MARP will be among the first community groups to enjoy the recently completed restoration of the historic Grand Trunk Western Railway Station in Lansing. Built in 1902, this classic Spier & Rohn-designed building hasn’t seen service as a passenger station since 1971 and was 4 years into its life as a restaurant when Gerald Ford dropped by for lunch during a whistle stop campaign tour in 1976.
The building has been painstakingly restored in conjunction with the development of the new Lansing Board of Water & Light cogeneration plant with which it shares the 5.3 acre site in the area known as Reo Town. The depot is listed on the State Register of Historic Sites and the National Register of Historic Places.
The BWL spent more than $2.8 million restoring the depot to serve as the home for board meetings and employee training. From its terra cotta roof to the dark wood ceiling, period light fixtures, windows, walls and wainscoting, the restoration has been described as “stunning”.
Two design firms, Ann Arbor’s Quinn Evans and Cornerstone of Grand Rapids, shared the design work on the restoration. Two Lansing-based companies, Granger Construction and Christman Co., did the exterior and interior work, respectively.
The eye-catching terra cotta roof involved a bit of serendipity. The tiles were 110 years old and needed to be replaced. The original manufacturer — Ludowici Roof Tile Co. of New Lexington, Ohio, a 120-year-old company with roots in Renaissance Rome and still in business — had the original plans for the depot and produced 14,600 new tiles to the original specifications.
Following the meeting, please plan to socialize over lunch at Clara’s Lansing Station, another of Lansing’s historic railway stations, at 637 East Michigan.
Michigan Association of Railroad Passengers
Read the Lansing State Journal article by Steven R. Reed here.
The $182 million-fired REO Town cogeneration plant was completed in mid-2013, producing affordable electricity and steam while significantly reducing the emissions associated with burning coal. BWL’s general manager Peter Lark has said, “We believe we have the cleanest, most efficient electricity-and-steam-producing unit in the country”.
REO Town, just south of Downtown Lansing, is at the core of Lansing’s automotive history and is one of Lansing’s revitalized gems. The commercial corridor and three neighborhoods of Moore’s Park, Fabulous Acres and River Point make up Reo Town. These distinct neighbors surround the former R. E. Olds Motor plant which was the backbone of Capital region labor in the early 1900’s.