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After the depot in Carmel was closed in 1974, the building showed nearly a century of wear. Virginia creepers grew on the board and batten siding. The “Carmel” signs and benches had been removed, but the coal shed and outhouse were still out back. Not much was left inside the building other than the antiquated telegraph equipment.

Despite its dilapidated appearance, the depot was a relic of a bygone era worthy of preservation. The town reached an agreement with the railroad company to purchase the depot for one hundred dollars, provided it was moved thirty feet back from the tracks. In the summer of 1976, the city government partnered with the newly established Carmel Clay Historical Society to raise funds for the relocation and restoration of the depot. A non-profit called Save the Depot was created in the spring of 1977. That fall, the historical society held its first annual Christmas Bazaar to raise money for the Depot Restoration Fund. The bazaar featured seventy-five booths of handcrafted Christmas gifts and decorations and was held in the Lumberyard Mall. Land was purchased behind the depot two years later, and the building was moved onto its current site on September 17, 1980. After years of restoration, CCHS opened the depot in 1987 for the city’s Sesquicentennial Celebration, and it has served as a museum ever since.

For its safety during construction of the new Carmel Clay History Museum, the depot has been rolled to a temporary location several blocks away. Fall 2024, the depot will return to its original location to once again function as a train exhibit for visitors to enjoy.

The Carmel Clay History Museum is the future home of the Carmel Clay Historical Society. The 10,000-square-foot building will include space for galleries and exhibits, community meeting space, public restrooms, archives, a gift shop and a rooftop event area.

Please consider supporting the historic Depot and the Carmel Clay History Museum through a donation, membership, or as a volunteer!