Breast Cancer,  Photography,  Traveling

Stopping at the Train Depot in Staples, Minnesota

Black and white photo of a bench with black ornate trip, against a brick building, and a brick sidewalk.
Waiting for the train

Have you ever driven by a building, a landmark such as a train depot, in your home town, or town close by, and wondered what it would look like inside?  Despite knowing it is historical and probably full of interesting details and history, somehow you never have the time to stop the car and get out and explore.

I used to do that quite often.  See something that would catch my interest, but my mind would convince me that I just did not have the time.  I stopped listening these past few months and I cannot believe how happy I am that I did.
This past weekend, Rodney, Shelby and I, went out to a county park near where Shelby lives and discovered some incredible photo opportunities.  But, if you want to see those photos, you may need to sign up for email reminders about new postings, because those are for another post!  🙂

A few weeks ago, in between appointments, I was in Staples, Minnesota.  We have lived about 20 miles from Staples since 2001, and they are fortunate enough to have their original train depot still standing in it’s original location.  It is a magnificent brick building, that over the last 17 years we have driven by thousands of times (traveling to football and basketball games) and not once do I remember going inside.  So I did, and it was just as I anticipated.  Fantastic.

The first thing I noticed when I walked inside were the radiators.  I love these – the details, the shine, the fact that they in of themselves reflect antique, vintage feel.  Photo of an old fashioned radiator heater.


Also out for display were old baggage carts used to load and unload the trains –

Close-up photo, in sepia format, of a baggage cart from a train station.


But of course what caught my eye were the wheels.

Black and white photo close-up of a spoked wheel.
I think about how many times these wheels have turned around in life, all the memories stored within those rotations, and I cannot help but think of how life correlates.  With every rotation, the wheel begins a new journey and the same with our lives.  Every bump we encounter, every hill we climb, is the start of a new rotation.

Black and White photo of an old wood crate with the name Nathan Dannosky, Staples, Minn pained on it; sitting on a old baggage cart.
Ready to travel

While inside the train depot, I was very fortunate to meet one of the Staples Historical Society members waiting for a meeting to be held.  He asked if I wanted to see the “storage room” and of course I did not hesitate.  Oh what treasures I found in there.

Numbers 8, 4, 3, and 9 - old train numbers


The numbers telling us what trains were coming and at what time.  Old books (this storage room was holding not only items from the Depot but other historical items as well) full of correspondence, an old typewriter –

And last but not least – the hardware on an old sliding door, as the room we were in was the baggage room.
Black and white photo of a long rectangular window sitting above a wooden sliding door with ornate hardware.
I know you will probably find this hard to believe, but I was in this room so long, the gentleman came in to ask if I was still alive, of which I most assuredly was.  Just lost within all the history that was surrounding me.  Made me miss my dad tremendously – he would have loved exploring this building with me.  Pretty confident he instilled this love of history in me.

I walked away from the Train Depot that day with a little spring in my step, and not going to lie, a huge amount of regret.  Why it took me 17 years to stop in and see the waiting area benches and all the stories they could tell of people waiting in great anticipation to greet loved ones, or board the trains to see loved ones.  How many people stood in that room and waited for loved ones to return from war?  What other stories are caught up within those walls?

I was excited to learn that the Staples Historical Society is planning on opening a museum within the Train Depot.  All those beautiful pieces I was able to stumble upon, will be displayed in their glory, passing along a history that brought us to where we are now.  I will guarantee that it will not take me 17 years to go visit, once the doors are opened.  We have this one life, and if we do not stop to live the life we have been given, are we wasting that life?  Should we not be taking advantage of little every day things and enjoying every moment we can, for what if the day comes where that opportunity is taken away from you?

I know since my diagnosis, my attitude has greatly changed on this.  I find myself slowing down a lot more to notice what is around me, taking advantage of exploring areas I might never have gone before.  I am lucky.  I learned a valuable lesson at a fairly young age, where I still have the ability, both physically and mentally, to explore this world I live in, and find the small glories often overlooked.

What about you?  Does something pop in to mind while you read this that you have always thought about doing, but never have?  As Robin Williams said in the movie “Dead Poet’s Society”; CARPE DIEM – seize the day!  You only have this one day – do not let it go by with regrets!

Until next time, capture life kreatively!


P.S.  If you decide to swing in to Staples, check out my favorite restaurant – Tower Pizza; check out Living Legacy Garden; golf at The Vintage Golf Club; visit the Staples Library; Dower Lake Recreation Area for swimming, fishing, geo-caching, and more!  Oh!  And don’t forget about dessert at the DQ.  A summer tradition for many years!

At 50 years old I was diagnosed with Triple Negative Breast Cancer. I am currently NED (no evidence of disease), and trying to spend every day reviewing the world through the new lens I wear as a breast cancer survivor.

One Comment

  • Brandy

    I love, love, love the quality of your images in this article. The eye you have to capture the essence and the history of these items is truly awe-inspiring. Also thanks for the travel tips! 🙂

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