The Steam Railroading Institute’s welcome center is in a renovated freight warehouse that was originally serviced by the Ann Arbor Railroad. Its construction date is unclear, but a structure sat on its current foundation as early as the late 1880’s. It is speculated that this structure burned down and the current concrete-block one was built in the 1920’s.
The building was originally used as a creamery, then as a warehouse for storing sacks of grain. Bruckman’s Moving and Storage then leased the building from the railroad and used it for storage. Owosso was traditionally a furniture and casket making city, known for its master woodworkers and the welcome center is an example of this facet of city history. The building’s floor is incredibly solid, capable of handling heavy loads and the ceiling is of solid wood trusses with king post supports on the ceiling.
In 2004, the building was purchased by the Steam Railroading Institute from the Tuscola and Saginaw Bay Railway Company and was renovated for use as the welcome center. It contains exhibits, a model railroad layout, and SRI’s collection of artifacts and archival materials in our library.