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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Pacific NW

Historical group to rebuild depot

Kaitlin Manry The Daily World

MOCLIPS, Wash. – For decades, it was the first thing thousands of people saw upon arriving at Moclips. A two-story bottle-green Northern Pacific Railway depot marked the end of the line.

Around 1950, the landmark building was demolished. Now the once-bustling strip of land is covered with yellow grasses and sand – vacant, except for a concrete public rest room. Owned by the Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission, it’s hardly the destination it once was.

But a hardcore group of local historians wants to change that. They’ve won acceptance from the state Parks and Recreation Commission to build a re-creation of the depot on a 5-acre plot of park land. The Moclips-by-the-Sea Historical Society plans to complete construction in 2008 and move its treasure trove of Moclips memorabilia, artifacts and photos into the depot, making it the new home of the Museum of the North Beach.

“It has been a dream of ours, almost since the inception of Moclips-by-the-Sea, to build a replica of the old Northern Pacific Railway Depot as a location for our Museum of the North Beach,” wrote Secretary Lee Marriott in a letter to members. “The idea came to us when we began to scout out possible locations to display our ever-growing collection of North Beach artifacts, and since that first spark we’ve continued to fan the flames. The idea was too intriguing to let go. Was it really a possibility? Could it really happen?”

Standing on the former and future site of the depot, he said, “It’s great. It’s state park property and when we realized that we just decided it was meant to be.”

On behalf of the historical society, which has 326 members from as far away as Virginia, Marriott, President Kelly Calhoun and Treasurer Kathy Jaquet attended a Parks and Recreation Commission meeting, lobbying for the depot.

Their plan fit perfectly with the Commission’s 2013 centennial plan, which among other things, calls to preserve parks with “significant natural, cultural, historical, and recreational resources,” according to Jim Schmidt, an Ocean City park ranger, who manages the North Beach area.

Moclips-by-the-Sea has until Jan. 1, 2007, to make substantial progress toward raising construction funds, obtaining needed permits and preparing construction drawings, or the Parks and Recreation Commission may reclaim control of the land.

“They’ve got a task ahead of them, but they are very capable of holding to that task and building that depot,” Schmidt said. “I haven’t been with them that long, but I sat in a meeting with them (and) it’s been very enjoyable. They’re very, very energetic – a very knowledgeable group of people. … There’s not a lot of draw or interest toward that end of the beach. Putting that depot there would attract visitors to the area.”

Moclips-by-the-Sea, which is hosting an 11-day Moclips centennial celebration that was scheduled to begin June 24, has already raised $10,000 and is looking for grants and donations to cover the rest. Calhoun said he’s not sure how much the project will cost, but the figure will be relatively low because so much is being donated, including the land, architect and construction crew. He’s confident the historical society will meet its 2007 deadline.

Currently the Museum of the North Beach is located in a small building at 4658 state Route 109, former site of Hewitt’s Frozen Foods and Flying A gas station from the 1940s to the 1960s. Though carefully attended to, the museum is cramped. Framed photos and other artifacts are stored in what once was the freezer because there’s not enough space in the main museum.

Calhoun is looking forward to the extra room, as well as historical significance the new depot will afford.

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