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Jackson Amtrak Station (Jackson Depot of the Michigan Central Railroad—Jackson Union Depot)

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Jackson Depot of the Michigan Central Railroad—Jackson Union Depot
1872–1873, Henry A. Gardner; 1978, 1984–1985, 2008 rehabilitation. 501 E. Michigan Ave.
  • (Photograph by Balthazar Korab)

The railroad reached Jackson in 1841. In the early 1870s, when Jackson was Michigan's third-largest city, the Michigan Central Railroad locomotive car and repair shops were moved here. The outmoded wood-frame passenger depot was replaced by this brick edifice, designed by a Michigan Central civil engineer. As the largest and finest on the road between Detroit and Chicago, the depot visually proclaimed Jackson's role as the rail center for southern Michigan. The station served the railroad's main Detroit–Chicago line and four branch lines that converged here.

The elongated, single-story, red brick Italianate station held men's and ladies' waiting rooms and a restaurant trimmed with black walnut, ash, and oak. Two-story, hipped-roof blocks at the ends of the building contained offices and baggage rooms. Shed roofs supported by cast-iron piers sheltered passengers at the street and track sides of the depot. Amtrak restored and rehabilitated the depot for use as a station and offices, and in 2008 the Michigan Department of Transportation awarded funds for roof, brick, and other repairs. Plans call for transforming the station into an intermodal rail-bus transportation hub.

Writing Credits

Kathryn Bishop Eckert

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