RESTORATION OF THE BUILDING
The historic Astoria Railroad Depot was given to the Columbia River Maritime Museum in 1987 by the Burlington Northern Railroad and had no major alterations since its construction in 1925. In addition to age-related wear and tear, the Nisqually earthquake of 2001 caused structural damage that had to be repaired before the building could be
reopened to the public. The choice was clear: fix it up or let it die. In 2010, the Columbia River Maritime Museum chose to fix it up.
With the help of many generous contributors, the Depot is restored and stands as a proud reminder of the times when eight trains a day connected Astoria to Portland. Its beautiful Palladian windows, wainscoted and paneled walls, and coffered ceilings once again reflect the elegance of days past.
The completion of this project preserves one of Astoria’s most historic buildings, but this project is less about bricks and mortar than it is about capacity building. The restored Depot will provide many cultural and economic benefits to both the Museum and the community. Preserving culture requires more than collecting and storing artifacts. How the artifacts were made and used is also important, and the best way to do this is through hands-on activities that pass these skills from generation to generation. This is what the programs planned for the Depot space will do.
The restored Depot was dedicated January 25, 2013 as “The Barbey Maritime Center for Research and Industry,” in honor of the Barbey family — pioneers in the Columbia River salmon packing industry. The Center will support a wide variety of uses, including boat documentation programs, and workshops and classes on the traditional maritime skills and trades of the region.