Sleepy Eye Area Depot Museum

Hours 2 - 5 PM
Tuesday - Saturday
Open May - December
also by appointment
Guided tours available
The community of Sleepy Eye, incorporated in 1872, was named after a Sisseton Dakota Chief, Ish Tak Ha Ba, which means Sleepy Eyes. He was given the name because of his drooping eyelids. He and his band lived on the north side of Sleepy Eye Lake, which is also named for the kind and friendly chief. In 1824 he and seven other Dakota and Ojibway leaders went to Washington DC to meet President James Monroe and sign treaties. He was also the most important Chief to sign the Treaty of Traverse des Sioux in 1851. He died in 1859 or 1860 in Roberts County, South Dakota and was buried there. In 1902 his remains were moved to Sleepy Eye and buried in a plot set aside for that purpose next to the newly built depot. The granite monument which marks his grave site was dedicated on October 17, 1902.

History of the Sleepy Eye Depot.
The Winona & St. Peter Railroad first reached Sleepy Eye in 1872. A plat map for the Village of Sleepy Eye Lake was filed on September, 18, 1887. The first depot burned down in January 1887.
    A second depot was built by June 1887 and was used as a freight depot for many years. It still stands a block east of the Depot Museum. The present depot was built in 1902 of red-faced brick and stone trimming. It consisted of a baggage room, men's waiting room, family waiting room, and the east end lunch room. For 87 years the Chicago-North Western Railroad had passenger rail service at Sleepy Eye. The streamliner "Dakota 400" made its last stop in Sleepy Eye on October 25, 1959. After that, the depot served as a freight office.
    In the early 1980s the C and NW Railroad offered to sell the depot and Sleepy Eye Depot Preservation Inc. was formed to purchase and renovate the depot. A fund drive was started and in 1984 the depot was purchased. Since that time many changes have taken place. The building was reroofed and the bricks were tuck pointed and cleaned. Inside, the woodwork was finished and insulation was inserted behind the wall panels. The floors were sanded and sealed, a new electrical system and gas furnace were installed and the bathroom area was renovated. All the windows were replaced with new energy efficient ones. A handicapped accessible ramp and landscaping enhanced the building.
    On July 3, 1990 the Sleepy Eye Area  Historical Society received the keys to the depot and opened a museum, which displays artifacts from the Sleepy Eye area. In 1992 the depot was named to the National Register of Historical Places.

Drum and Bugle Corps
The Sleepy Eye Drum and Bugle Corps was organized in 1929 by members of the Benjamin A. Remmele post No.7 of the American Legion. The organization started with 27 members under the direction of Prof. Franklin, a music teacher. Al Heymans and Sam McNall were the first two drum majors. In 1948 Leo B. Schroepfer took charge of the Corps, both its music and maneuvers. The success of the Corps was largely due to his exceptional talent and ability. The Corps went on to win seven state championships and twelve American legion district contests.
    A permanent display of the State Champion Sleepy Eye Drum and Bugle Corps is the main feature of the depot's Riedl room. Included are the Corps' classy green, gold, and white uniforms, photos, and instruments. Also, a tape of the Corps music, which is known over much of the state, is available for your listening pleasure.

Sleepy Eye Area Depot Museum
100 Oak St. NW
PO Box 544
Sleepy Eye

This info provided by RRC