History of Durand Union Station’s 2nd Floor
The second floor of Durand Union Station has a completely separate history from its grand first floor. While the downstairs was meant for the general public and designed for elegance, the upper floors were meant to be functional office space for employees and had none of the fancy decoration of the first.
The hallway used to extend all the way from the attic to the end of what is now the Ballroom, with offices on either side. The layout and use of these offices changed effectively every time a new station master came to Durand, as they would decide which office they wanted for themselves and their most necessary staff. Everyone else would relocate, which happened often. The attic is largely unchanged from its original configuration, and is still used for storage.
An interesting occurrence in the hallway involved piano wire. The station vibrates as trains approach, so Depot staff would run wire the length of the hallway and use the changing pitch to determine how close the train was.
Durand Union Station has a third floor that is currently inaccessible. Entry to the third floor was through a staircase in the attic on the second floor, which itself was limited to railroad personnel only. It was used for storage for most of the Depot’s history, with the exception of wartime. During times where soldiers were on trains to the coasts for transport around the world, layovers would occasionally happen in Durand. These soldiers were housed in bunks on the third floor. One can only imagine the discomfort in this makeshift bunkhouse, with insufficient heating or cooling and smoke and coal dust as a persistent annoyance.