Grand Trunk Western Railroad Depot

Also known as: Thomas Edison Depot
520 State St., Port Huron, Michigan

Photos 

Looking Northwest.

Photo taken by Nathan Holth in July 2010

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Map 

Street View 

Description 

This railroad depot is famous as the depot from which Thomas Edison departed daily as a boy selling newspapers. Today the building is restored and functions as a museum. A historic passenger car is next to the depot.

A Michigan Historical Marker here reads: Tom Edison at Grand Trunk

The Grand Trunk Railroad depot to the right is where 12-year-old Tom Edison departed daily on the Port Huron - Detroit run. In 1859, the railroad's first year of operation, Tom persuaded the company to let him sell newspapers and confections on the daily trips. He became so successful the he soon placed two newsboys on other Grand Trunk runs to Detroit. He made enough money to support himself and to buy chemicals and other experimental materials.

Information About This Historic Site 

From Michigan Historic Sites Online

Description
The Grand Trunk Western Railroad Depot is a rectangular plan, one-story, side-gable metal frame structure divided into seven bays. The walls are covered with cement stucco. The roof has exposed rafter ends and wide overhanging eaves supported by large brackets. The building also features a bay window on one side and ocular vent openings at the gable-ends.

Statement of Significance
The Grand Trunk Western Railroad Depot is important to the history of immigration in the United States and is known for its association with the early career of Thomas A. Edison. Built in 1858 as the Gratiot Railway Station of the Canadian Grand Trunk Railroad, the station became a major stop for immigrants and welcomed over 77,000 arrivals in 1881. Like many local young people Thomas A. Edison gained employment on the rail cars publishing a local newspaper which he later used to finance his career as an inventor. The building was converted into office space for the Peerless Cement Company but has undergone only minor alterations.

Marker Name: Tom Edison at Grand Trunk
Marker Text
The Grand Trunk Railroad depot to the right is where twelve-year-old Tom Edison departed daily on the Port Huron-Detroit run. In 1859, the railroad's first year of operation, Tom persuaded the company to let him sell newspapers and confections on the daily trips. He became so successful that he soon placed two newsboys on other Grand Trunk runs to Detroit. He made enough money to support himself and to buy chemicals and other experimental materials.

National Register information 

Status
Posted to the National Register of Historic Places on April 13, 1977
Reference number
77001397
Architectural style
Other architectural type; Italian Villa
Areas of significance
Transportation; Communications; Social History; Invention
Level of significance
National
Evaluation criteria
A - Event; B - Person
Property type
Building
Historic function
Rail-related
Period of significance
1850-1874
Significant year
1858

Update Log 

  • October 7, 2012: New photo from Rattrak
  • August 2, 2010: Essay added by Nathan Holth
  • August 2, 2010: New photos from Nathan Holth
  • July 28, 2010: New Street View added by Nathan Holth

Sources