Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, this beautiful train depot was built in 1892 by the Michigan Central Railroad. It has remained largely unaltered and is still used today by Amtrak as a passenger depot. It was designed in the Romanesque style by architects Spier and Rohns, who used large Ohio brownstones to build the station. Originally, there were gardens (and greenhouses where the flowers grew) but these were removed in the mid-1930s. There also used to a be a restaurant. The depot has appeared in three movies: "Continental Divide," "Midnight Run," and "Only the Lonely."
Backstory and Context
Upon learning of the upcoming Chicago World's Fair (1893), railroad officials decided that Niles, which was the last major stop before Chicago, needed a grand station to impress east coast travelers and take advantage of the excitement around the fair. This is why the Niles depot was built.
The New York Central bought the Michigan Central in 1935 and tore down the greenhouses and did not maintain the gardens. The empty field next to the station is where they were located.
Higinbotham, Thomas. "Michigan Central Station (Niles)." National Park Service - National Register of Historic Places Nomination Form. September 19, 1979. https://catalog.archives.gov/OpaAPI/media/25338954/content/electronic-records/rg-079/NPS_MI/09000085.pdf.
"Niles, MI (NLS)." The Great American Stations. Accessed December 7, 2018. http://www.greatamericanstations.com/stations/niles-mi-nls.
Photo: Train Web