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