Holland, MI (HOM)
The former Pere Marquette Railroad depot was purchased by the city in 1989 and subsequently renovated to serve as an intermodal center. In spring, colorful tulip beds welcome travelers.
171 Lincoln Avenue
Holland, MI 49423
Annual Station Ridership (2016): 35,062
- Facility Ownership: City of Holland
- Parking Lot Ownership: City of Holland
- Platform Ownership: CSXT
- Track Ownership: CSXT
For information about Amtrak fares and schedules, please call 1-800-USA-RAIL (1-800-872-7245).
Passengers at Holland board and detrain from Amtrak Pere Marquette trains at the former Pere Marquette Railroad (PM) station built in 1926. Located slightly northeast of downtown, the station was erected at the insistence of station agent Edward Belden Rich, who had requested a larger depot for the town since his arrival in 1909. The new one-story station was constructed of brown variegated brick; the long structure hugs the ground and is topped with a hipped roof. Exterior decoration is minimal and this aesthetic continues on into the interior. The waiting room has a graceful coved ceiling framed by a wood cornice in a light tone; the same wood is also found in the baseboard, doors, window surrounds, and benches and creates a simple but unified space that is well lighted by the numerous windows.
After abandonment in 1971, the depot fell into disrepair. Amtrak commenced the Pere Marquette service in 1984, but passengers at Holland initially used a small enclosed shelter on the platform. Wishing to create a better image of the city for rail and bus travelers, civic leaders began to think about the purchase and renovation of the depot. After negotiations with CSX, Holland bought the depot in 1989 for $300,000, and a series of renovations was undertaken that included work on the station and the grounds.
Rededicated in 1991, the building was renamed the Louis and Helen Padnos Transportation Center in memory of a local couple prominent in the business community. Today it is a true multimodal transportation center that serves Amtrak trains, Macatawa Area Express Transportation Authority (MAX) buses, and Indian Trails intercity bus lines. The renovation and restoration was funded by a $1 million grant from the Michigan Department of Transportation, a $366,000 contribution by the city, and a $250,000 donation from the Louis and Helen Padnos Foundation. Currently, the MAX administration occupies a portion of the structure, Indian Trails maintains a ticket counter, and Amtrak and bus passengers use the waiting room.
The front façade is framed by beautiful lawns and flowerbeds that include many of the spring tulips for which Holland is famous. Trackside, a row of flowering trees works with the deep eaves of the roof to shelter passengers while they wait for the train to arrive. There is also a covered walkway and waiting area extending to the southwest of the main building. When the renovations were underway, crews uncovered the original 1926 time capsule that Edward Rich had placed in the building. It contained period newspapers and railroad publications. Continuing the tradition, the city and the Joint Archives of Holland sealed a new time capsule in the renovated depot.
Located along the coast of Lake Michigan in an extensively forested area, Holland did not receive rail service until the early 1870s; there were many proposals in the 1860s, yet little came of these efforts. The Allegan and Holland Railroad put forward the idea of a 30 mile route between the two towns in 1868, but before anything was accomplished, this line was consolidated with the planned Muskegon and Ferrysburg Railroad in 1869 to form the Michigan Lakeshore Railroad (MLS). Within two years, the MLS had completed a 57 mile line connecting Allegan and Muskegon that primarily served the lumber interests of the region. After a series of receiverships and consolidations, the lines passing through Holland eventually became part of the Pere Marquette Railroad, an important transportation network in western Michigan during the first half of the 20th century. The Holland depot was located at a strategic junction between the Grand Rapids-Chicago and Allegan-Pentwater lines that connected the town to the larger regional and national rail systems.
The town of Holland was to have been established in Wisconsin, but an early winter and other obstacles to travel caused its first settlers to instead look at lands in the southwestern corner of the Lower Peninsula of Michigan. The area around the Macatawa River and Macatawa Lake—also referred to as the Black River and Black Lake— had long been settled by the Ottawa, Chippewa, and Potawatomie peoples. Macatawa comes from the corruption of the Ottawa word “Muckitawoggome” meaning “black water.”
