History of Victor Heritage Museum

Excerpts taken from a paper entitled "Victor Depot/Victor Heritage Museum"
written by
Joann White Hosko

The trail of information concerning Victor’s last depot grows dim as does much of the history of Victor itself. It is a story that should have been researched and written years ago, when those with the best knowledge were still living to share it. Because it was not, what is offered here is sketchy at best. The reader’s forbearance is requested. Accuracy has been the goal, if not always successfully achieved.

Original Victor Montana Train Depot

Original Victor Depot

The last Victor depot (see photo to left) was constructed at the east end of Victor Crossing and just east of the present Eastside Highway in about 1928. The previous depot stood at the east end of Main Street in Victor, next to the railroad tracks. When the rail line was moved to the east side of the river, it was necessary to build a new depot....

....Fast forward to the 1980s. The long-abandoned depot building was now in the ownership of a Louisiana mining company named Stansbury Corporation. Their plan was to mine for vermiculite on the Skalkaho. In due time, the project was given up. The depot was being used, in rough manner, for storage and the like.

Victor Museum Historian Peggy ThornbrughMeanwhile, Victor resident Peggy Thornbrugh (see photo to right) was exploring the possibility of developing a museum in Victor. She learned that Alvin and Ruth Cote owned two lots at the corner of South Blake and Main, which they were willing to donate for a worthy cause. Peggy thought this land could be used if only a suitable building could be found or built. With this in mind, she called together a group of long-time Victor family members. Those in attendance at that first meeting at Peggy’s home on September 10, 1989, were Joann White Hosko, Paul Thrailkill, Richard and Heide Reed, and Peggy.

Thus was born the Victor Heritage Museum. Those in attendance became interim officers and board/steering members. Jeff Langton, Victor attorney and historian-author, had volunteered his legal expertise to draw up necessary paperwork and to act as an advisor. By December, there was in excess of $2,000 in our account. By-laws and incorporation papers had been completed, and the plans were in place to prepare the ground for a building. The Cotes had deeded over the lots, and Stansbury had agreed to give the Victor depot to the Victor Heritage Museum....

...There is no intent to slight anyone who made any contribution. They were numerous and much appreciated. An individual deserving of a special thank-you is Bill Hughes, always there to help when he could, in any manner....

....Originally set for October, the move [of the old Victor Depot] finally took place on December 10, 1990, with the old building coming over Bell Crossing, as the bridges on Victor Crossing were inadequate.

The next eighteen months found dozens of workers donating time, money, labor, knowledge, equipment, materials, and more, as the Victor depot was cleaned, painted, shingled, remodeled, wired, and refurbished inside and out. Finally, with some landscaping also done, the Victor Heritage Museum was ready for an open house in May 1992. The actual dedication took place on August 11, 1996, in nearly 100 degree weather and nearly opaque forest fire smoke.