Lovelock Train Depot on board for craft fair

Lovelock Train Depot on board for craft fair

Lovelock Train Depot on board for craft fair

Lovelock's Christmas Craft Fair just spilled over with holiday spirit. That's no problem. In fact, it could mean the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

The Friends of the Library (FOL) host their annual Christmas Craft Fair at the Community Center on Saturday, Dec. 2, from 10 am until 3 p.m. The Friends have been helping Lovelock get a jump on its holiday shopping for nearly four decades.

The tradition kicks off Lovelock's Christmas season. Vendors set up booths with one-of-a-kind jewelry, clothing, baked goods and other items, mostly handmade. Santa Claus poses for pictures with children. It's an all-day extravaganza.

But, this year a record number of crafters applied to set up shop. The Community Center could not accommodate them all.

That's when a holiday helper showed up – the Lovelock Train Depot.

Wendy Nelsen loves to greet visitors to the historic structure, built by Central Pacific Railroad in February 1880. She also directs the Pershing County Chamber of Commerce.

"The Friends ran out of room at the Community Center so we're going to help host the craft fair," she said. The depot opens the doors to its “Mingle and Jingle” at 9 a.m., an hour earlier than the Community Center. Both close at 3 p.m.

Lovelock rebuffs the wrecking ball

In the 1880's, Central Pacific Railroad built six train depots across the west. For the first time, each included living space for the station agent and his family. They'd retire upstairs at the end of the workday.

The Lovelock Train Depot showcases the Victorian Stick style of architecture. Architect Arthur Brown's carpenters overlaid "stickwork" on the outside walls of the two-story structure for a rustic look.

Business boomed.

In the depot's heydey, the train chugged up to West Broadway Avenue and Main Street. Men, women and children poured from the transcontinental locomotive into the building, just steps away.

Some reunited with friends and family. Others journeyed solo looking for the next lucky strike. Soldiers left for war. Veterans came home.

In 1915, President Woodrow Wilson (1856-1924) traveled to the Lovelock Train Depot to meet with WWI veterans. That same year William Jennings Bryan (1860-1925), an orator and politician from Nebraska, stood behind a podium and orated.

In 1917 Central Pacific added indoor plumbing to the station.

The boom years boomed until they busted.

Time and technology raced forward like runaway trains. Soon traffic sputtered, slowed and stopped. The depot sat abandoned but not unloved.

In 1987, the Railroad announced demolition plans. But Lovelock's Save the Depot Committee convinced officials to sign the building over to their city.

The railroad men predicted that cash-strapped Lovelock would have no choice but to proceed with the demolition. They scoffed as they handed the committee a check for $42,500, the projected cost of activating the wrecking ball.

But Lovelock rallied. They used the money to move the building seventy feet across the street on top of a secure foundation off railroad property.

In 2001, the town restored the building. Their work impressed the National Register of Historic Places. In 2004, they listed the depot among the nation's treasures.

Today the Train Depot houses the Frontier Community Coalition and other offices. And on Saturday, Dec. 2, it co-hosts the thirty-ninth annual Christmas Craft Fair.