555 Railroad St.
Bangor, MI Depot, June 2004
Bangor, MI Depot, May 1998
|The Bangor Depot was built in 1926 by the Pere Marquette
Railroad to replace a earlier wooden station that burned. Beginning in 1984
and through 1991, the depot served as both a passenger station and as the
home of the Kalamazoo Toy Train Works. Because of the toy trains manufactured
in the station and its Amtrak service, Bangor became known as "Train City
USA". Following the termination of toy train manufacturing in 1991, the building
was vacated and Amtrak passengers had to wait for their train in a
small shelter located next to the empty and deteriorating depot.
This station had the dubious distinction of being number
one on the Great American Station Foundation's 1998 list of the "Top 10 Most
Endangered Stations in America".
Hoping to spur an economic redevelopment project, the City
of Bangor bought the depot in November 2001. For more information, including
a floor plan and pre-restoration photos of the interior, see the
of Bangor's depot web page.
Early in 2004, the depot was purchased by
Beacon Specialized Living Services,
a healthcare services provider. Under their ownership, the empty attic of
the original depot was replaced by a second floor, doubling the floor space
of the old depot. .
New Interior, June 2004
|The city retained ownership of the far south end of
the building. Originally a covered portico, in later years it was enclosed
and used as the passenger waiting room.
In July 2004, the city got a $125,000 Michigan DOT grant
to rebuild the waiting room and platform. Work is to include a new floor,
new doors and windows, rebuilding the bathrooms, and refinishing the original
waiting room benches. Amtrak owns the platform. About half the grant will
be paid to Amtrak for rebuilding the platform. The project was to be done
by April 2005.
New Waiting Room, June 2005
|The rebuilt waiting room opened May 6, 2005, with
a brief ceremony ending with the arrival of the Amtrak train. Building
tours and an open house followed.
Just north of the new waiting room, in what was originally
the waiting room, is a delightful, upscale coffee shop,
The Bangor Coffee
Depot, featuring an extensive meun, G-scale trains on display, a large
collection of old photos and artwork, and a
patio on the trackside
Bangor Coffee Depot, June 2005
|The main entrance and lobby for Beacon offices is on
the depot's west side, in what was the freight room. The
freight room scale remains intact.
Stairs lead to the company offices on the second floor. The first floor was
restored with minimal changes to the original floor plan. The agent's office
became a conference room. There is
a larger meeting room in what may have been a second waiting room.
Historical architectural purists might not like the changes
to the Bangor depot. But really, the only things lost were the two dormers.
More important is that the depot, and most of its features, were saved, restored,
and put to good use.
Beacon's Front Desk
Old Postcard view of the Bangor Depot