The Kaleva Depot
The Kaleva Depot in the early 20th Century on a vintage postcard.
The Kaleva Depot in
it's present condition.
Memorial Day to Labor Day Only
Noon to 4 pm
To find the Depot in the village of Kaleva from Nine Mile Rd, turn north onto Walta St.
The Depot will be approximately three (3) blocks north on the west side of the street across from the Kaleva Tavern.
The first Kaleva depot was built in the late 1800's. At that time Kaleva was known as Manistee Crossings. In 1904, the original Depot burned in a major fire that destroyed much of the business district. In 1908 the present depot was built. The RR museum located in the depot houses a collection artifacts about the history of railroads and their impact on Kaleva.
In 1996, the Service Learning Class from Brethren High School restored the Depot and in the 1998 the Depot Railroad Museum opened to the public. Today, the RR Depot Museum houses many railroad artifacts, photos, and displays pertinent to the Kaleva Railroad Depot, as well as a scale model of the Depot with a model train circling it.
Outdoors, visitors will see one of the last two Switch Engines to work in the Kaleva Rail yards. The Village of Kaleva has bought and the Depot Crew of retirees restored a M&NE Switch engine located beside the depot. The “twin” to this engine, pictured right, also recently restored, still serves in the Marquette Rail yard in Manistee.
Many hours of work by high school service learning students from Brethren High School restored it to its present condition. The RR Depot Museum is owned by the Village of Kaleva and operated and maintained by the Kaleva Historical Society. Recent restoration of the exterior bricks was funded by the Oleson Foundation of Traverse City, Michigan.
To read more about the revitalization efforts of the Depot, click here.
For more articles about the Kaleva Depot, past and present, click here.
A Brief History - Kaleva Depot
In the spring of 1887, the Buckley & Douglas Lumber Company of Manistee began building a railroad to transport logs from the forest to its sawmill in Manistee, and they named the railroad the Manistee & Northeastern. After the land was stripped of pine, the Manistee & Northeastern hired a land dealer to sell the "worthless" land and focused primarily on the Finns, because this area was so much like their native, heavily forested, Finland (before all the trees were cut down!). The town which resulted, and the streets, were named from the epic Finnish poem, the Kalevala.
In 1904 the depot burned down, along with all the stores on the main street. In 1908 the present depot was built. When the railroads quit running in Kaleva, in 1970, the village was able to save the depot from being torn down. (As that is what the railroads typically did when lines were no longer in service). To read the full history of the Kaleva Depot, click here:
The History of the Kaleva Railroad Depot by Charles Showalter, Manistee, MI