The main feature of the Pierce museum complex is the old depot of the Chicago & North Western Railway Company. Built in 1880, the building first served the Fremont, Elkhorn and Missouri Valley Railroad which had built a line from Norfolk to Niobrara in 1879.

Pierce Depot
About 1899

In 1903 the line was sold to the Chicago and North Western Railroad and the line was extended on north to Winner, S. D.

During the ensuing years the railroad received wide usage and there was at least one freight and two passenger trains daily. Following World War II the line began to deteriorate and the service along with it.

In 1951 passenger service was discontinued; in 1968 the Pierce depot facilities closed and in 1969 the agent was removed from Pierce.

The last train came through Pierce in June, 1978 and immediately wrecking crews started removing the rails and salvaging what few good ties remained.

In August of 1968 the two-story depot was moved the six blocks from its location of 88 years and located at the museum site in Gilman Park.

Renovation work was slowed by lack of funds and damage caused by vandals, but eventually work began in earnest and the complex was officially dedicated on July 4, 1976 as part of Pierce's Bicentennial observance. Over 2,000 people visited the complex during its first summer of operation.

The depot passenger area has display of pictures including scenes from Pierce's past. Also an extensive display of dishware. The upstairs living area features rooms depicting home styles of bygone years. Numerous displays are contained within the baggage area of the depot.