Inside the Michigan Central Railroad Shops: Jackson, Michigan
By the 1870s, Jackson had become Michigan's Number One Michigan Central passenger station, beating out even Detroit, with up to thirty train arrivals and departures every single day. The Michigan Central Railroad repair shops have been serving the trains and locomotives in Jackson since 1871. As mentioned in an Mlive article, “The work in general consists of tearing down, repairing and reassembling steam locomotives. These are sent into the shop by schedule, based on mileage.”
The repair shops - known as “The Junction” - served eight railroad lines that all met up in Jackson from every direction. Clustering in Jackson, the city became known as “Central City” and was a huge leap for the city's progress.
A combination of acreage from the city and Carr farms gave the rail shops a total of 180 acres. The facilities boasted 1,000 engineers, mechanics, and other skilled labor, and in just a few years the population of Jackson had just about tripled.
Things were going great and the future looked rosy...but in 1949 a coal strike signaled the end of the repair shops' glory days. 475 men lost their jobs that summer and some buildings were demolished. Others survived, and the remains were purchased by Miller Trucking and used for a warehouse facility for industrial supplies and machinery. Miller's also knows the historic value of the property and embraces its legacy.
To find it, head east on Michigan Avenue until you reach Page Avenue, then turn right on Elm Street. The tracks are right there and you can see these great old buildings off in the short distance.
As quoted in Mlive, “They’re a majestic reminder of a mostly forgotten era.”
Now take a look inside as depicted in the photo gallery below...
Michigan Central Railroad Shops, Jackson