The Capac Railroad Depot is a bit off the beaten path. Situated east of Imlay City, it maintains the vibrant small-town rural charm found in Michigan. The town is located between Port Huron and Flint. The historic railroad depot is also home to one of the finest small-town museums in the region.
The Grand Trunk Western opened a station in Capac in 1866. The community was incorporated as a village in 1873. The depot served as the village economic focal point. Amazingly this is the forth depot for this small town. The first depot built north of the tracks burned down in 1880, and a second, brick depot was built south of the tracks. It was declared “unsafe” and replaced by a third depot north of the tracks in the 1890s. The third depot was lost to a fire in 1913. This fourth and final depot was sold to the town for $1 and moved to this location in 1988.
The Kempf Model City
The Capac Railroad Depot Museum is also home to the Kempf Model City. A 1/8th scale diorama of a model town that was painstakingly crafted from 1916 to 1923. The display is 40 feet long. The owners toured and displayed the miniature city at expositions, state fairs and in retail department stores from 1923 to 1942.
This is actually the second version of the model. The original Kempf Model City was built by Fred S. Kempf in the early 1900s when he was a teenager. The Mechanical Wonder was shown in events across the country from vaudeville acts to county fairs. The original model was destroyed as a result of a horrific train crash, which killed Fred Kempf and his wife in 1915.
Thanks to the Capac Historical Society Museum and the members of the Quilters in Training Quilt Guild of Capac for their hospitality. The Kempf Center is open Monday through Friday from Noon to 3:00 pm. The Depot Museum is open May through September, Monday through Friday from Noon to 3:00 pm and Sunday from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm.
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