Monday, September 29, 2014

Detroit & Mackinac Stone Depot in Harrisville, MI

Harrisville, Michigan is a place that will always be a great memory from my childhood. In addition to it being my family's summer vacation spot, it was where I first encountered the Detroit & Mackinac. Harrisville is home to one of D&M's older passenger stations. I remember going to see it all the time to watch the trains go by and search the grounds for any little piece of discarded railroad equipment we could find. I know my dad has a nice collection of spikes and date nails hidden away somewhere. I'll have to see if I can get some of them to show off here one of these days. 

Back to the depot, according to the sign out front it was built in 1901 and that is backed up by the information I've been able to find on the internet. This link has some great background about the depot and a neat story from 1902 about how it ended up being constructed with stone donated by the townspeople of Harrisville. It would be in service for 50 years until passenger service on the D&M was stopped in 1951. 

It sat virtually unused since the 1960's until renovations were started sometime in the early 2000's, I'll have to do some more digging on that one as I don't have any details about the project. From the outside, you can tell the roof and windows have been replaced, while most of the original stone structure appears to be intact. It is not open to the public, so it was hard to get a good look at the inside, but from what I read it is still in decent shape.

This past weekend I was in Harrisville vacationing with my family and made sure I set aside some time for a trip to the old depot. It's nice than I remember because the last time I saw it was before any of the renovations took place. I still remember the roof being partially caved in and all of the windows broken out. It was nice to see it looking so much better. Here are some of the pictures I was able to get.

A look at the front of the stone depot in Harrisville, MI
A look at the sign out in front of the depot.
A look at the south end of the building.
A look at the southwest corner of the building.
A look at the west side of the building closest to the tracks.
A look at the north side of the building.
A close-up of the Harrisville sign above the door on the east side.
It is really an amazing piece of architecture, something you don't see everyday. Just the fact that it was built 113 years ago is impressive in itself. With a little bit more work, this would make for an excellent tourist attraction. It is marked as an Alcona County historical site, so hopefully it remains standing for the foreseeable future. Here are a few pictures of the current LSRC line that runs by the depot.

Current LSRC line headed south toward downtown Harrisville.
Current LSRC line headed north toward Alpena, MI.
That's all I have for right now. This has got me wanting to head back up there and get some more pictures of the old D&M line between Tawas and Alpena. This is the area I was around the most as a kid. On the plus side, I may even be able to capture some LSRC trains running this route.

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