History of the Roca Depot
According to the Corporate History of the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad Company, the Atchison & Nebraska Railroad Company completed the portion of the line between Tecumseh, Nebraska and Sterling, Nebraska on June 5th, 1872. In addition, the portion of the line between Sterling, Nebraska to Lincoln, Nebraska was completed on Sept. 1st, 1872. The record indicates that the Roca Depot Building was constructed between June 5th, 1872 and Sept. 1st, 1872.
The Atchison & Nebraska Railroad Company was deeded to the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad Company on February 15th, 1908. The Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad Company became part of the Burlington Northern Inc. through friendly merger on March 2nd, 1970. The Burlington Northern Railroad then became part of the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway through a friendly merger on September 22nd, 1995.
In March 1964, the Depot building at Roca was retired, the station closed, and the building sold to the Roca Elevator Company who later donated the building to the Nebraska State Fair Board. (Letter from T. R. Hackney, Superintendent, Operating Department, Burlington Northern Railroad, Lincoln, NE, August 23rd, 1977.)
As a side note, the town of Roca was named by the first settlers after one of the main industries in the area which was a rock quarry. Roca is the Spanish name for rock
The first move of the Roca Depot to the Nebraska State Fair Park was in 1977. From the plaque: “This restoration project was made possible through the help of Mr. & Mrs. Elmer Block, Roca, Burlington Northern, Inc., The Nebraska Centennial Commission, The Nebraska Historical Society, and The Nebraska State Board of Agriculture. “
The second move was by the Lincoln Area Model Railroad Club & Museum (Now the LARHS), when it bought the depot from the Nebraska Fair Board after the University of Nebraska declared it surplus property. The Depot was then moved to the east edge of Lincoln to the Lancaster Event Center where it resides today.
Due to member efforts, the Roca depot has been now been completely re-shingled, and parts of the roof replaced. New drop side siding has also been installed, and matches the original. The interior of the depot is also under renovation, and the passenger waiting room is ready for visitors.
If you would like to visit the inside of the depot, please use the contact us page to arrange a visit.