Station: Mackinaw City, MI

Mackinaw City Union DepotMackinaw City Union DepotMackinaw City, at the northern tip of Michigan's lower peninsula, was settled in 1684. Two railroads came to Mackinaw City in 1881 ( Michigan Central) and 1882 (Grand Rapids & Indiana). A line from St. Ignace to Marquette in the upper peninsula was also built in 1882 and a straits break bulk system was established and upgraded to a car ferry operation. Mackinaw City was also a passenger station for commercial passenger ferries to Mackinaw Island.

Originally both the Grayling and Mackinaw City depots used their second story as a hotel for the general public. Judge Robert Borsos, who wrote an article for Trains, tells about working as a telegrapher at Mackinaw City, collecting room rent and showing guests to their room upstairs. One responsibility he had was to point out the fire escape device - a long rope attached to the leg of the bed that was to be thrown out the window. [GM]

The southeast switch to the wye was used by both the MC and GR&I to turn their passenger trains as well as locomotives. The switch was at the eastern side of South Huron Street. The MC turntable and roundhouse was in the middle of the wye. The Baymont Inn currently (as of 2004) occupies the approximate site of the MC turntable and roundhouse.

The Michigan Central/ NYC railroad yard curved along the outside of the eastern side of the wye. The southern-most end of the MC/ NYC yard was east of Nocolet Street and just south of the I-75 exit 338 to Nocolet Street. [MIRX8]

The western end of the curved GR&I yard was west of I-75 and south of the Marest-Pond Street intersection. The eastern end was at South Huron Street just east of the railroad car ferry dock. [MIRX8]

The MC and PRR shared a "union" passenger station here, which continues to exist as a restaurant. They also shared a "wye" for turning locomotives and equipment, and a roundhouse for locomotives.

The Michigan Central yard in Mackinaw City had a 170 car capacity.

Photo info/credit: Top, a postcard view of the Mackinaw City union depot. 2nd photo, a 1961 photo of the depot with a "beeliner" passenger train nearby. [Alan Loftis Collection].

Time Line

1917. The MC had an operator/clerk here around the clock. [TRT]

More Photos

A USGS map from 1976 showing the two lines coming into Mackinaw CityMackinaw City Union DepotMackinaw City Union DepotMackinaw City Depot with deerMackinaw City DepotMackinaw City depot 1918Restored Mackinaw City depot

Photo info: Map, a 1976 USGS map showing the two railroads and railroad ferry dock. [USGS, Dale Berry]Below, the depot in its final years under railroad ownership in September, 1980 [Timothy Tryon]. Next, a northbound train is unloading passengers and freight at the Union Depot. This would be either a Michigan Central or GR&I train. Probably around 1920.  Next, deer are piled up on freight carts awaiting loading into baggage cars on soiuthbound passenger trains, in the 1930's. Next, A 1940's view of the union station with a MC locomotive in the foreground. The straits dock is at the photographer's back. Note the NYC water tower and roundhouse, behind the locomotive at the left. [Cecil Hommerding photo, Doug Leffler Collection].  Next, another similar photo, from around 1918. This one showing both MC and GR&I passenger trains. The GR&I used the north side of the depot, and the MC/ NYC used the south side. [Charlie Whipp Collection],  Last, the depot, now used as a seasonal restaurant in a shopping mall - still in its original location. [Mark Dobronski]

Click here for more Mackinaw City photos.

Chick here for the Mackinaw City Dock page.

Click here for the Macinaw City NYC/PRR Roundhouse page.