The Story Behind Battle Creek’s Grand Trunk Railroad Depot
Thank goodness for preservation and repurposing, because without it buildings like the former Grand Trunk Railroad Depot in Battle Creek would have been lost forever. But with a grant from the Kellogg Foundation and a new tenant, the Community Action Agency, the historic structure lives on.
There have been numerous post of social media on Battle Creek history, but today featured a brochure that was handed out at the opening in 1906.
You have to remember that rail was the way for long-distance travel 116 years ago. Automobiles were just starting to become commonplace, with the Model T Ford still two years away from introduction and the REO Speedwagon light truck not arriving until 1915. (on a side note, Kalamazoo County's Pavillion Township was and is still an important part of the rail system, and Richland "Junction" was a crossroads for train travel, with Hastings a stop on the way to Saginaw.
The Grand Trunk Railroad started out as a British/Canadian company that eventually became the Canadian National Railway, but back in the day, it had three subsidiaries. The southern most of these was the Grand Truck Western Railroad. The Grand Trunk Railroad Western became a collection of railroad lines, one of which started out in the late 1800's as the Chicago, Kalamazoo, and Saginaw line, lovingly nicknamed the "Cuss, Kick and Swear" line.
But back to the Battle Creek depot; Early on, it was one of the largest depots in Michigan and was in operation from 1906 until 1971. And the Spanish architecture still is beautiful. It's on Main Street in Battle Creek.
Amtrak trains now go through the new Battle Creek Transportation Center opened in 2012.