The Michigan Central Railroad Chelsea Depot, photo taken 1986
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Michigan Central Railroad Chelsea Depot
150 Jackson Street, Chelsea - Washtenaw County
Other Names Chelsea Depot
Property Type railroad depot
Historic Use TRANSPORTATION/rail-related
Current Use COMMERCE/TRADE
Style Late Victorian
Architect/Builder Adams and Rogers
Mason and Rice
Narrative Description The Michigan Central Railroad Chelsea Depot is a one-story, wood-frame structure of Late Victorian design. The floor plan is rectangular with a hipped roof bay at each end. The structure's walls are of vertical boarding and horizontal clapboarding. The gables are clad in vertical board and batten. A brick walk surrounds the building and extends to the track side of the station.
Statement of Significance The Michigan Central Railroad was the main reason for Chelsea's birth and development in the nineteenth century. The railroad provided a shipping point for various agricultural products. Built in 1880, the Chelsea depot served as the shipping depot for the town during its agricultural boom in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The depot is a notable example of Late Victorian architecture and is the only known depot in Michigan done by the well known Mason and Rice architectural firm.
Marker Name Chelsea Depot / Chelsea
Marker Text CHELSEA DEPOT In 1880, Chelsea was chosen by the Michigan Central Railroad for an experiment in upgrading the appearance of rural stations. Mason and Rice of Detroit were commissioned as the new station's architects. Their design was Victorian, characterized by numerous gables and gingerbread embellishments. This depot served patrons of the Michigan Central until 1975 when the company was taken over by Amtrak. In 1981, Amtrak discontinued service to Chelsea and closed the station. Fearing damage from prolonged neglect in 1985, area citizens formed the Chelsea Depot Association to restore the building. The group purchased the depot that year, and restoration began in 1986. Chelsea In the 1830s the Congdon brothers, Elisha and James, settled the land where Chelsea is located. In 1848 they offered the Michigan Central Railroad a free site on which to build a station. The first and succeeding structures were freight stations. The first shipment sent on May 2, 1850, was a barrel of eggs weighing 130 pounds. For a time more wool was shipped from Chelsea than from any other place in the state. Grain, apple, stock and meat shipments were also large. In 1880 the Michigan Central established Chelsea as a passenger service point. The depot was built with two waiting rooms--the east for women and children, the west for men.
Period of Significance 1866-1900
Significant Date(s) Built 1880
Registry Type(s) 08/04/1988 Marker erected
06/12/1987 National Register listed
12/05/1986 State Register listed
Site ID# P24989