The Florence Depot
Owned by: Florence Historical Foundation
The train depot building was built in 1887-1888 but not in its present location. Originally the depot was located at 28th and Grebe* in downtown Florence.
The Omaha and Northwestern Railroad Company* traveled from Omaha to Blair starting in 1870 so it passed right through Florence except there was no depot at the time. When the depot was built, the train traveling from Omaha to Blair had been in operation for 17 years so the depot was a great asset to Florence. It was used as a commuter location to and from Omaha, mail pickup and drop off spot for the local post office, and as a shipping means for large cargo such as coal, ice, lumber, crushed stone, fruit and grains. The depot was always a popular spot and a time of high emotions when folks either came or left. The depot operated from 1888 to 1966 when it was closed for good. The popular era of the train had come and gone.
The building was scheduled for demolition but the Florence Days Association intervened by purchasing the building in 1970 and moving it to its current location in 1971. After being vacant since 1966, extensive exterior repair work was needed, including a new roof.
In 1976, renovation was started to restore the interior to its original working condition. After a lot of hard work, and donations by many, the depot has turned into a great tour of the train era.
Donations from Union Pacific, Burlington Northern, and Rail Car Nebraska added substantially to the exhibits. The museum has a caboose from 1890 and a flat car. Inside the museum, there are several artifacts from the early days along with many stories telling of its history. Recorded messages also tell of the history and tour attendants can answer questions. The Florence Historical Foundation operates the train depot museum. You can learn much more by visiting the train depot at 29th and Dick Collins Road, originally known as 2915 Howell St.* (30th and McKinley*). Following Florence Days in May, the depot is open for tours on Open 11 A.M. to 3 P.M. Saturday and Sunday from June 1st through August 31st. Tours are available during the rest of the year by appointment. The tour is free so you can hold on to your loose change, unless you like the good feeling of helping out.