- Published: 05 November 2011
The Whistlestop Park & Depot
History of the Depot
The Depot opened for business in December of 1887 after construction and shipment of the stone materials from a quarry at Foster's Station, just northwest of Ann Arbor.
Know as a Richardson Romanesque Revival in architecture, for at least 69 years, passenger trains on the Michigan Central Railroad stopped at the depot in Grass Lake. In 1911 seven trains of the 21 passing through Grass Lake were scheduled to stop here. That chapter of the depot's history closed on April 13, 1953, and Grass Lake was reduced to being a flag stop for a single train and served that role until 1956.
It served as the home of the Grass Lake News from 1962 until 1976. On June 21, 1980 the Grass Lake Fire Department responded to a fire at the depot. The fire left the depot a mere stone skeleton until 1988 when its eight year abandonment was halted by the purchase of the property by the Whistlestop Park Association.
Why the name Whistlestop?
The name of the association comes from the book "Whistlestop" written in 1941 by Maritta Wolff, who grew up in Grass Lake. It became a best seller and later a movie "Whistle Stop" starring George Raft and Ava Gardner.
The Depot today
The 1887 restored train depot, with adjoining park, gazebo and hand car shed is used for community activities, changing historical, cultural and art exhibits and is available on a rental basis for private functions. The facility is open any day by appointment.
Rentals of the Depot
The Depot is currently being managed and marketed by the Grass Lake Regional Chamber of Commerce. An ideal location for graduations, weddings, showers, funeral luncheons, birthday parties and other family events, the facilities provide a unique location on the grounds of Whistlestop Park for a grand atmosphere whatever the occasion may be. For more information on renting the Depot for your event contact the Chamber at 517-522-8838, or click here.