and and enjoy yourself while we take you on a trip through time to the
19th century. Ready?
The Michigan Central Railroad
Depot was built in 1888 to support the growing transportation needs
of Battle Creek and the U.S. Army training center at Fort Custer. It
was heavily used by soldiers departing for overseas duty in World War
I and World War II.
The Depot is on the National Register of Historic Places for its age
and architectural significance. Masonry of Lake Superior red sandstone,
noted for its distinctive patterns, provides one of the most striking
aspects of the depot's exterior. Another prominent feature of the Depot
is its clock tower. The tower clocks have been replicated
to look exactly as they once did over 100 years ago.
Step inside the Depot and
turn back the clock.
A walk through Clara's on the River is a walk through the history of Battle
Creek. The two signed Bradley Hubbard brass lanterns hanging in the foyer
were part of the Depot's original decor. In the foyer you
will also find a glass display case, which holds many of the first cereal
boxes ever printed in Battle Creek. Atop this display case sits a beautiful
period rocking horse generously donated by the Martich family.
As you pass through the
original oak doors, the grand Fireplace
Room is on your left.
sitting on one of the benches located near the fireplace trying to stay
warm while waiting for the train! That's what passengers used to do
during the harsh Michigan winters. The rocking
horse seen above the mantel was originally donated to the pediatric
ward of the Leila Post Hospital in 1930. Notice the original white oak
ceilings and red oak wainscotting and trim which have been painstakingly
restored to their turn-of-the-century elegance.
Returning to the lobby, you will see two chandeliers which are from
the original Bill Knapps restaurant in downtown Battle Creek. The double
oak doors leading into the Tower Room once adorned the music building
at Michigan State University.
The Tower Room , illuminated
by a backlit stained glass ceiling, was originally the ticket agent's
office. This room is where you will find railroad memorabilia, the restored
ticket counter, and a hand-carved floor lamp brought back from abroad
by Mr. and Mrs. Post.
As we leave the Tower Room, you will see an oil portrait of Leila
Post. As you wander down the hall you will notice
many artifacts from the Kellogg Company. In particular, you will find
two pictures titled, "The Sweetheart
of Corn." These are reproductions of the original artwork used in
Kellogg advertisments in the early 1900s. You will also
come across a picture of the very first factory that W. K. Kellogg built
Further down the hall you will find the bar and Sparkey's
lounge area holds many interesting antiques, such as the Carousel
horse that came from Michigan's Upper Peninsula. The iron door between
Sparkey's Lounge and the Fabric Ceiling Room was donated by the Sisters
of the Leila Post Hospital. This door was designed by Marion Lahr, who
worked at the hospital in 1939.
Passing through the Fabric Ceiling Room you will come to an elegant
little room called Nora's Room.
Nora's Room is filled with pictures of early downtown Battle Creek.
This room was formerly part of the Depot's Baggage Building.
Thousands of people thronged
the tracks at the Michigan Central Depot to hear Republican Presidential
Candidate Alf Landon speak in his unsuccessful 1936 bid for office.
Although the Michigan Central
Railroad Depot stopped serving passengers in the early 1980's, today
the Depot continues to serve customers making stops from all over the
country as Clara's on the River.
Clara's staff would like
to thank Karen's Keepsakes of Battle Creek for helping us to acquire
many of the antiques on display in the restaurant.
Special thanks are due to
Penny Degarmo and the Junior Women' League, Friends of the Depot, and
the City of Battle Creek, who saved this unique building from being
destroyed. Thanks to their efforts and the efforts of many others, too
numerous to name, we were able to take historic landmark and convert
it into place where people can enjoy a "Good Old Time."
Thank you for joining us
at Clara's on the River, and stop in again soon! We invite you to visit
our Clara's Train Station in Lansing.
This 1903 Michigan Central Depot is every bit as charming, and is another