Despite the efforts of my friend and Burleigh County commissioner Mark Armstrong, the city tore down the former Wilton train depot, known for the past twenty-plus years as the Meriwether's building. It also doubled as the ticket office and souvenir for the various incarnations of riverboat which docked thereby. One interesting feature in the area was the sign you see above, which the Big Muddy decided to relocate far south during its flooding rampage last year.
It was Mark, in fact, who tipped me off to this sign last year already. Obviously it's taken me quite a while to find the time to get down there and see it up close for myself. I finally did, however, while taking my little boys on a sandy walk to throw rocks into the water and enjoy a warm sunset. Someone apparently found this sign, which had been washed from the vicinity of the Grant Marsh bridge to a sandy stretch well south of the Memorial Bridge, and decided it to stick it into the ground. It's stayed there ever since, a testament to its resilience.
As far as the plight of the Meriwether's building goes, I can't say I have any feelings one way or the other about it. The last restaurant I remember in the building was driven out of business by the closure of River Road when a section slid, and I can't remember anything ever taking its place. The building is a pretty remote location for a business in all but the warmest few months, so I'm not sure it would have been a good candidate for business even if it had been restored.
I was on board one hundred percent when Phil and Mark were the super-duo on KFYR AM 550 radio and they set about preserving the Provident Life Weather Beacon. That's a piece of history well known to thousands of people, one which many of us still consult when we want a snapshot of what the weather forecast holds in store. The old depot down by the river? I'm not sorry to say that I doubt many people held the same attachment to it. Sure, there were parts of it that were pretty cool...but one of the best of those has found itself a home about a mile down the river.
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