October 31, 2014

Standish depot receives historical site plaque

James Kuch
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STANDISH — The Standish Historical Depot and Welcome Center was recently presented with a bronze plaque signifying it as a historical site.

The Elizabeth Walker Warren Chapter of the National Society Colonial Dames XVII Century placed the plaque outside of the depot at a ceremony held Thursday, Sept. 16.

The plaque reads: “Historic Standish Depot built in 1889 by the Michigan Central Railroad with the help of local farmers. Presented by the Elizabeth Walker Warren Chapter of the National Society Colonial Dames XVII Century. September 16, 2010.”

Chapter president Jane Burdett said the goal of the society is to mark and preserve historical sites.

“We hope that people in the area realize that the depot is a historical part of Standish history,” she said. “It’s important to preserve history. It’s why we are here today.”

Burdett said that the Standish Historical Depot played a role in the development of early railroads in Michigan.

“This is a very neat spot,” she said.

Michigan Colonial Dames President Patrice Dehaan said the chapter worked very hard to get the plaque placed at the depot.

“They need to be commended,” she said. “It’s important to recognize historical monuments.”

Curt Hillman, chairman of the Arenac Heritage Route Authority, said the recognition for the depot is tremendous after what it took to get the depot restored.

“A good quality of work has been done, and now that work is being recognized,” he said.

Hillman gave a presentation of the history of the depot. He said this depot was actually the second depot in Standish.

He said the original depot was built in 1871, and the current depot was a place where the entire community would gather.

“It’s where people would come to send soldiers off to war,” Hillman said.

He shared a story of when a woman came to the depot after its remodeling in 2007. Hillman said that the woman came up to a window and began to cry.

“She said it was the last time she saw her brother alive before he went to war,” he said.

Hillman said the reason he wanted to see the depot reopen was to get people to stop in Standish.

“This was a way to get people to stop in Standish for something other than gas and food,” he said. “At one time this city had 17 different gas stations.”

Margaret Christie, honorary state president for the National Society of Colonial Dames, said the ceremony was special not only for the community, but for the Dames as well.

“It’s very special for us just to let the community know that we do exist,” she said.

Burdett said there are approximately 11,500 members of the National Society of Colonial Dames represented by 48 states.

The society is based in Washington, D.C., and Burdett said there are four chapters in Michigan. The Elizabeth Walker Warren Chapter, based in Tawas, has 22 members. Each member of the chapter has to have, and prove, an ancestor who lived and served prior to 1701 in one of the original 13 Colonies of the United States.

The Standish Historical Depot is located at 107 N. Main St.

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