The Saline Railroad Depot, with its freight house, telegraph, and passenger facilities, served as a crucial link in the economic transformation that took place between Saline's rural hinterlands and the outside world.
Without the access the Depot afforded, Saline probably would have gone the way of thousands of small midwestern towns. The story of our Depot is not only the story of village growth, it is the story of Saline's integration into the larger economy of the country.
Although all the original surrounding buildings have been removed, the Depot still stands on its original site. During its heyday, the complex consisted of a depot building, storage barn, wool barn, livestock pens, loading facilities, water storage tank and outdoor bathroom.
Up to six scheduled steam trains a day moved 20 to 30 miles per hour. At stops, trainmen sometimes took the time to pick strawberries or flowers along the tracks. Nothing but the best for the dining car!
In the 1980s, David and Dean Zahn owned the property. The land was sold to the City of Saline and the Depot, itself, was given to the Saline Historic District Commission.
For several years, the building was rented to non-profit organizations. Since 1995, the City has leased the building to the Saline Area Historical Society to operate as a museum. The freight room of this historic building contains fine exhibits about railroad and history of Saline and the building, itself, has been on the National Register of Historic Places since 1995.
The Depot Museum is open year round on Saturdays for browsing and for guided tours. Visitors will see a station agent's room, freight room, furnished caboose, and livery barn. A restored Eclipse Windmill is on the property. Regular hours are 11:00-3:00 and by appointment. Groups larger than ten a reservation. Call 734-944-0442
Funding obtained from the sale of engraved bricks and foundation blocks will be used for major projects at the railroad depot museum. Bricks and blocks will continue to be permanently installed to re-create the former passenger room floor at the west entry of the depot building. For $100, a Brick Paver (4" x 8") or $1000 for a Foundation Block (12" x 12") will be engraved with the name(s) of donor(s) or loved ones. Request a form by contacting the Saline Area Historical Society, P.O. Box 302, Saline, MI 48176. State your name and address.