Photo by Denny Johnson, courtesy of the Chris Stach collection.

Brookfield Historical Society: Train Station Relocation

The Grossdale Station, one of the village of Brookfield’s oldest structures, has sat on its present site at 8820 1/2 Brookfield Ave. for so long now — 37 years — that most people might not remember what it took to get it there.

Originally located across the Burlington Northern-Santa fe Railroad tracks just east of the present station the station, built in 1889, was a decrepit, obsolete building slated for demolition by the late 1970s.

But a grassroots effort to save the station by what would become the Brookfield Historical Society, not only got the building listed on the National Register of Historic Places but raised enough money to purchase and move the station to the site of the olf Brookfield Village Hall. On April 9, 1981, they did just that.

The move of roughly two blocks took an entire day and it seems a miracle the building didn’t simply fall apart during the operation — the chimney collapsed almost immediately.

In all, the fundraising effort for moving the station collected more than $20,000 — and it would take many thousands more dollars and countless hours of work by volunteers to get the old station back into usable condition for a historical museum. Getting it to its present condition mainly was the result of a $100,000 grant in the early 2000s.

The movie footage of the move, shot by Shirley Bednar, is narrated by former Village Clerk Mary Ann Serenda, an early member of the historical society. It was produced to mark the celebration of the station’s 100th birthday in 1989. 

The movie also will be shown as part of the festivities during the Brookfield Founder’s Day event on Nov. 3 from noon to 3 p.m., to mark the 125th anniversary of Brookfield’s incorporation as a village.