Harbor Beach, Michigan depot; August 2002

In 1878 the Port Huron & North Western started a 3-foot gauge railroad into Michigan's thumb area, to serve the lumber industry. The first segment of this line, Port Huron to Croswell, opened in May of 1879. As the railroad built north, it split at Palms. Palms to Harbor Beach opened in September 1880. In 1889 the Port Huron & North Western was sold to the Flint & Pere Marquette Railroad and the tracks were converted to standard gauge.

The Harbor Beach depot is quite similar to others built by the PH&NW in Mayville, Deckerville, and Croswell. The Harbor Beach depot is much longer than the others. The extra length of the freight room portion must have been built for a lot of freight moving through the depot. It is said that the depot was paid for by a local lumber baron, likely to further his business interests in town. It was built with all NO. 1 lumber, with not one knot on the entire building. The roof boards are said to be 30" wide.
The Pere Marquette was taken over by the C&O, which in turn became part of CSX. In 1971 CSX abandoned the tracks between Port Huron and Croswell. In 1986 the remainder of the line was sold to the Huron & Eastern Railway, which became part of the RailAmerica shortline empire. In 1992 the tracks into Harbor Beach were taken out of service. Since then, 10 miles of track, between Ruth and Harbor Beach have been removed.

Freight Room End, August 2002.

Bay window and large, graceful brackets, typical of PH&NW depots.

Waiting Room End.

Train Station Motel Sign In 1986 the depot was moved a few miles to the north of town. It is on the same property as the Train Station Motel. The depot is not really part of the hotel, but seems to be used for storage.
The present owner bought it at an auction. They had to cut it in half to move it with trucks, as the depot is over 100' long. The inside is "pretty much original" and still has working scales in the freight room.

Harbor Beach Postcard
Depot, Water Tower, and Engine House in 1910 Postcard.

Michigan Passenger Stations Home Page

February 2003, Updated May 2003
Louis Van Winkle
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