Lacota, MI Depot, at Michigan Flywheelers Museum, June 2004
|The KALAMAZOO AND SOUTH HAVEN RAILROAD
COMPANY was incorporated April 15, 1869. The road was completed January 2,
1871 and operated under perpetual agreement, dated July 1, 1870, by which
The Michigan Central Railroad Company maintains the road, pays all expenses,
and receives all revenues. Lacota was a station on this line, a few miles
east of South Haven.
At one time, this was a fairly busy passenger route. The
1902 MC timetable shows four daily
passenger trains, and two daily mixed trains serving Lacota, except on Sunday
when there was only one train each way. Passenger service lasted until July
1, 1937, but by then service had been downgraded to a single mixed train
The Lacota Depot likely dates back to the time that the
railroad was first built. It has a waiting room on one end, the agent's office
in the center, and a freight room on the other end. Tracks have been removed.
The right-of-way is now the Kal-Haven bike trail. But don't look for the
depot along the bike trail; It has been moved twice.
Street Side, 1998
Waiting Room, at Phoenix Road location, May 1998
|At some time, the Lacota Depot was moved a few miles
south, to Phoenix Road, for use as a commercial building. For several years
the depot served as the retail outlet for Gould Farms. The floor of the freight
room, originally at the height of a loading dock, was lowered to match the
level of the waiting room and office. Also, the wall between the agent's
office and the freight room was removed. Through the late 1990's the building
sat vacant, but in fairly good shape.
Gould Farms was sold. The new owners built a racetrack,
GingerMan Raceway. They had no use for the depot and so donated it to the
Michigan Flyhwheelers Museum.
For two years, the museum worked on fundraising, to move the depot to their
site which is three miles east of South Haven, on 68 th Street, just south
of Phoenix Road. Having reached their goal, the Flywheelers Museum hired
a contractor, and the depot was moved on June 26, 2003.
The depot was placed on a new foundation. Plans called for
the depot to be restored, and set up to look like a working depot. The freight
room was to be used for the fund-raiser flea markets.
Lacota depot moving to museum grounds
Restored Waiting Room Interior, with original trim and beadboard walls
Restored Waiting Room Interior, June 2004
|During 2003 and 2004, museum volunteers made great progress
on restoring the waiting room. Fund raising continued for a new roof.
On Sunday, March 20, 2005, the depot was destroyed by fire
in the early morning hours. The state fire marshall determined that it was
arson. The depot was completely destroyed - all that was left was burnt beams
and square shaped nails.
There was some talk of having a replica depot built, but
as of August 2005, there were no definite plans.
Lacota depot after the fire, March 2005
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