Michigan City, Indiana
100 Washington Street Michigan City, IN 46360
- Annual Station Revenue (2013)
- Annual Station Ridership (2013)
|Parking Lot Ownership||Amtrak|
|14 Long Term Parking Spaces||14 Short Term Parking Spaces||Accessible Platform|
|Accessible Waiting Room||Dedicated Parking||Wheelchair Lift|
- Wolverine Service
Local Community Links:
The Amtrak stop in Michigan City consists of a concrete platform and a shelter adjacent to the former Michigan Central Railroad (MCRR) depot. Built in 1915, the prairie-style brick building has a hipped roof and wide eaves and now houses a restaurant. As part of the Mobility First Initiative of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the Michigan City station received a new wheelchair lift and enclosure in 2010. Additionally, the station received new paint markings and signage for accessible parking stalls on existing paving.
The first passenger depot was built here in the 1850s, across the tracks from the MCRR depot. It was in front of this first depot that Abraham Lincoln’s funeral train stopped on May 1, 1865, under a memorial arch constructed for the occasion. The second MCRR depot, approximately on the site of the current building, burned in 1914.
A large freight house and passenger depot built for the Monon Railroad stood a block further west across Franklin Street, and at the harbor on the east side of Franklin Street stood a large complex of engine repair shops, turntable and roundhouse of the MCRR. Once a familiar landmark in the city, the shops were built in 1851-52. The site was placed on the National Register of Historic Places until it was demolished in 1978.
Sited on Lake Michigan at the mouth of Trail Creek in the Indiana sand dune region, Michigan City was surveyed as early as 1828 with an eye to developing a commercial harbor and city as well as a road inland to transport supplies to homesteaders in central Indiana. In 1830, Crawfordsville developer Isaac C. Elston purchased 160 acres at the mouth of Trail Creek, and the town was named for the road leading up to Lake Michigan. By 1836, Michigan City incorporated, having grown to quite a large town in the midst of relative wilderness.
The harbor was not truly usable by most ships until the late 19th century—preference being given to Chicago as a potential harbor. Still, some goods were ferried to ships on the lake. Aside from its role as a transport junction, the creek afforded the city a good location for lumber and grist mills for the grain and wood brought for shipping. Once the railroad arrived, however, it eventually supplanted shipping as a means of transport to market. Nonetheless, Michigan City is home of the Old Michigan City Light, one of Indiana’s few lighthouses.
In 1852, the firm of Haskell, Barker and Aldridge built a major factory to manufacture railroad freight cars. This became Michigan City’s largest and longest-lived industry, at one time building as many as 10,000 cars annually, and employing more than 3,500 workers. In 1922, Pullman-Standard purchased Haskell-Barker. The plant manufactured Pullman sleeping cars for Allied troops during World War II. The factory finally closed in the 1970s; in 1973, most of the 100-acre plant burned. Since then, that area has been cleared and redeveloped.
Once a famous Indiana landmark, a sand dune called Hoosier Slide rose 175 feet above Michigan City and the surrounding low-lying countryside. At one time mantled with trees, cow paths marked its slopes and people picnicked on its crest. The timber was eventually cut for building the city across the creek and until the late 1800s it was a popular recreation spot. About 1890 it was discovered that the clean sands of the Hoosier Slide were ideal for glassmaking, and over the next 30 years, 13.5 million tons of sand were shipped away from the dune until it was leveled. Much of the sand also went to Chicago as fill for Jackson Park and for the Illinois Central right-of-way. The site was acquired for an electrical generating plant in the late 1920s, which still operates.
The Chicago South Shore and South Bend (CSS&SB) Railroad’s South Shore Line, one of the last of the electrified interurban railroads, runs from Chicago’s Millennium Station to South Bend Airport., passing through Michigan City. The South Shore Line is operated today by the Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District and its passenger trains still share 11th Street in Michigan City with cars, trucks and pedestrians, a practice known as “street-running.”
Today, Michigan City is still a destination for visitors to the lakefront Washington Park and beaches with their “singing sands,” as well as the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore Park. Visitors also come for boating and sport fishing—salmon and trout were successfully introduced into the lake in the 1970s—the Blue Chip Casino riverboat (the largest such in Indiana), and the Lighthouse Place Premium Outlets shopping mall.
Amtrak does not provide ticketing or help with baggage at the Michigan City station, which is served by three daily trains.