The Detroit-Bay City Railroad Company Columbiaville Depot
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Detroit-Bay City Railroad Company Columbiaville Depot
4643 First Street, Columbiaville - Lapeer County
Other Names Columbiaville Rotary Club and Public Library
Property Type railroad depot
Historic Use TRANSPORTATION/rail-related
Current Use EDUCATION/library
Style Late Victorian
Queen Anne
Significant Person William Peter
Narrative Description The Columbiaville Depot is a small and functionally designed building reflecting Queen Anne influences through its asymmetrical massing, romantically varied roofline, and recessed and projecting wall surfaces and Richardsonian Romanesque influences through its deeply inset windows and heavy, rounded-arch door and window enframements. A feeling of weight and permanence is provided for the single-story building, both stylistically and through its building materials: the Flemish-bond, red brick walls are eighteen inches thick and rest on a stone slab foundation. The wall surfaces are enlivened by the use of contrasting stone bandcourses, stone spring-blocks in the window and door surrounds, and, in particular, decorative terra cotta tiles insets. Although the interior now houses the library and the Rotary Club meeting room, the building retains its original wainscoting, wood floors, and ceiling, and painted brick walls.
Statement of Significance Built at a time when depots were becoming architectural show pieces of brick and stone that replaced earlier plain frame structures, the Columbiaville Depot embodies the distinctive characteristics and craftsmanship of fine but functional railroad architecture. It also is associated with William Peter, a person significant in the village's history and in the area's logging industry, and is reflective of the broad patterns of the lumbering and railroad heritage important to the Thumb Region of Michigan. William Peter came to the Columbiaville area in 1847 and platted the fledgling Village of Columbiaville in 1871. Columbiaville and its development were directly tied to the growth of Peter's lumber-based fortune and his continued investment in the community. In an effort to spur development of the Village of Columbiaville and to assure the continued growth of his many business investments in the community, Peter bargained with the Detroit-Bay City Railroad Company to establish a passenger and freight stop at Columbiaville in return for construction of a depot. Using lumber and red bricks produced by his own companies, Peter built this small but functionally designed depot, completed in 1893. The depot served as a railroad facility until 1964. It currently serves as the meeting place of the local Rotary Club and as the local public library.
Marker Name Columbiaville Depot
Marker Text COLUMBIAVILLE DEPOT In the nineteenth century, railroads provided the prime transportation link between small villages and the rest of the country. The first Columbiaville depot was built near this site in 1872. In 1893, William Peter (1824-1899) replaced that structure with this small Romanesque-inspired depot with its rounded-arch, beveled-glass windows. Peter, Columbiaville's dominant merchant and a millionaire lumber baron, built the new depot in an effort to spur the development of the village and assure the continued growth of his many businesses. By prior agreement, he gave the building to the Detroit-Bay City Railroad Company in exchange for having a line run through the community. The property was deeded to the company for one dollar in 1893. It served as a train station until 1964. The depot now houses the Columbiaville Rotary Club and a public library.
Period of Significance 1866-1900
Significant Date(s) Built 1893
Registry Type(s) 09/11/1981 Marker erected
04/05/1984 National Register listed
10/23/1979 State Register listed
Site ID# P23848