Grass Lake's first railroad depot opened in 1842 when the Michigan Central line reached Jackson. In 1887 this Richardsonian Romanesque station, designed by the Detroit firm Spier and Rohns, replaced the original depot. It housed rail operations for sixty~nine years. In 1911 seven of the twenty~one trains that passed through Grass Lake made daily scheduled stops. Eventually automobile transportation superseded rail travel. By 1953 only one train, which made irregular stops, served Grass Lake. In 1956 the Depot closed, remaining vacant until it housed the Grass Lake News from 1962 to 1976. A June 1980 fire reduced the depot to a stone shell. In 1988 the Whistlestop Park Association purchased the depot and restored it. In September 1992 the building and its grounds reopened.
The name of the association comes from the book "Whistle Stop" written in 1941 by Maritta Wolf, who grew up in Grass Lake. It became a best seller and later a movie 'Whistle Stop" starring George Raft and Ava Gardner.
The Depot was first reopened in 1991 and dedicated in 1992. For the dedication, an AMTRAK train was run from Ann Arbor to Grass Lake to make a special stop here - the first in 36 years. A guest on the train was Maritta Wolff, former Grass Lake resident and author of the novel 'Whistle Stop."