The Historic Depot

What is Edwinton? The city known as Bismarck today was formed in 1872 as "Edwinton" after Edwin Ferry Johnson, a chief engineer for the Northern Pacific Railway company back when the railroad reached the eastern banks of the Missouri River. The name was changed less than one year later, honoring German chancellor Otto von Bismarck, in an effort to attract German immigrants.

The Northern Pacific Railway Depot in Bismarck, North Dakota was built in 1900. It is in Mission/Spanish Revival style and was designed by renowned architect Cass Gilbert.  After the Northern Pacific Railway and then Burlington Northern Railroad discontinued passenger service, Amtrak’s North Coast Hiawatha used the station from 1971 until it was discontinued in 1979.

Fun Facts

  • Completed in December, 1901, at a cost of $33,601,
  • Cass gilbert designed the MN state capitol building and the leftover marble from that project was sent to Bismarck and ground up and used in building the Bismarck depot structure.
  • By 1916, the Northern Pacific Depot was serving 24 passenger trains daily
  • It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1977

Visit for more on the Depot. Photos courtesy of Bismarck Historical Society.