Public Invited to Saline Depot Museum for Independence Day Celebration Saturday

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 06/28/2019 - 21:27

Celebrate Independence Day by riding the velocipede, viewing antique tractors and touring the Saline Depot Museum, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., Saturday, June 29.

The Depot Museum is located at 402 N. Ann Arbor St.

The Saline Area Historical Society bills 5th Annual Wayne Clements Memorial Independence Day Event as an “old-fashioned, family-friendly event.”

Activities include:

  • Touring the depot, livery barn and caboose.
  • Antique tractors.
  • Riding the velocipede on the tracks (hand cart).
  • A bounce house and kids games on grassy area.
  • Food from Kiwanis and the Lions.
  • Taking photos with a 1903 Oldsmobile.
  • Saline Area Historical Society gift shop selections.

Free Parking is available at Henne Field, on Bennett Street.

Saline was a stage stop on Chicago Road in its early days. With the arrival of the Detroit, Hillsdale and Indiana Railroad, when the depot opened on July 4, 1870, Saline grew into a mercantile and shipping center for this area of Washtenaw County. The depot served as a center of economic and civic life for the town and its rural surroundings.

While village experience a boom with the arrival of the railroad, the company went into bankruptcy, and reopened with many of the same owners. A rival railroad, the Wabash Railroad, became more popular, as it connected Detroit and St. Louis. Still, the railroad served Saline well, providing transportation for people and for farmers selling grains, livestock and other goods.

The depot’s telegraph facilities connected the townsfolk to outside world before the telephone made its way to town.

By the 1930s, the demand for rail to transport passengers and freight had declined. Robert Keefer, of Hillsdale, was to take a passenger train in 1930 – although the New York Central would later add a passenger car to the rear of a daily freight train. The tempo picked up at the depot during World War II. But the depot closed in the early 1960s and the last scheduled train passed through town in 1962. The Ford plant and Bridgewater Lumber used the track for shipments from time to time. The track was abandoned in 1967.

In the 1970s David and Dean Zahn bought the depot and land from Saline Mercantile. In 1980, the Zahns gave the depot to the Saline Historic District Commission and sold the land to the city.

In the 1980s, the depot was used as a studio by puppeteer Meredith Bixby. It was also used by the Saline Area Players community theater group. For more, see the PDF attached below.

Tran Longmoore's picture
Tran Longmoore
Tran Longmoore is a veteran community journalist. He is founder and owner of TheSalinePost.com. He is co-publisher of The Saline Post weekly newspaper. Email him at [email protected] or call him at 734-272-6294.

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