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From: "jdent1 AT optonline DOT net" jdent1 AT optonline DOT net
Date: Wed, 19 Feb 2003 15:21:03 -0500
Subject: Waukesha, WI and Waukesha County Depots
"WilliamsSt.jpg" - image/jpeg, 18092 bytes, 260x162 (24bit)

Caption: WilliamsSt - Formally known as the Williams Street Station, this
former depot will open it=92s doors as L'Estacion Mexican restaurant on

Caption WilliamSt2 - Sitting in "Whiterock" dinning car, Marco "Tony"
Marquez, owner of Jalisco=92s on Whiterock Avenue and El Jardin in
Janesville, will open L'Estacion at the site of the former Williams Street

station on Tuesday

This article, from the Milwaukee Freeman Newspapers, the last part lists
the 13 remaining depots in Waukesha County

Effort to preserve train depots has plenty of steam in Waukesha County

By KATHY MANGOLD - GM Today Staff February 15, 2003

WAUKESHA - In a newspaper article dating back 30 years, a writer advised
anyone interested in Waukesha County=92s train depots to "make their last
inspections soon=2E"

"The next visitors will be archaeologists," he predicted

At that time, the prognosis was bleak for the structures that had outlaste
the railroads=2E In the 1960s and =9170s, railroads consolidated, cut back

passenger service and discontinued many lines

The depots, once the hub of a community=92s comings and goings, stood sile
Railroad companies, unable to maintain the structures, allowed the
buildings to deteriorate=2E Many were torn down; the rest, "vacant and in
various stages of decay and disrepair, wait with shame to die unmourned,"
according to a 1977 photo essay

Things have come a long way

The county boasts 13 stations still in existence - and for the most part,
still in use=2E Some are occupied by businesses, others have been converte
into homes=2E Most of them have been turned into restaurants or museums

"Quite a few depots have survived in the southeastern Wisconsin region,"
said Rob McGonigal, editor of Classic Trains magazine, published in the
town of Brookfield by Kalmbach Publishing

All around the United States, depots have become popular sites for
restaurants, he said=2E "The size is right and you=92ve got a ready-made t

The Main Street Depot in Oconomowoc is a classic example of a handsome old

depot that=92s found a new life=2E After the Milwaukee Road pulled its
passenger service in the mid-1970s, it was vacant for years, then used as
taxi service and youth center, among other things

Today the depot is a popular restaurant and on the National Register of
Historic Places

Better yet, there=92s an active line that passes right by the restaurant -
extra thrill for train buffs, McGonigal said

"Once the trains are gone, the depots lose their meaning," he said

Small-town train depots have been bright spots for historic
preservationists for two reasons, McGonigal said=2E First, they are modest
size and fairly easy to resurrect and renovate=2E "A handful of dedicated
people in a community can save a depot," he said

Second, the buildings are loaded with meaning, even if the trains are long


"Depots were right up there with churches and schools as a central buildin
in a community=92s life," he said=2E "We=92ve still got that cultural memo

That strong link to the past is fueling an effort in Brookfield to restore

its train depot - even though the station is still technically in use

The Elmbrook Historical Society has asked the station=92s current owners,
Canadian Pacific, if the society could coordinate an effort to repaint the


"They were happy we were going to do it," said Marion Bruhn, president and

curator of the society=2E "They said they didn=92t have the resources to d
o it=2E"

Bruhn said a community organization has volunteered to do the project; the

painting will start in spring

"It=92s going to be lovely when it=92s painted," she said

It=92s no secret that the society wants the exterior to look good; eventua
they would like to see the entire station restored if and when the train
line vacates the building

"As it stands right now it=92s missing a cupola," said Donna Gager, a memb
of the Elmbrook Historical Society=2E "We=92d hope to replace it=2E"

She is determined that the station be another example of Waukesha County
stations brought back to life

"It=92s still a charming building and has a lot going for it," she said


Mexican restaurant opens
Tuesday in Waukesha depot
WAUKESHA - One look will tell you: This isn=92t your great-grandfather=92s

train station anymore

The Waukesha train depot on Williams Street may indeed be a historic
landmark, but that hasn=92t stopped its new owner, Marco "Tony" Marquez, f
giving the depot-turned-restaurant a playful face lift

Marquez will be relocating his restaurant, Jalisco=92s, from its Whiterock

Avenue location to the depot=2E He is renaming it "La Estaci=97n,"
incorporating both its history as a train station and its future as a
Mexican restaurant=2E The new restaurant will open Tuesday

"It=92s taken a completely different direction," he said

The newly painted exterior, trimmed in turquoise, red and orange, gives
some hint of what=92s within=2E The walls and woodwork inside are brightly

trimmed; books of South American art and by Mexican artist Frida Kahlo sit

on a counter cluttered with blueprints and plans=2E Marquez said the vibra
color schemes chosen for the restaurant were inspired by such art

The former owners of The Waukesha Depot restaurant left photographs and
artwork of the depot; Marquez plans to incorporate some of them into the
decorating scheme

