|Grass Lake is about 60 miles west of Detroit, between
Jackson and Ann Arbor. The Michigan Central built tracks through Grass Lake
way back in 1842, when the Michigan Central was still state owned.
The present depot, designed by Spier and Rohns, was built
in 1887 in the Richardson Romanesque Style, which was quite a popular design
for railroad stations in the 1880's. The massive, solid appearance was intended
to lead people to trust and rely on the services of the Michigan
This route, between Detroit and Chicago was quite busy.
As late as 1938, when the depression and competition from motor vehicles
had seriously reduced business, there were still 20 passenger trains a day
through Grass Lake. But only two stopped there.
The depot remained in railroad service until 1956. From
1962 to 1976, the depot served as the office for the Grass Lake News. In
1980 a fire destroyed everything but the stone walls. The ruins sat vacant
for nine years while a community group tried to buy it for
In 1988 the Whistlestop Park Association was able to buy
the building and also secured a grant to help in the rebuilding. Volunteers
worked for 3 1/2 years on an outstanding recreation of the original depot.
It was rededicated on September 1992, and is now used as a community center.
The depot park, just east of the depot has also been recreated.
The depot can be rented for special occasions. To make
arrangements call the Whistlestop Park Depot at (517) 522-4384.