Track Side, Grass Lake Depot
Michigan Central Depot, Grass Lake, MI, June 2000

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 Central.

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 rebuilding.

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.

Street Side, Grass Lake depot
Street Side

Street Side/East End

Freight Room End
West End/Street Side

CONRAIL Freight at Grass Lake

Tracks through Grass Lake remain very much in use. The present owner, Norfolk Southern, runs a few freight trains a day and Amtrak uses the tracks as part of its Detroit - Chicago route.


Old Postcard of Grass Lake Depot
Old Postcard of Grass Lake, MI.

June 2003, Updated Jan. 2004
Louis Van Winkle

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