Help is on the way for End-O-Line’s iconic turntable

END-O-LINE PARK AND MUSEUM site coordinator Jakob Etrheim is more than happy to be receiving a grant that will go a long way to restoring the still-functioning turntable at the park. Photo / Per Peterson

By Per Peterson

One of the most historic structures in Currie will soon get some much-needed attention.

Currie’s End-O-Line Park and Museum received a grant for its historic manual turntable — likely one of the last functional ones in the entire state. The $23,700 grant will go toward hiring an historic architect and surveyor to develop supporting construction documents. Those documents will be used for future construction work on the turntable that will help preserve the 120-year-old structure. These projects have been financed in part with funds provided by the State of Minnesota from the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund through the Minnesota Historical Society.

Jakob Etrheim, site supervisor of the End-O-Line Park and Museum, said the latest grant was the second he has submitted to help preserve the the iconic turntable. The first paid for an historic structure assessment, and this one, he said, will help the museum develop the engineering for repairs and a new drainage system.

“We had an engineer come look at the turntable to determine what’s wrong with it, Etrheim said. “Based on what the conditions assessment said, this grant is for what they call construction documents — that’s the second phase. Once the documents are done, we can do the construction next year.”

That construction includes a number of things, including the installation of a sump pump; the turntable practically turns into a swimming pool during heavy rain events.

“We need to keep the water out,” Etrheim said. “There is a tile in there that is supposed to help drain, but when the water table is so high, it just sits there, it doesn’t go anywhere. It’s frustrating. Thankfully, the turntable is still working — the water hasn’t damaged it. But it’s a big concern because it’s so old.”

Etrheim, who has worked at the museum for four years, said the limestone that lines the pit is also a concern that needs addressing.

“It’s starting to kind of crumble, mostly probably because of the water,” he said. “We’ll probably hire a landscaper to recondition it, because it’s all dry-stacked.”

The concrete abutments are also in need of repair, Etrheim said.

“It’s about $200,000 worth of work,” said Etrheim. “But if we follow the process, the Minnesota Historical Society will pay for it with grants if we apply. It’s a long process, but it will be nice when it’s done. With COVID, hopefully there aren’t too many budget restrictions with grants.

The original turntable was installed in 1901; a larger one — the one that is currently at the museum site — was put in in 1922. The limestone is original.

See this week’s Headlight Herald for more on this article.