Northbound CSX Train at St. Joseph, MI
St. Joseph, MI Depot; September 24, 1999

The depot in St. Joseph was built by the Pere Marquette Railroad in 1913. The large covered platform was likely built to handle heavy summer traffic to lake-side resorts in St. Joseph. The depot is still used as a passenger stop on Amtrak's Grand Rapids-Chicago Pere Marquette. The present waiting room occupies only a small corner of the station, now owned by the city. Most of the building was remodeled to serve as a  resturant. It was Roxy's Depot Diner for several years. In 2002, Roxy's went bankrupt and the business changed hands. It was open briefly, as the Sunset Grill, but as of the Fall of 2003, it too was closed.

The tracks themselves go back to 1869, when the Chicago and Michigan Lakeshore Railroad completed a line from New Buffalo to St. Joseph. The Panic of 1873 sent the railroad into bankruptcy. It was reorganized as the Chicago and West Michigan Railway. During the 1880's the railroad grew and prospered, eventually stretching from LaCrosse, IN to Traverse City, MI. Around 1900, the Chicago and West Michigan became part of of the Pere Marquette system. St. Joseph was then on the PM's main line running from Detroit to Chicago. PM made many improvements to build a heavy duty main line, including building a swing bridge in 1904 over the St. Joseph river, just north of the depot. It is still in use.

Track Side/South End

St. Joseph Depot, September 1999
Track Side

Restaurant Dining Room
Operator's Bay Window, now part of the dining room,
has a clear view out to Lake Michigan and of frequent passing trains.

Depot's Street Side and Stairs to Downtown
Street Side
Benton Harbor, over the river just north of St. Joseph, had its own depot at one time. There is still a small rail yard there, but the depot is long gone.
Michigan Passenger Stations Home Page

October 1999, Updated Sept. 2003
Louis Van Winkle
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