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August 9, 1965

Railroad Depot Begins New Career

DEPOT MOVED – The Ann Arbor railroad station at Copemish found a new home last week when it was moved from the Manistee Country community to Glen Arbor in Leelanau country to become an addition to The Country Store antique and gift shop complex. The picture was taken as the venerable station reached the end of its highway journey of some 50 miles.

Glen Arbor has a new railway depot, but no railroad . . . nor any sign of one at any time in the future.

The station has been brought to this resort town in Leelanau county by two enterprising local businesswomen. Charlene Baker and Mrs. Virginia Hinton, who operate The Country Store on M-22 between the village and the Glen Lake Narrows bridge.

The Country Store is designed in the manner of an old-fashioned store, and is furnished with original antiques including a potbellied stove, cracker barrel, coffee mill, and an old cash register.

The hunt for these antiques has been a fascinating one for the women, but the the greatest find by far has been the railroad station from Copemish. It has all the classic lines and nostalgia of the kinds of railroad depots which dotted the Michigan landscape at the turn of the century.

The station was built at Thompsonville by the Ann Arbor railroad by the Ann Arbor railroad and moved to Copemish, which was then a thriving lumber center. The Manistee & Northeastern railroad came through Copemish about 1889 from Manistee, en route to Traverse City, and according to Mrs. Almira Digby of Copemish, local historian, the Toledo and Ann Railroad raced to get to Copemish first and making it a bit ahead, controlled the crossing. The Manistee & Northeastern has been discontinued for several years, but the Ann Arbor still manages a freight business at Copemish, with the bulk of the freight crossing Lake Michigan by carferry from Frankfort. Copemish today is a quiet farming town, a livestock center, and famous for its annual Strawberry Festival, but it not longer has a passenger train and therefore had no need for a depot.

The Copemish depot, now attached to the Country Store in Glen Arbor, will house a few special art shows this summer and go into full operation as part of the store next year. It is a quaint and colorful addition to an already picturesque gift shop. Now safety preserved from destruction, the depot can live in gracious and useful retirement after its long years as a bustling little center of travel and commerce.