The Lafayette County Depot Museum and new tourist information center will open officially for the summer on Saturday, June 27 with an open house.
The open house event will run from 1-4 p.m. on June 27 with cake and refreshments available as well as entertainment, to be provided by Peg and Bob Cullen on the deck connecting the two buildings of the museum.
Visitors will be able to walk through the museum and information center to see what is offered and what changes have been made. Tours are available of the museum at no cost, but donations are accepted.
In 1889 the present depot building was built in Darlington and served railroad travelers and staff until highway transportation became more convenient and commonplace and the line was abandoned by the Milwaukee Railroad in 1980. The line’s operation ended completely, shortly after that.
Since then the depot building has stayed in Darlington, a testament to the time of the rails, until the building was bought by the Darlington Kiwanis club in 1983 and several refurbishments and restorations were made by several community members and organizations.
The Kiwanis club transferred ownership of the depot to the Lafayette County Historical Society in 2006.
Now the depot stands as a monument to those who built and operated the railroad. The depot museum holds many railroad artifacts and maps, as well as other historical items of importance to the Darlington and Lafayette County area.
For the past several months, the Darlington Chamber/Main Street has been working with the Lafayette County Historical Society on creating a tourist information center within the depot museum for the benefit of both citizens and travelers, where local and tourist information, books and some items for sale will be available.
The chamber provided a large sign, directing visitors to the building and identifying it as an information center, and brought in racks for tourist pamphlets and brochures highlighting things to do and spots of interest in the area.
Suzi Osterday, chamber director, said that due to the high visitor traffic from Darlington’s campground and the ATV trail in the area around the depot, she hopes the information center and museum will see a lot of visitors.
Both the depot and the museum will be open to the public Thursdays through Saturdays from 1-4 p.m. through the summer, and will be staffed during those times.