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Arenac County Welcome Center (Standish Station of the Michigan Central Railroad)
Known for its beautiful stations, the Michigan Central Railroad engaged local farmers to haul large fieldstones to the site to grace the exterior walls of this substantial little Richardsonian Romanesque railroad station. A broad entrance porch leads to a waiting room and ticket office. The former freight room is at the south end. The grounds were treated as a park with a circular drive leading up to the main entrance from the west.
Adams and Rogers of Detroit were the contractors for the station. The Michigan Central Railroad built a duplicate to the Standish station in Lawton in 1890. The Standish station speaks of the railroad's quest to reach northern Michigan. The Jackson, Lansing and Saginaw Railroad struggled to complete a line connecting these cities. In 1871 the Michigan Central leased the line through Standish. That year the line was completed to Bay City, and by 1873 extended to Gaylord. By then a wooden station stood in Standish. In 1881 the railroad was completed to Mackinaw City. This gave the Michigan Central access to Lansing, Saginaw, and Bay City and to the lumbering region of northern Michigan. Standish became an important transportation center for rail, and later, at the crossroads of U.S. 23, Old MI 76, and I-75, for automobiles.
A Transportation Enhancement grant in 2006 from the Michigan Department of Transportation helped fund the rehabilitation of the depot as the official welcome center for travelers headed “Up North” along U.S. 23. The Arenac Heritage Route Authority, Sunrise Side Coastal Highway Heritage Route Management Committee, Arenac County Historical Society, and Arenac County run the center.
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