After 128 years of railroad service, the last train left Mineral Point in 1984. By that time, the depot had already been vacant. As far back as at least the 1950's, the second floor of the depot was not being used and was boarded up. Further, the harsh Wisconsin winters were taking a hard toll on our depot. Flooding of the first floor left the building in danger of collapsing.
Fortunately, a handful of dedicated volunteers were committed to saving the depot. Although talk of saving the depot had been going around for years, that group formed the Mineral Point Railroad Society in 1999 to restore the depot and return it to community use. Bob Grishaber was largely responsible for organizing the restoration, and he received a lot of help from Dave Knapp, who managed the project from a construction standpoint. As restoration progressed, Dave Kjelland and Richmond Powers created displays for future museum goers. Other long-time members such as Ed Spitzbarth and Dave Martens helped out in various supporting roles.
In 2004, restoration was completed and the museum was opened to the public on Labor Day of that year. The community's support, through financial support and encouragement, went a long way to ensure the depot would survive. In particular, the City of Mineral Point, the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, and numerous wonderful donors created a legacy we can all be proud of.