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What the train brought in

John Loch spends a lot of time scouring old newspapers looking for information about Rosemount. He sits at the Wescott Library and searches through microfiche looking for anything that might draw his interest.

While he mostly finds just tidbits he can add to his database, sometimes a bigger story comes out of his research. That was is the case with the Depot Hotel.

Over a four-month period Loch put together the pieces that revealed at one time Rosemount had a flourishing hobo population.

After running across the term Depot Hotel in an issue of the Dakota Tribune, Loch did a little more research.

"I mentioned the Depot Hotel to some of the other historical society member and they had never heard of it," said Loch.

The term came up several more times in 1915 issues of the paper. In particular, one mentioned that people could stay in boxcars. Loch eventually figured out that the term "Depot Hotel" was sort of a tongue in cheek way of referring to a hobo camp.

He then talked with some of the older folks in town and they remembered the hobos.

"Everything really fits," said Loch.

Loch said it makes a lot of sense that hobos would have been attracted to Rosemount because it's an agricultural community as well as a stop on the rail line

On Oct. 12 the Rosemount Area Historical Society will give a presentation on the railroad, the hobos, the Depot Hotel and the International Workers of the World, a hobo organization, and its presence in Rosemount in 1915. Loch will be the main presenter along with Gerald Mattson, who will talk about the trains coming through Rosemount. Mattson also will have a train display. Maureen Geraghty Bouchard will talk about the hotels of that time.

Keith Reed, president of the Rosemount Area Arts Council will talk about Jill Hill, an I.W.W. member who was sentenced to death on trumped up murder charges. Mr. Reed has written a play script based on Joe Hill's life.

The program is being planned in conjunction with the One Book, One Rosemount celebration, which is a collaborative reading effort being sponsored by the library. Loch said the topic ties into the event because hobos appear in several chapters in the chosen book "A Long Way from Chicago."

The program runs from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 12 at the Robert Trail Library. For further information call Loch at 952-255-8545 or e-mail

Emily Zimmer
Emily Zimmer has worked as a staff writer for the Rosemount Town Pages since 2007. She has a degree in journalism from Minnesota State University, Mankato. Outside of work, Emily enjoys running, reading and gardening. You can follow Emily's gardening adventures at the Areavoices blog East of Weedin'
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