What has been accomplished at the Spooner Railroad Park?
The Park is being developed through the efforts of the Railroad Park Board (RPB) and Friends of the Railroad Park (FORRP), with funding coming from private donations and grants. These groups have created a pleasing area, with extensive landscaping to clear the area north of the roundhouse, prepping for the rock parking lot, and preparing the area for the picnic pavilion, which was built late summer of 2020. Railroad-themed signs were installed in the pavilion along with electricity and plenty of lights, picnic tables, and grills. Part of the landscaping revealed the old decaying weigh station, now called, “The Del Salquist Memorial Weigh Station/Spooner Scale”. FORRP restored the building, bringing it back to its original state, and added “faux” tracks, depicting original use. The group also installed: a sign describing the roundhouse with four more signs describing sites crucial to train operation soon to be installed; three “honor” benches around the pavilion with two more installed in the Park; two new volleyball courts north of the pavilion; guardrail made of railroad ties defining the parking lot from the pavilion; and an ATV path from the Wild Rivers Trail to the parking lot. The turntable area has been cleaned out with lots more attention to come in 2022. Furthermore, FORRP restored the exterior brickwork on the old roundhouse! It’s a strong building, built like a tank, but urgently needed the repair as large portions of the walls could have failed and collapsed. Phase One of the repair was completed early in June, and made a huge difference in the structure and look of the historic roundhouse. Phase Two occurred to repair extensive damage both internally and externally that was discovered in Phase One. All of the eaves around the entire roundhouse had to be pulled off and rebuilt, more exterior cleaning and treatment of the metal parts and doors completed this phase. The Railroad Park Board refreshed the trim, all wood parts, creating a pleasing, more cohesive look. The roundhouse is now secure and ready for future plans, hopefully becoming a community event center able to seat 1,500 people within 5 to 7 years.