ALL ABOARD: Benzie history tour group stops at Kaleva Depot

History and railroad enthusiasts took a tour of the Manistee and Northeastern railroad grade route on Saturday with a stop at the Kaleva Depot. Sonny Miller offers some information about the depot and the area. (Michelle Graves/News Advocate)

KALEVA — A busload of railroad and history enthusiasts made a stop in Kaleva on Saturday during the Manistee and Northeastern Old Railroad Grade and Depot tour.

The event was part of Benzie Area Historical Society’s motor coach tours of local railroad history.

The tour began at the Benzie Area Historical Museum and followed the Manistee and Northeastern railroad grade route to Honor, Lake Ann, Interlochen, Karlin, Nessen City, Platte River Junction,

Cindy Asiala, president of the Kaleva Historical Society, talks about the Kaleval Depot to those who participated in the Benzie Area Historical Society’s motor coach tour on Saturday. The depot was one of several stops. (Michelle Graves/News Advocate)

Copemish, Thompsonville and Kaleva.

The highlight of the day was a tour of the historic Kaleva Depot Museum, which was rebuilt in 1908 following a fire.

Kaleva Historical Society president Cindy Asiala offered history of the area and the depot, telling the group about the how structure was revitalized a little more than 20 years ago.

While teaching at Brethren High School, along with the art teacher, Asiala lead a service learning class that ultimately restored the depot and other structures in the village.

“The depot was windows broken out, ceiling falling down, holes that one of the students fell into. They decided that they would take on the project of refurbishing the depot. So over two years … they came on the bus from Brethren,” Asiala said.

A group of volunteers also helped with items and staffing and the depot opened in 1998. Find out more about the depot at kalevami.com.

“I think that saving this depot was one of the best things that could happen, and it was a joint project of the school, the community, the village. We worked two years and then we had a grand open with the band, the superintendent and the students. Since then it has been open on Saturdays for 20 years,” Asiala said.

This tour was a collaboration between the Benzie Area Historical Society and the Kaleva Historical Society.

While at the Kaleva Depot, those on the Benzie Area Historical Society’s motor coach tour had a chance to learn about Kaleva’s history. (Michelle Graves/News Advocate)

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Posted by Michelle Graves

Michelle is the managing editor of the Manistee News Advocate. You can reach her at (231) 398-3106 or mgraves@pioneergroup.com.

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