30 April 2015

Last Day Local: Historic Michigan Railroad Depot Now a Restaurant

Source: "Michigan Central Depot Post Card Battle Creek MI" by Unknown - postcard. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Michigan_Central_Depot_Post_Card_Battle_Creek_MI.jpg

The Michigan Central Depot in Battle Creek, Michigan opened in 1888.  The Romanesque style station remained operational until the early 1980's.  Thomas Edison, Presidents William Howard Taft and Gerald Ford visited the depot at one time. During war time it was heavily used for transporting soldiers who had trained at nearby Fort Custer. 

Michigan Central Railroad sold the station to New York Central Railroad in 1918; who sold it to Penn Central in 1968; who sold it to Amtrak in 1970.  The station was listed on the National Register of Historic Places as Penn Central Railway Station, in 1971.

Currently, it is a beautiful restaurant, Clara's on the River.  Clara's opened in Battle Creek in 1992. As you can see from the pictures, much of the charm has been retained.  The red brick exterior with the replicated clock tower rises from downtown Battle Creek.  The interior showcases how much care was taken to restore this piece of Battle Creek history. Original brass lanterns greet one at the entrance, restored white oak ceilings and red oak wood trim are seen throughout the restaurant. The huge fireplace is much as it was when travelers used it to warm themselves. Tiffany style lamps, cozy nooks and antiques showcasing Battle Creek's history adds to the charm of this local favorite.

The Clock Tower, looking North.
The tree lined sidewalk is where the original tracks were.

 Walk through the arches across the river to Clara's.

 Michigan Historic Site Plaque, looking toward the river.

Clara's on the River, looking south.

Last Day Local is a blog prompt I use to celebrate the history of Battle Creek, Michigan, my hometown for the past 26 years.  I try to post one article on the last day of the month about the heritage and history of Battle Creek, The Cereal City!

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