Grass Lake / Michigan Central Railroad Depot

Registered Site L1854

Grass Lake

The first settlers arrived in Grass Lake in 1829. Two years later a post office, the second in Jackson County, opened at the settlement. In 1832 Grass Lake Township was created; the current boundaries were established in 1836. The village, which took its name from the nearby lake, was incorporated in 1871. The original village, Grass Lake Center, developed along Michigan Avenue about one and one-half miles east of here. However, in 1842 the Central Railraod (later the Michigan Central) bypassed Grass Lake Center and erected a depot on this site. The railroad provided a means of getting produce and livestock to market as well as bringing goods and mail to the village. Trade near the new depot boomed, and the village moved west. By 1881 the town of approximately one thousand citizens comprised 2 hotels, 11 stores, 4 salloons & 3 churches.

Michigan Central Railroad Depot

Grass Lake's first railroad depot opened in 1842 when the Michigan Central line reached Jackson. In 1887 this Richardsonian Romanesque station, designed by the Detroit firm Spier and Rohns, replaced the original depot. It housed rail operations for sixty-nine years. In 1911 seven of the twenty-one that passed through Grass Lake made daily scheduled stops. Eventually automobile transportation superseded rail travel. By 1953 only one train, which made irregular stops, served Grass Lake. In 1956 the depot closed, remaining vacant until it housed the Grass Lake News from 1962 to 1976. A June 1980 fire reduced the depot to a stone shell. In 1988 the Whistlestop Park Association purchased the depot and and restored it. In September 1992 the building and its grounds reopened.
photo of Michigan Central Railroad Depot

Erected 1994

Location: 218 E. Michigan Ave
Grass Lake, Jackson County

Cities and Towns

Latitude: 42.251395, Longitude: -84.211868

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