SEAVIEW - It's been decades since the old Clamshell Railroad cars trundled past the Seaview depot on their way up the Peninsula. The depot hasn't changed much since those days and the current owners, Michael Lalewicz and Nancy Gorshe of The Depot Restaurant, are celebrating the building's centennial. Fittingly, the restaurant is one of the sponsors of Clamshell Railroad Days this weekend.
The couple will be serving "railroad specials" during the year at the restaurant - food that was served in dining cars - including menu items from the famed Orient Express.
Gorshe has done extensive research on the history of the depot, built in 1905, and is working with the Union Pacific archive department in Kansas City to come up with more information. She's also collecting oral history and photographs from local residents who remember the days when the Ilwaco Railroad and Navigation Co. ran the train from the ferry landing at Megler to Nahcotta and built the original platform at the stop. Railroad Days this weekendClamshell Railroad Days, July 16 and July 17, at the Ilwaco Heritage Museum. The exhibits will feature railroad displays, layouts and various events including a visit by Thomas the Train. Also, take a tour of the route of the CSRR. The museum is located at 115 S.E. Lake Street. Hours are from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Call 642-3446 for more information on all events."We want to tell the history of the railroad and how it related to business on the Peninsula in those days, including the oyster business," Gorshe said. She hopes to put together a book about the station, once all the information is collected.
Eventually, the couple is hoping to get a historical marker from Union Pacific. The company purchased the building from the IR&NC.
A preservation society for Seaview is in the works, too, and Gorshe hopes to involve business and residents of the historic town with tentative plans for streetlights and plaques for historic structures. A walking tour map is being planned, based on one completed by Marian Rainey Oman about five years ago.
"Our goal is for the society to be open to anyone who cares about preservation," Gorshe said. "We won't be restrictive."
Especially important are accounts or photographs of the appearance of the interior of the station. The restaurant sports numerous old photos of the outside of the station, with people arriving and departing dressed in the clothing of the period, and artist Eric Wiegardt is working on a series of historic watercolors of the Clamshell Railroad, one of which features the Seaview depot.
"We want to slowly bring back historic pieces of the building and to learn more about the furniture inside," Gorshe said. She'd like to see the building eventually listed on the National Historic Preservation list.
The building served as a depot until 1931 when it became a tavern famous among U.S. Coast Guard personnel. It became a restaurant four years ago and Lalewicz and Gorshe purchased the business two and a half years ago.