The depot was built in 1911 to replace the original aging wood 1870 depot. It's Spanish mission styling was shared with only one other depot on the Santa Fe, and is one of a kind. The depot consists of a brick and stucco passenger portion, and a wood construction freight portion (which was replaced when the depot was restored). Being on Santa Fe's 1st District (now the BNSF Topeka Subdivision) it saw some of the railroad's most famous passenger trains including The Chief and the Chicagoan.
The Passenger part was divided into 4 portions: seprate waiting rooms for men and women, the agents (ticket) office, and rear portion which was both part of the baggage room and the heating boiler room. The front of the depot also has a unique summer waiting room (more like a porch).
The freight portion was divided into 3 sections: 1 each for baggage, Wells Fargo, and the Railway Express Agency.
The last passenger train stopped at the depot in 1968. Afterwards it was used for freight and maintenance of way. The agency was finally closed in 1980 and it became maintenance of way only. By then the depot was showing some signs of wear and tear.
In 1986 Santa Fe closed the depot for good, and in 1987 Noble Hunsicker began his effort to save it, which led to the railroad turning the depot over to the Osage County Historical Society, with a 99 year lease on the land. Restoration work began. Unfortunately the 2 freight rooms had to be removed due to their condition, and the baggage room received a new roof. On May 11 1989 the depot was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
On Labor day weekend in 1992, thanks to efforts by the webmaster's mom (who was director at the time), a Topeka Railroad Days excursion train stopped at the depot. The first passenger train to stop in over 25 years. TRRD continued the excursions to the depot until the last year for the festival in 2000.
In 1999 the County Historical society turned the depot over to the City of Osage City, and OCAHPS took over museum duties. Then in 2001 the city, with help from OCAHPS applied for, and received a $470,000 grant from the Kansas department of Transportation to completly overhaul the depot and grounds. Included were rebuilding the freight rooms into a community center avalable to rent from the city. Unfortunately to keep it up to code and ADA compliant the old baggage room had to be torn off, and the womens bathroom shortened and a hallway installed to provide easy access between the 2 parts of the depot. Work was done by 2004.
The museum has seen several special events, including a stop by the Artrain, and appearances of Santa Fe's exhibit car (which is no longer used by BNSF).