The Story of Our Historic Grand Trunk Depot

Our Historic Grand Trunk Depot not only serves as the museum building, it also holds significant historical impact on the railway in St.Johns.

The History of the Depot
The story of the St.Johns' Depot is actually a tale of two buildings.. or is that three. The railroad line completed to St.Johns (and ending there at the time) on January 16, 1857. It was the end of the line until the rail to Ionia was completed in September of 1857. At the St.Johns station, there was also an engine house built to accommodate up to four engines, a freight building, and even a roundhouse with machine shop to be built.

The second depot to be built in St.Johns was in 1869. It had high arched windows, was a 32ft by 70ft one store Ionia brick structure with a veranda on all sides.


The 1869 depot survived the St.Johns fire of 1895 that destroyed a large section of the town and was updated to electrical lighting in 1914. This upset many of the local St.Johns residents as they had been led to believe that a new depot building was to be built based on news from the Railway that they had designed a new depot for St.Johns in 1911. Several of the businesses near the depot had been moved in anticipation of this plan. Ironically, the depot building was destroyed in the Tornado of 1920, which lead to the construction of the building we have today based on those plans drawn up in 1911.

The new depot was constructed along the same lines as the Ionia depot build in 1910 but without the portico. This building was in service for the Grand Trunk Railway as a passenger depot until 1960.

Restoring the Depot

The Depot Today

Additional Reading