Craig Railroad Depot

Year Listed: 2008
County: Moffat County
Construction Date: 1917
Threat When Listed: Demolition by Neglect – Vacant
Status: LOST

LOST UPDATE: Over the past decade, significant damage and vandalism had afflicted the building. Sitting between active railroad tracks, negotiations began to move the quickly deteriorating building. The Union Pacific Railroad, the Town of Craig, the Wyman Museum, the Museum of Northwest Colorado, the Rocky Mountain Railroad Heritage Society, and Colorado Preservation, Inc. all attempted to finance and arrange for the Depot to be moved. Unfortunately, funding fell through and the Craig Depot was demolished in April 2022.

Though the Depot may be gone, its story lives on at the Museum of Northwest Colorado. Fortunately, Dan Davidson, the museum’s director, saved portions of the building before it was gone forever—the Depot’s clock, a bench, a destination sign, and Carnegie steel have all been salvaged from the building.

ORIGINAL POST: The Craig Depot is an example of architectural style of the early 1900s.  The Moffat Line and the Craig Depot served as the hub of activity for transportation of livestock, coal, supplies, and people to and from an isolated area.  The railroad depot was the end of the Moffat rail line, which was initially planned to run from Denver to Salt Lake City. A loss of financial backing forced David Moffat to scale back his original plans and end the line in Craig. With the harsh winter months and impassable roads, the train served as the main connection to the Yampa Valley, and the line was dubbed the “Moffat Road.” Initially, potatoes and head lettuce filled the trains, but by the 1950s, more wool was shipped by rail from Craig than from any other place in the world. The depot served both Utah and Wyoming in addition to residents of northwest Colorado.

In 1985, the Denver & Rio Grande Railroad shut down the depot, its functions taken over by a computer in Denver. In 2001, the Union Pacific Corporation, the current owners, delayed demolition of the depot and negotiated with the Museum of Northwest Colorado and the Community Foundation of Northwest Colorado to donate the building. However, in 2004, Union Pacific decided against donating the depot, and the building continues to deteriorate. The re-activation of both rail lines surrounding the depot adds to this preservation challenge.

During 2017, CPI had conversations with the Mayor of Craig, who was supportive of moving the building to a new site, but funding is still needed for the movement and restoration costs. The site needs a re-use and restoration plan as well as drawings of the project, and the envelope may need to be re-sealed to prevent damage from vandals.

The Union Pacific Railroad had initially entered in negotiations with the Wyman Museum to have the building purchased and moved. However, the costs associated with relocating the depot were too great for the Wyman Museum to justify taking the building. In order to ensure the depot is a save, the building has to be moved.  The Rocky Mountain Railroad Heritage Society has been in the process of coming up with a way to finance moving the depot. In the meantime, Union Pacific has removed most of the building’s interior elements and holds the threat of demolition over the site. The property will need a new campaign to reinvigorate its preservation efforts, or the site may be lost. 

 Additional Links:

“An Open Letter to Mr. Boettcher,” The Craig Empire, August 30, 1916