about the livingston depot center
The Livingston Depot Center is a lively intersection of past and present in the heart of downtown Livingston. Home to a seasonal museum from May - September and serving as an incredible community and event center throughout the remainder of the year. Complete with an elegant courtyard, shaded park, and local shops, the Livingston Depot Center is rich with historic detail, beauty, and grace.
The Livingston Depot Center enriches the lives of the residents of Livingston, surrounding communities, and tourists to the Yellowstone area by presenting historic exhibits, regional and cultural programs, and preserving the historic Northern Pacific depot.
Livingston Depot Center History
Built in 1902
The City of Livingston as we know it today owes its existence to the Northern Pacific Railroad, which planned it out as the original gateway for travel to Yellowstone Park, for which it held a basic monopoly for about a quarter century. It was vital as both a Park travel launch point and a key regional maintenance shops site. The first depot was constructed in 1882 and replaced by a larger structure just 5-6 years later, but even this became inadequate for the ever-increasing numbers, and so the Northern Pacific hired Reed & Stem, the original architects for New York's Grand Central Station, to design a small masterpiece worthy of Yellowstone's grandeur.
It was rapidly completed in a remarkable half a year and built in a highly ornamented Italianate style with the two satellite buildings - the baggage building and the restaurant or "beanery" connected by a sweeping colonnade around a central courtyard adjacent to the tracks. The main building also served as an administrative division headquarters with a network of telegraph wires busily sending out orders and communications. Even as passenger rail began to taper off following the war years, it remained an active hub of rail activity.
Shortly after the Northern Pacific and four other lines consolidated in the 1970 merger forming the Burlington Northern, however later the Burlington Northern Santa Fe, the Depot became an Amtrak station, until passenger service consolidated in 1979 to the old Great Northern line to the north, and the area faced significant economic challenge. Undaunted, local citizens bravely organized the Livingston Depot Foundation to restore this architectural treasure and anchor of the local historic district and bring it back again in service to all. Since the center's opening in 1987, the Depot has risen again to its former historic role of welcoming visitors to the area, this time in sharing exhibits, programs, and events regarding the region's rich history.
Livingston Depot Foundation
The Livingston Depot Foundation is a non-profit organization committed to enriching the lives of residents of Livingston and surrounding, communities, and tourists to the Yellowstone area by (1) restoring, preserving and protecting the historic Northern Pacific depot, now a community cultural center--The Livingston Depot Center; (2) presenting and promoting the visual and performing arts, culture, history of the Yellowstone Region, and educational programs in the arts and humanities; and (3) promoting community involvement, tourism and economic development through the operation and use of the Livingston Depot Center.