The Historic Alanson Depot

Alanson Depot dates back to the 1880's. The Grand Rapids & Indiana Railroad formed in 1854 and it operated freight and passenger service from Cincinnati, Ohio to Mackinaw City, Michigan. This line was the longest north south line in the country extending 529 miles. Northern Michigan was largely wilderness in the middle of the 19th century and the railroad accelerated the settlement of this area. In 1876 there were few residents in Northern Michigan, but from 1876 to 1886 the lumber industry and the Michigan railroads boomed. The line through Alanson to Mackinaw City opened in 1883. By 1886 the forests were deplete and the railroads depended more on tourism. The line through Alanson was marketed as "The Fishing Line". Tourist guides were published advertising fishing opportunities and hotels and resorts in Northern Michigan. Several hotels, resorts and communities such as Topinabee and Bay View were established. In 1886 the Michigan Central Railroad and the Detroit Cleveland Steamship Navigation Co. formed the Mackinaw Island Hotel Co. and built the Grand Hotel which opened in 1887. By 1907 there were four trains running each day to and from Mackinaw City. However, with the advent of the automobile, rail ridership declined. Regular rail service ceased in 1984. Since then portions of the track have been operated from time to time, including the Michigan Northern Railroad which operated a local tourist attraction between Conway and Alanson. We hope you enjoy the architecture of the building, the historic photographs and memorabilia around the dining room. If you interested in the history of the area we recommend you visit the Alanson Museum (located just across the highway on River Street) which houses informative displays on the lumbering industry, the significance of the Crooked River and the railroads.

We support our local veterans, police and chamber! We purchase Michigan made products whenever possible!

Alanson Depot Restaurant

U.S. 31 ● Alanson, MI 49706

231-548-1296 ● 231-548-3636