Built in 1892, the Chicago and Northwestern Railroad Depot was designed in the Richardson Romanesque style. It was the hub of an elaborate railroad yard operation in the center of Ironwood. As the mines closed, so too did the fortunes of the railroads, with the last iron ore trains ending in 1967 and passenger trains ending their service at the Depot in 1970. Purchased by the City of Ironwood, the Depot was refurbished by a dedicated group of volunteers, and it is now home to the Ironwood Area Historical Society and the Ironwood Area Chamber of Commerce. The Depot features displays on early railroading, and a large exhibit illustrating the history and operation of the Ironwood iron mines. In 1986 the Depot was listed on the Natioinal Register of Historic Places. During the summer months, the Historical Society staffs the Depot daily, offering explanatory tours of the exhibits as well as local historical lore.
Located in the former women’s waiting room of the Depot is the counter and desk headquarters of the Ironwood Chamber of Commerce. Normally open from 7:00 am to 1:00 pm Monday through Friday (and sometimes Saturday during the summer season), the Chamber has area maps, business brochures, professional cards, and Western U.P./Lake Superior printed tour guides. With the starting “mile one” of the Michigan Iron Belle Trail just outside the Depot entrance on the original railroad right-of-way, the Depot has in many ways returned to one of its original functions: serving as a meeting and gathering space for travelers from all parts of the United States.