The large train station clock still hangs above the bar and little has bee
done structurally, but Marquez said that otherwise the renovation has been

extensive=2E Polished marble floors replace two layers of carpeting=2E The

kitchen and the two boxcars used for dining have been completely gutted an
refurbished=2E There will be all-new furniture throughout the facility

Marquez has owned Jalisco=92s for 10 years and has spent the past few year
looking for new and larger quarters

"I never thought about buying this place," he said=2E His real estate agen
proposed the idea and called the owners=2E Within a few days, the deal was


"I was inspired to do something great," he said=2E "This here is beautiful

The station was built before the turn of the century, during Waukesha=92s
heyday as a resort destination=2E The city was well-situated for that
purpose, said Sue Baker, director of the Waukesha County Historical
Society=2E Passengers from as far away as New Orleans could make the trip
the city and its natural springs without ever having to transfer trains

The Williams Street station was one of three stations in the city=2E It=92
where Chicago & North Western=92s route "The 400" would stop; it got its n
because that=92s how many minutes it took to get from Chicago to Minneapol

While earlier restaurants at this site opted for a traditional decor that
replicated the era of the Iron Horse, Marquez said that isn=92t the
atmosphere he is setting out to create

In addition to the eye-popping trim, the walls are covered with faux
marbling by Milwaukee-based artist Juan Flores that is more than it seems:

Look closely and you=92ll see they=92re really outlines of human figures

"This will be a festive place, one that people will want to come back to

It might seem ambitious to go from the intimate setting of the current
Jalisco=92s to a restaurant capable of serving 250 patrons at once=2E Yet
31-year-old Marquez does not seem fazed=2E He also owns another large
restaurant, El Jard=92n, in Janesville=2E The capacity at that restaurant

La Estaci=97n will serve many of the same dishes as Jalisco=92s, but will
include more upscale entrees, seafood and homemade desserts=2E The wine li
will include varieties from Chile, Argentina, Spain, South Africa and
Mexico=2E There also will be margaritas on the menu - which were noticeabl
absent at Jalisco=92s, only licensed to serve beer

"Once we=92re open people will see all the work we=92ve put into it," said

Marquez, who has spent six months in renovation

"It=92s amazingly beautiful=2E"


Train stations still offer sentimental journeys

WAUKESHA - It was the place where journeys would start, travels would end
or maybe it was just a stop along the way

Train stations were romantic and rugged all at once, where goodbye kisses
hung in the air thick as coal smoke=2E No wonder we continue to be fascina
by all that a train depot represents

Here in Waukesha County, an estimated 13 depots remain from the railroad
era, a reminder of the former shape of our communities, when railroads
hauled our goods to market and deposited tourists at our doorstep

Here is a listing of the depots, according to information compiled from th
Waukesha County Historical Society, local historical groups and train
enthusiast Chuck Porter of Oconomowoc

Waukesha: Two depots still stand in downtown Waukesha; the Williams Street

Station has been a restaurant in recent years and will reopen Tuesday as L
Estaci=97n, a Mexican restaurant=2E Another station on Pleasant Street, be
the post office, is owned by Canadian National but is up for sale

"From a historical standpoint, I hope someone buys it and does something
neat with it," said Sue Baker, director of the Waukesha County Historical

Although a third station that was on Madison Street has been torn down,
historians marvel at that old depot because of its structure: Trains
actually passed through the building=2E It was torn down to make room for
Waukesha State Bank parking

Oconomowoc: The Main Street Depot restaurant on Collins Street was built i
1896 by the Milwaukee Road=2E Last year, owners Peggy and Paul Bielik
purchased a Victorian-era car that will be converted into a small banquet

Another former station, this one built for the Milwaukee Electric Railway
and Light Co=2E, is now a residence

Menomonee Falls: Once used to haul freight to and from the city=92s sugar
beet factory, the Milwaukee Road depot was moved in 1973 to Old Falls
Village and now serves as the facility=92s welcome center and general stor

Brookfield: The depot built in 1867 is now owned by Canadian Pacific and i
primarily used for storage=2E The Elmbrook Historical Society is coordinat
an effort to repaint the building, which has fallen into disrepair

Sussex: At one time, there were four train stations in this community - in

part because of the Mammoth Springs Canning Co=2E The only survivor, a
Chicago & North Western line, was moved to downtown in the late 1970s and
has been an ice cream parlor, gift shop and other uses=2E The village
purchased it recently and is turning it into a museum to showcase the
history of Sussex, Lisbon and Lannon

Genesee Depot: The former Milwaukee Road depot now houses a restaurant
called the Genesee Cafe

Butler: Although it didn=92t have a full-fledged depot, this community was

the site of a Chicago Northwest passenger shelter

Hartland: A group of model railroaders is considering acquiring a freight
house, Porter said

North Prairie: The depot on Main Street is now a restaurant=2E A business
occupies the freight depot next door

Nashotah: The onetime Milwaukee Road depot houses a cabinet-making
facility, Porter said=2E This bungalow-style facility is something of a
rarity because the architecture was popular for homes but rarely adapted
for train stations, said Rob McGonigal, editor of Classic Trains magazine
in the town of Brookfield

Okauchee: Little is known about this former Milwaukee Road depot, which is

now said to be a private residence

- Kathy Mangold

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