Imlay City Historical Museum
77 Main Street
The coming of the railroad in 1870 was pivotal to Imlay City’s founding and economic progression. Imlay City’s original wooden depot was built in 1870 for the Port Huron and Lake Michigan Railroad, and contained separate waiting rooms for men and women. The PH&LM Railroad, later known as the Chicago & Grand Trunk, was then in 1887 known as the Grand Trunk Railroad (GT). From 1928 the railroad was known as the GTW (Western) and operated until 1987. Since that time is has been operated by the Canadian National Railway system, which dots the southern Lower Peninsula landscape.
Early in 1872 passenger traffic at this station was reported as 4,000 tickets being sold from Port Huron to Imlay City There were as many as four eastbound and four westbound trains daily. After a fire in 1917, the original depot’s partial ruins were used for ten years until a new depot, a sturdy brick structure, was built in 1927by the Ellington Miller Company of Chicago at a cost of $11,667. Passenger trains made regular stops in Imlay City for 101 years ending in 1971. The depot was then used for storage by GTW.
The depot sat vacant for a few years until 1976 when the City of Imlay City began negotiations with GTW and obtained a 99-year lease on the building and property. The City in turn leased the building to the Imlay City Historical Commission for use as a museum in 1978, with all restoration and repairs performed by volunteers. In 1988 the City reached an agreement with GTW to purchase the building and property for $5,000. Today the lease continues with the Imlay City Historical Commission for use as a public museum.
The depot is listed on the State Register of Historical Sites