovations possible.  When the replica of her original iconic helical stairway is installed this spring, and the lobby restoration is complete, we will have truly done this architectural gem a huge historic favor, having restored her to her original grandeur.”

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Grand Canyon Train Depot, Grand Canyon National Park

The Grand Canyon Train Depot in Grand Canyon Village is one of the park’s “front doors,” serving as a major arrival point for thousands of visitors each year and used as a meeting place for adventurers for over 100 years. This National Historic Landmark is one of the park’s most-photographed man made structures. Pendleton’s contributions are helping improve accessibility and preserve the character of this popular landmark for the future.

“The depot is currently open and currently operated by Grand Canyon Railroad,” said Craig Chenevert of Grand Canyon National Park. “The project is quite extensive, and with support from Pendleton we will begin the process to update the depot’s Historic Structure Report. This document will include an updated and prioritized treatment plan that will inform the sequence of future work.”

Progress! It’s thanks to you.

And the helical stairs? Well, just look!

many-glacier-hotel-restoration-img1The Many Glacier Hotel Lobby is being returned to its original and curious decor. Louis Hill’s vision of an East-meets-West style, with Japanese lanterns and log lodge architecture, designed to lure tourists to experience Glacier National Park via the Great Northern Express, will be re-created.

many-glacier-hotel-restoration-img2This photo shows where the floor of the Lobby was filled in over 50 years ago after the removal of the original double helix staircase. By the opening of the hotel next June, the staircase replica will be installed in this spot, and the lobby will be more like it appeared for the first half of The Lady’s life.

It’s really something to see that old footprint for the stairs revealed, isn’t it? A piece of history that will soon be functional and fantastic.

Photo Credit: Glacier National Park Conservancy