Michigan Central Railroad Depot, photo submitted c. 1980
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Michigan Central Railroad Niles Depot
598 Dey Street, Niles - Berrien County
Other Names Michigan Central Station
Property Type railroad depot
Historic Use TRANSPORTATION/rail-related
Current Use TRANSPORTATION/rail-related
Style Romanesque
Architect/Builder Spier and Rohns
Narrative Description The Niles Railroad Depot is basically an asymmetrically-planned, coursed ashlar Richardsonian Romanesque structure built of brown sandstone. Topped by high hip and gable-roofs, the building is divided into three sections: a 125-foot-long single-story hip-roofed baggage collection area connected to the main building by a 50-foot-long hipped-roof covered walkway; a main front-gable section measuring 65 feet long by 54 feet wide featuring an arched entrance and second-story bay window, with an apsidal extension surrounded by a verandah. Dominating the facade between the main building and the walkway is a 60-foot-high tower topped by a pyramidal hipped-roof which houses a clock manufactured by Howard Brothers of Boston.
Statement of Significance The Niles Railroad Depot is significant for its importance to the development of the Michigan Central Railroad Line and the City of Niles. It was the last major stop along the route from Detroit to Chicago. It is also notable as one of the larger and finer surviving late nineteenth-century railroad stations in Michigan. The architects of the depot were Frederich Spier and William C. Rohns and the building was finished from their plans in 1891-92. In 1892, John Gipner of Germany designed the station's stunning gardens. Still used for its intended purpose, the depot is relatively in original condition. The most major changes have been the conversion of the kitchen and dining room (respectively) into the engineer's locker room and the baggage room. In 1935 the New York Central bought the Michigan Central and the greenhouses were torn down and the gardens soon followed. The exterior architectural integrity of the building however, is marred only by a lack of maintenance. The Niles station has remained in use as a depot since 1892 and, despite neglect, has retained much of its original fabric and character.
Period of Significance 1866-1900
Significant Date(s) 1891-92
Registry Type(s) 01/13/1993 Marker erected
09/19/1979 National Register listed
10/15/1992 State Register listed
Site ID# P25429