Street Side/North End; Alden, MI Depot
Street Side/ North End; Alden, MI Depot, July 2003

Alden is about 20 miles northwest of Traverse City. The town is named for William Alden Smith, general counsel of the Chicago & West Michigan Railway, secretary of the Michigan Senate, and later, Senator from Michigan.

In 1891 the Chicago and North Michigan Railroad Company  was formed by the Chicago & West Michigan RR, to build a railroad north from Traverse City. This line, through Alden, was completed to Bay View in 1892. Never really a separate railroad, the line was leased to the C&WM in 1891, and sold to the C&WM in 1899. The C&WM was one of the major parts of the Pere Marquette System, formed in 1900.

The Alden depot was built in 1908, when the route was part of the Pere Marquette System. The design seems to be a PM standard, also used in Greenville and Williamston. Those two however, lacked the large covered waiting area found at Alden.

The depot is open as the Alden Depot Park and the  Helena Township Historical Museum. Both the freight room and the waiting room are used for display space. But the depot itself is the real attraction. It is one of the fancier designs built by the PM, is in great shape, and has an outstanding paint job. The surrounding park has picnic areas, a playground and a beach on Torch Lake.

Track Side/South End; Alden Depot
Track Side/Freight Room End

Covered Waiting Area/ Track Side; Alden, MI Depot
Covered Waiting Area/Track Side

Old Postcard View of AldenDepot
Old Postcard of the Alden Depot

January 2004
Louis Van Winkle
E-mail questions or comments to

Michigan Passenger Stations Home Page