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End of the line for the M.C. MC Depot?

Unread postPosted: Sat Mar 07, 2020 12:34 pm
by GP30M4216

Here's the relevant part:

Gary Water Tower, Roosevelt High, Michigan Central Railroad Depot deemed most endangered places in Region
By Joseph S. Pete Jan 28, 2020

The Gary Water Tower, Gary Roosevelt High School, the Michigan Central Railroad Depot in Michigan City and East Chicago’s Calumet Trust and Savings Bank are among the most endangered places in the Calumet Region.

The Calumet Heritage Partnership — a partnership of arts organizations, historical societies, libraries and other groups in the Calumet Region, which spans the watersheds of the Calumet rivers of Illinois and Indiana — recently announced its Calumet Heritage Area Most Endangered list for 2020. It identifies historic places threatened "by neglect, disuse, or new development" in the Calumet Heritage Area, which includes all of Lake, Porter, and LaPorte counties in Northwest Indiana.

"In Michigan City, the developer of waterfront condominiums has offered the circa 1910 Prairie-style Michigan Central Railroad Depot to anyone who can pay for its relocation," according to Indiana Landmarks. "If nobody steps forward, the depot will be leveled to make way for the new development."


Has anyone else heard this? A restaurant/pub called Arcadia has taken over the Michigan Central depot after Swingbelly moved out a couple years ago. With the depot occupied I'm surprised they would be kicked out. I swung by the depot last weekend on the way to the Model Train Show, and will post some photos below and in a follow up message.

MC Depot-1.jpg
Michigan City's former Michigan Central RR Depot, in remarkably good shape.

MC Depot-2 with rails.jpg
Whose former track is the one crossing the driveway just to the south of the depot? I don't think this passenger depot was ever a "union" depot with any of the other roads in Mich. City, but I know other tracks did parallel the MC. All that remains is this short crossing segment in the asphalt, but again, another interesting piece of railroad history soon to be lost to time.

MC Depot-3 with pointless arrow.jpg
No current Amtrak train information is posted for passengers that I could see. I do enjoy the older pointless-arrow sign with the Station and Parking indications. Amtrak trains stop at 8:28am, 6:53pm and 9:12pm, although other trains pass through without stopping.

Re: End of the line for the M.C. MC Depot?

Unread postPosted: Sat Mar 07, 2020 12:38 pm
by GP30M4216
MC Depot-4 coming soon BS.jpg
Coming Soon! Let's bulldoze one of Michigan's City's historic assets (in substantially good shape, considering) and put a high rise condo tower right next to two active crossings and an active rail platform. It's not a quiet zone. I love our throwaway culture.

MC Depot-5 with parking lot looking west.jpg
The former brick street section is now part street and park parking lot for Amtrak passengers.

MC Depot-6 platform.jpg
Overall view of the current Amtrak facilities: cement platform, bus shelter waiting space, wheelchair lift. The NIPSCO power plan looms large in the background. The extensive remains of intact brick paver street and platform sections are remarkable, a historic feature so often lost to time and endless reconfigurations. Now, the former brick platform for a long-gone second track closer to the station serves as a sidewalk leading to a concrete passage to the existing platform on super-elevated curved track. Amtrak signage is dated/missing/wrong/less-than-equatable to many other lonely-platform "stations" elsewhere in the Midwest.

Enjoy the photos. It would be a shame to lost one of Michigan City's only remaining historic passenger depots, and an older building in remarkably good shape still set in a landscape full of railroad history and character defining features!

Re: End of the line for the M.C. MC Depot?

Unread postPosted: Sun Mar 08, 2020 12:45 am
by justalurker66
The south track is a remnant of the Monon. The Monon entered MC from the south and ran next to the Amtrak (Michigan Central) line from Chicago Ave to Trail Creek.

One claim to fame is that the line was used to carry Abraham Lincoln's Funeral Train from Lafayette Indiana to Michigan City in 1865 (it was the Louisville, New Albany and Chicago Railroad at that time). The Monon freight house would have been southeast of the Michigan Central passenger station.

Re: End of the line for the M.C. MC Depot?

Unread postPosted: Sat Mar 21, 2020 9:38 pm
by GP30M4216
Justalurker, you are correct, I finally had the time to track down an online Sanborn Fire Insurance map for Michigan City, dated 1899, which accurately depicts the track layout and railroad structures in this vicinity. That remaining rail just south of the MC depot now must be a relic of one of the Monon Line leads - about the last trace of the CI&L in Michigan City!

Source:,0.406,1.382,0.593,0 page 2

Michigan City MC Depot Sanborn 1899.jpg
You can zoom in for more detail by clicking the link above.

Re: End of the line for the M.C. MC Depot?

Unread postPosted: Sun Mar 22, 2020 1:30 am
by justalurker66
Thanks. I had forgotten about Sanborn. Interesting maps. Page 22 of that link shows the rail spur that ran down the middle of the Indiana State Prison!

Re: End of the line for the M.C. MC Depot?

Unread postPosted: Thu Mar 26, 2020 4:48 pm
by Steve B
GP30M4216 wrote:With the depot occupied I'm surprised they would be kicked out.

Happens all the time. Unless you own your own building, you don't control anything. You might be making money, but the landlord kicks you out because he wants to make more money from a bigger tenant or bigger building. So we'll likely lose another historic building that conveys a sense of place, to yet another cheaply built structure that looks like thousands of others.

With a little imagination the new building could probably be built around the depot and still make plenty of money. Has that been considered, or brought up?

Re: End of the line for the M.C. MC Depot?

Unread postPosted: Thu Mar 26, 2020 6:19 pm
by justalurker66

The entire ground floor of the building will be parking (with the exception of the pool and a restaurant area). Five stories of condos (11 per floor) will be above the parking garage. Yes, with "imagination" the depot could be renovated to become the ground floor services, but the non-parking portion of the building is about a fourth of the size of the depot building.