Grand Trunk Western Rail Station/Lansing Depot

Also known as: Depot Restaraunt
1203 S. Washington Ave., Lansing, Michigan

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Oblique View.

Photo taken by Nathan Holth in July 2010

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Information About This Historic Site 

From Michigan Historic Sites Online

Other Names Depot Restaurant
Property Type railroad depot
Historic Use TRANSPORTATION
Current Use COMMERCE/TRADE
Style Tudor Revival
Architect/Builder Spier and Rohns

Narrative Description
The Grand Trunk Western Station is a one-story, rectangular, red-brick building resting on a finished gray ashlar foundation. The station's main entrance is housed in a two-story, ten-foot square brick tower topped by a battlemented parapet. The building has red tiled roofs, overhanging eaves, and smooth-faced, Bedford limestone, Tudor-inspired door and window hoods, sills, facings, and gable copings. A covered waiting platform thirty feet square stands at the eastern end of the station with a gable roof supported by wooden posts with triangle bracket capitols.

Statement of Significance
The Grand Trunk Western Rail Station is significant for its association with the golden era of the Grand Trunk railroad system in Michigan and Lansing and its expression of a major work by Spier and Rohns, a Detroit architectural firm which designed several Michigan rail stations between 1886 and 1910. When Ransom Olds, Lansing's pioneer auto-maker, announced plans for a new foundry and industrial complex (later known as the Diamond Reo Motor Works) in January 1902, the Grand Trunk decided to build its new depot adjacent to it. Construction on the station began in late summer of 1902 and concluded a year later. On December 30, 1971, after sixty-eight years of service, Grand Trunk Western closed the Lansing station. In 1972 the station interior was converted for use as a restaurant.

Marker Name Grand Trunk Depot

Marker Text
GRAND TRUNK DEPOT Constructed in 1902, this castle-like building with its square tower was the Lansing station for the Grand Trunk Western Railroad until 1971. For decades passengers streamed through its doors. Here servicemen left for and returned from military duty. Children and adults alike associated this depot with the excitement of travel and vacations. The city's joys and sorrows were reflected in this rail station; greetings and good-byes were its most vital ingredients. But gradually rail travel ebbed. Renovated as a restaurant in 1972, the building's exterior remains unchanged. Gerald R. Ford from Michigan, the thirty-eighth President of the United States, dined here during a "whistle stop" campaign tour on May 15, 1976.

Period of Significance 1901-1930
Significant Date(s) 1902-1903, 1971, 1972
Registry Type(s) 05/05/1978 Marker erected
07/03/1980 National Register listed
04/11/1977 State Register listed
Site ID# P23366

National Register information 

Status
Posted to the National Register of Historic Places on July 3, 1980
Reference number
80004605
Architectural styles
Late 19th and 20th Century Revival: Tudor Revival; Other architectural type; Jacobethan Revival
Areas of significance
Industry; Transportation; Architecture
Level of significance
Local
Evaluation criteria
A - Event; C - Design/Construction
Property type
Building
Historic function
Rail-related
Current function
Restaurant
Period of significance
1900-1924
Significant years
1902; 1903

Update Log 

  • July 11, 2010: Essay added by Nathan Holth
  • July 9, 2010: New Street View added by Nathan Holth

Sources