Source: Lake Geneva Regional News

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Depot party swings in Springfield

by Chris Schultz

June 16, 2011

Springfield — Dozens of visitors stopped by the Pedal & Cup Bike Rental Sunday, June 12, joining owners Tim and Karen Schinke in celebrating the 100th anniversary of the railroad depot building that houses their business.

Welcoming them were historical performer Chris Brookes, musician Cripple Hand Pete, along with talented face painter Cuddles the Clown, artist Marksalot and balloon sculptor Billy Boy.

Sunday was sunny and pleasantly cool. About two dozen classic cars from the Burlington Classic Car Club and a Chris Craft wooden boat basked under the blue sky.

Celebrants went into the Pedal & Cup for sandwiches or pizza, or they sat outside and ate Neapolitan ice cream right out of the carton.

The celebration actually started Saturday, but cold and wet weather kept the activities inside the depot, Karen Schinke said.

Ice cream sales went to benefit the Springfield Union Cemetery, which recently added about four acres of land, said Tim Schinke, the cemetery sexton.

Brookes, who is a local historian, said 17 Civil War veterans are buried there.

One of them is Harold Olp of Lyons.

Olp was a battle-hardened veteran when he returned to Springfield in 1863, paroled from a Confederate prison camp after being captured at the battle of Iuka.

Olp served in Co. K of the 8th Wisconsin Infantry Regiment, one of the elite units of the Union Army of the Potomac, and a late addition to the legendary Iron Brigade.

Years after returning to Lyons, Olp donated a corner of his farm to become the Union Cemetery in Springfield.

He died Feb. 1, 1887, and is buried there.

In 1911, the new rail depot at Springfield was opened to replace one destroyed a year earlier by fire.

The Schinke family bought the depot in the 1950s, and moved it across Highway 12 to make it a part of the family lumber business.

The railroad is long gone, but the railroad right-of-way was converted to a 12-mile bike and hike trail running from Elkhorn to Burlington, that traverses Springfield and Lyons.

Six years ago, Karen and Tim Schinke opened the remodeled and now bright-red depot as the Pedal & Cup, a combination resting spot, bike rental, snack shop and tourist stop at the midway point of the White River Trail.

The floors, walls and woodworking are preserved from the shop's railroad depot days.

The stationmaster's desk is still in the building, just behind the counter.

And the remodeling isn't done, yet.

Karen Schinke said she hopes to convert a storage room to retail, or turn it into a meeting space.