Holly's Railroads / Holly Union Depot
In 1854 when "the last rail was laid and the last spike driven in the Detroit and Milwaukee Railway between Detroit and Holly" the Oakland County Advertiser reported "great rejoicing among Hollyites who had lived so long in the woods." In 1858 Holly became Michigan's first railroad junction following the completion of a second track, the Flint and Holly Railway. Before long, both railroads had expanded and reorganized, becoming two of Michigan's leading lines, the Grand Trunk and the Pere Marquette. These routes connected Michigan's dense old growth pine forests to the industrial centers of the Midwest and Northeast. At the height of the railroad era, it was common to see more than one hundred trains pass through the Holly junction in a period of twenty-four hours.
Holly Union Depot
The February 13, 1886, issue of the Oakland County Advertiser declared this depot "a model of elegance and convenience" in the description of its dedication. Heitsch and Son of Pontiac built this Italianate-style structure at a cost of $6,500. The interior was clad in Norway pine and featured two ticket offices, one for each railway that served Holly. The depot included two waiting rooms. One was reserved exclusively for women; the other was fitted with an elegant walnut lunch counter, a rarity for the depot's size. It offered a "clean palatable lunch, not an average railway 'liverpad.'" The large stone panels in the depot's floor and its exposed stud framing are details that are not found in any other Michigan train depot.