Stanley, ND (STN)
Stanley was founded in 1902 and is known for its decorative fire hydrants. Each one is painted with a different historical figure, including Betsy Ross, Abraham Lincoln and Neil Armstrong.
Main Street & Railroad Avenue
Stanley, ND 58784
Annual Station Ridership (2016): 5,133
- Facility Ownership: BNSF Railway
- Parking Lot Ownership: BNSF Railway
- Platform Ownership: BNSF Railway
- Track Ownership: BNSF Railway
For information about Amtrak fares and schedules, please call 1-800-USA-RAIL (1-800-872-7245).
The Stanley depot is located on the northern edge of downtown approximately one block east of Main Street. The one story frame building is clad in wood siding and topped by a hipped, seamed-metal roof. A projecting trackside bay with windows on all three sides once allowed the station manager to monitor traffic up and down the rail line.
The depot was likely constructed in 1922 as part of a larger improvement program undertaken by the Great Northern Railway (GN) in the northwestern area of the state. At the time, the company announced plans to spend approximately two million dollars to construct a new car shop in Minot, N.D., and enhance the railroad right-of-way. Along with a new combination passenger and freight depot, Stanley received extensive yard changes; altogether the work was estimated to cost about $150,000.
Often considered to have been America’s premier northern trans-continental railroad, the GN eventually ran from St. Paul, Minn., to Seattle. It was formed in 1889 by James J. Hill, who orchestrated the merger of the St. Paul and Pacific Railroad with the St. Paul, Minneapolis and Manitoba Railway. The latter reached Minot by 1885 and then proceeded westward to Williston, N.D., within two years.
Hill holds a special place in railroad history and lore, and is known as the “Empire Builder.” Whereas most transcontinental lines were built with federal assistance in the form of federal land grants, the GN did not utilize this method. Hill’s business acumen guided the planning and construction of the GN. Much of the upper Midwest and West was sparsely settled, so instead of racing across the continent, the GN developed the regions through which it traveled as it steadily moved toward the Pacific. This action helped settle the land and created a customer base. Hill the businessman actively sought to establish trade links with Asia, and the railroad is credited with putting sleepy Seattle on the map and transforming it into an important and powerful Pacific Ocean port after the railroad reached the West Coast in 1893.
Stanley was formally platted in 1902 on land to which George W. Wilson held scrip. He would do much to promote the community, including building a hotel, establishing a telephone exchange and holding various government offices. When the current Mountrail County was formed in 1909, Stanley was chosen as the seat since it was the largest town in the new county. Growth was ensured since Stanley was located on the busy GN mainline running across the northern section of the state; a branch line ran northwest from Stanley to serve new agricultural communities. In 1909, it was noted that Stanley had five large grain storage elevators and a round house.
A century later, Stanley and many other communities in northwestern North Dakota and eastern Montana found themselves at the center of a modern oil boom. Changing markets and new technologies allowed investors to more easily extract oil and gas from the region’s large Bakken Formation.
Today, downtown Stanley is known for its decorative fire hydrants. Each is painted with a different historical figure, including Betsy Ross, Abraham Lincoln and Neil Armstrong. On the south end of town is Flickertail Village, a museum encompassing 18 buildings related to the area’s pioneer era. During the summer months, visitors can explore an old depot, jail, school, homestead, country store and other structures.
Approximately 20 miles north of town is the Lostwood National Wildlife Refuge. Its distinctive landscape of rolling hills covered by mixed-grass prairie and wetlands was shaped by glaciers many thousands of years ago. The almost 27,000 acre refuge is recognized as a globally-important bird area that provides habitat for species such as Sprague’s pipits, Baird’s sparrows, marbled godwits and willets. Visitors come to observe and photograph the various shorebirds and waterfowl, identify wildflowers and hike a nature trail.
Amtrak does not provide ticketing or baggage services at this station. A caretaker opens and closes the depot, which is served by two daily trains.
- 5 Short Term Parking Spaces
- 40 Long Term Parking Spaces
- Accessible Platform
- Dedicated Parking
- Enclosed Waiting Area
- Wheelchair Lift