Holly’s Venerable Union Depot Train Station Competes for $2 Million in National Contest

Vote now and vote often to engage in preserving Oakland County historic landmark

The Holly Union Train Depot is competing with 20 other sites for a share of $2 million to rehabilitate the historic property. Oakland County photos

The Village of Holly and its Union Depot are vying for a share of $2 million to help rehabilitate and transform the building into a welcome center touting Holly’s history and celebrating the important role women past and present play in the community.

The Holly Union Depot, built in 1886, is one of 20 finalists from 19 states in the Partners in Preservation campaign. Grants from the fund will be distributed to support various projects, based on a public vote. Five votes a day can be cast for the Holly Union Depot until Oct. 29 at 11:59 p.m. The project receiving the most votes will get the largest grant. Nine finalists will receive lesser amounts. Votes can be cast at www.VoteYourMainStreet.org.PARTNERS IN PRESERVATIOM

“Holly has a rich history and the Union Depot was central to the important events that occurred in Holly for more than a century and most of them involved women,” Oakland County Executive David Coulter said. “Preserving the character of our historic buildings is so important to the health of our Main Street Oakland County communities and makes them inviting places to live. I hope everyone will take a few moments every day to vote for the Holly Union Depot.”

To vote, users must log in through Facebook or an authenticated email verification method. Individuals may not sign up or log in using multiple emails or accounts. Users may cast five votes per day for the Holly Union Depot per voting session. Votes will be tallied to determine which project received the highest number of votes. Those top Main Streets will be awarded a combined $2 million in American Express funding for preservation projects.

According to a Partners in Preservation description of the Depot, it “was such a ‘people place’ that over time, millions of travelers wore depressions in the floor as they waited to purchase tickets. In the course of its history, women also developed a strong connection to the Depot; there, they distributed meals for soldiers, sent the men off to war, and welcomed them home. Of note, famous Prohibitionist Carry Nation arrived at the Depot in 1908 and became known locally for her hatchet-wielding crusades against ‘demon-rum’ in nearby Battle Alley.”

Funding for Partners in Preservation comes from American Express. Supporting partners include the National Trust for Historic Preservation, National Geographic and the National Main Street Center. The current campaign seeks to uncover and raise awareness of women’s often-unrecognized contributions to American history and society.

Partners in Preservation was created by the National Trust and American Express to engage the public in preserving and increasing awareness of America’s historic places and their role in sustaining local communities. Since inception in 2006, the program has committed more than $25 million in support of more than 250 sites.

holly union train station
The Holly Union Depot.

The Holly Depot was not only an economic driver for the community but a place for social interactions to occur,” said Ron Campbell, a principal planner and preservation architect for Oakland County’s Planning Division. “Its preservation will once again allow it to fulfill its purpose and its place in history.”

An open house is set for Oct. 26 from 1-5 p.m. at the Union Depot, 223 S. Broad St. in Holly. Tours will be given of the historic building during the village “Hollyween” celebration in downtown Holly. In-person voting will take place then and visitors will receive a gift.

Since 2001, Main Street Oakland County downtowns have generated over $837 million in new public and private investment, created 8,086 jobs and established 1,163 new businesses. In 2018, public and private investment totaled $50.2 million and resulted in 450 net new jobs; 60 net new businesses; and construction of more than 138,000 square feet of floor space.

Vote Your Main StreetMain Street is a trademarked program of the National Main Street Center in Chicago. Auburn Hills, Berkley, Birmingham, Clarkston, Clawson, Farmington, Ferndale, Franklin, Groveland Township, Hazel Park, Highland Township, Holly, Holly Township, Lake Orion, Lathrup Village, Leonard, Madison Heights, Oak Park, Ortonville, Oxford, Pontiac, Rochester, Royal Oak, South Lyon and Wixom comprise Main Street Oakland County.

Oakland County is the first and still only county in the United States to operate a full-service countywide Main Street coordinating program. It is available to the county’s 32 historic downtowns, heritage corridors and mixed-use urban centers. Every dollar invested in a Main Street program spurs $32.56 of new investment in the community, amounting to $4.65 billion nationwide in 2016.