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We're Back!
With a New Location for Our Train Sale

Our 2024

Open House Schedule

Is Here!

Proud host of the

National Model Railroad Association

National Convention GRAND RAILS 2012

About us:


The Grand Rapids Model Railroad Historical Society was established for the purpose of promoting and preserving the hobby of model railroading, the history of railroads and railroading in the Grand Rapids area and providing a forum for the exchange of information about railroads in general. It is a goal of the Society to construct an operating scale model railroad "layout" to illustrate the history of the area railroads in a three dimensional form. This layout has been designed to represent the Pere Marquette Railroad, circa 1945, as it existed between Grand Rapids and Bay View, Michigan (known as the Petoskey Sub Division). Baldwin and Ludington, Michigan (known as the Ludington Sub Division) and Plymouth, Michigan and Chicago, Illinois.


We would like to welcome you to the home of the Grand Rapids Model Railroad Historical Society where we are in pursuit of our goal.


The structure was built by the state of Michigan in 1914 and used as a fish hatchery by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. Fingerlings, placed in milk cans were picked up by passing trains (the Petoskey Sub Division passes within 30 feet of the building) to be dumped into rivers and streams along the northern portions of the line as the trains crossed these bodies of water on the bridges and trestles. The state turned the facility over to Kent county in the mid `50's and they continued operations until the mid `70's when they decided to use the building for assembling wooden picnic tables. After 1986 the building was used strictly as a storage facility.


In 1993 we discovered the structure just before it was to be razed and began talking to the county about our use for the building. We're very happy with the results of those discussions.


In early fall of '93 we began a two year cleaning and refurbishing program in preparation for our layout construction. The facility provides barrier free access to the lower level and has adequate space for the construction of an operating layout, meeting space and space for our information library. The location of this facility provides easy access from surrounding communities as well as adequate off street parking for our members and the public during our events. We are accepting new members and can use any and all modeling talents. Even if your modeling has never gone beyond the armchair in your living room you are welcome. We provide instruction and have something even for the non-modeler to do.

Perhaps the most rewarding aspect of the Grand Rapids Model Railroad Historical Society is the camaraderie. (OK, so some of us just need to get out of the house!) but we have a good time and believe you will too! We are a melting pot of different ages (Mid 20s to... well beyond retirement!) and experience. We have amongst us a variety of work experiences including automotive, electrician, carpenter, painter, Realtor, consultant, engineer, designer, buyer, shipping, driver and other occupations. We invite anyone with an interest in model railroading or railroading on a big scale to join us. There's a great "one-scale" layout right behind our building with a nightly operating session. We have Regular, Family and Student memberships available with very affordable dues, and since we are a 501 (c3) organization, the dues are tax deductible. Members have access to our vast library of hundreds of model and prototype railroad magazines, books, and artifacts for study.


For more information, please contact us at:


You may also come see us on Tuesday nights from 7:00~9:30 pm at: Grand Rapids Model Railroad Historical Society Dwight Lydell Park  (in the rear of the park, by parking area)



627 Fulton Street East

Grand Rapids, MI 49503

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Stop by any Tuesday Evening (between 7:OO pm and 9:30 pm) and have a cold can of pop while you tour the layout. Any of our members will be happy to answer any questions you may have.

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