This building was originally located in Dahlgren township in Carver County and was moved to Lakeville in 1870 to be used as a station for the Hastings and Dakota Railroad. The Hastings and Dakota Railroad line was built between 1868 and 1869 and was later renamed the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul, and Pacific Railroad. This depot was moved to Lakeville to replace a temporary platform along the railroad. The depot was moved to Dakota City in 1970. The track was purchased from a Texas salvage company. The building is divided into three rooms.
Passengers entered the waiting room to purchase tickets and wait for the arrival of their trains. People who wished to ship something by rail would transact their business with the depot agent through the window. The depot agent would accept the shipment and make a waybill. A waybill was a slip of paper telling the weight, date, price, destination, and the train car number for that object that was being shipped. The waybill went with the train car and was carried by the conductor. The blackboard tells the train arrival and departure times. The benches were provided for people awaiting the arrival of the next train. The stove would have burned coal for fuel.
Depot Agent’s Office:
The depot agent’s office is where the agent sold tickets, sent messages and did the book work. The depot agent knew Morse Code and sent messages to other depots with a telegraph key. Each depot had its own call letter. Morse Code is a series of dots and dashes. Each dot and dash represents a letter of the alphabet and the dots and dashes are strung together forming words. The train message hoop held a message tied on a string. The depot agent would hold the message hoop near a passing train and the engineer or conductor would slip his arm through and receive the message as a train went by.
The Freight Room:
The freight room was the place where the incoming and outgoing mail, baggage, and small freight were kept.
It took four days by rail to travel from New York to San Francisco.