Glass lens lantern and signal paddle

(Photo courtesy Jeannie Hannah)

Christmas came early this year for the Northfield Depot in the form of an antique order board assembly, donated by Gary Holzinger from the Milwaukee Road Historical Association.

He became acquainted with Save the Northfield Depot when he was contacted by a volunteer who was doing research for the group. Over the course of their communication, he became interested in the project and offered to donate a rare antique Milwaukee Road order board assembly, consisting of a mounting box, signal paddle and lantern complete with the original red and green glass lenses.

When asked about the prospect of having such an addition to the Depot, STND Co-Chairman Rob Martin stated, “There are not many of these around. Most have disappeared. It's exciting to have this authentic addition to our Depot.”

The order board signal served as a means of communication between the stationmaster and approaching trains. When asked about the importance of this gift to the Depot, Martin stated, “This generous gift will be an authentic part of our building. Visitors to our depot can see how the train engineer and the stationmaster communicated with each other.”

Visitors to the Depot will have an opportunity to view the order board during the Depot Winter Walk tours that will be conducted on Thursday, Dec. 7 from 2 to 8 p.m., every 20 minutes. Cost of the tour is $5 per person and all proceeds will go to benefit the Northfield Depot restoration. To schedule a tour, contact Sue at Rob Martin’s Farmers Insurance Agency at 507-645-0939.

Reach Editorial Assistant Kelsey at 507-645-1117. Follow her on Twitter @APGKelsey.

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