Holland was founded in 1847 by a group of 60 Dutch Calvinists who had left Rotterdam amidst an economic downturn in order to seek a place to practice their faith freely and build a community of their own. Their leader was the Reverend Albertus C. VanRaalte, who scouted the territory around Lake Macatawa and determined that its location close to Lake Michigan and prime forests could prove beneficial to his group.
The immigrants quickly established a village and made plans to improve access to Lake Michigan to facilitate shipping. After repeated pleas to the federal government went unanswered, the community undertook the physical labor and dug a shipping channel. An academy for young men was erected and a market square cleared. All progressed until October 1871 when a wind-fed fire devastated the town much like the more famous fire that destroyed Chicago in the same year. Instead of turning away in defeat, the town rose again, and it attracted furniture factories and other manufacturing interests, lumber yards, a Heinz Company pickle plant, and agricultural markets that took advantage of proximity to the state’s “Fruit Ridge”—a series of fruit farms and orchards along Lake Michigan that produced apples, cherries, blueberries, and plums.
The late 19th century also saw the development of the Lake Michigan shore into a tourist destination. A rising middle class enjoying new work-related benefits like paid vacation time increased the demand for tourism opportunities. Holland hosted the Ottawa Beach Hotel and Hotel Macatawa, which took advantage of the sandy beaches and picturesque dunes sited four miles west of the city center. By the 1920s, thousands of vacationers came to the area from as far as Chicago and Grand Rapids. Apart from the lakes and their recreational opportunities, visitors also enjoyed the mysteries of Lakewood Farm which boasted greenhouses filled with rare plants and a private zoo.
After the Ottawa Beach Hotel burned down in 1923, the state purchased the land around it and created Holland State Park on the north side of the channel connecting Lakes Michigan and Macatawa. Today it is one of the most popular recreational areas in Michigan and provides visitors with camping grounds, beaches, and a boat launch. On the south side of the channel, visitors young and old appreciate the Holland Harbor Light, a lighthouse that has stood guard over the harbor since 1907. Its vibrant red facade attracts photographers and artists throughout the year to chronicle its changing hues against the crystal clear sky. “Big Red” was almost lost in the 1970s until a local group of activists organized to save the structure; it was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1978 and is now an unofficial symbol of the city.
The National Trust for Historic Preservation has named Holland a “Distinctive Destination” and a “Great American Mainstreet” due to its intact historic core and the strong ties that the community retains to the Netherlands. Visitors are drawn in May by Tulip Time, a festival first held in 1929; today more than six million tulips are planted throughout the city and the event, which features Dutch folk-dancing, attracts half a million people. A beloved destination during Tulip Time is the windmill De Zwaan, a 250 year old authentic windmill that the city purchased from a Dutch farmer in 1964 and installed on Windmill Island in the Macatawa River just north of the Amtrak station. Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands was the first visitor in 1965.
Those interested in Dutch immigration to Michigan and the nation in general should head to the Holland Museum on Centennial Park and the VanRaalte Institute on the campus of Hope College. The museum showcases exhibitions on the history of the town and Dutch art and culture including paintings, delftware, and clothing. The Archives and Research Library preserves written and visual documents relating to the first settlers; the VanRaalte Institute focuses on materials about Dutch immigration and the Dutch in America.
In the spirit of those first settlers who sought a better and new life across the Atlantic, Holland has welcomed a growing Hispanic population and refugees from Southeast Asia. Just as the region’s Dutch heritage is celebrated through various yearly events, the new Tulipanes Latino Art and Film Festival held in September highlights Hispanic culture through food, music, and art.
The Pere Marquette service is financed primarily through funds made available by the Michigan State Department of Transportation. Amtrak does not provide ticketing or baggage services at the Holland station which is served by two daily trains.
- 50 Short Term Parking Spaces
- 50 Long Term Parking Spaces
- Accessible Platform
- Accessible Restrooms
- Accessible Waiting Room
- Accessible Water Fountain
- Dedicated Parking
- Enclosed Waiting Area
- Pay Phones
- Quik Trak Kiosk
- Wheelchair Lift