The Ann Arbor Model Railroad Club
3487 Broad Street, Dexter, Michigan 48130
Phone: (734) 426-5100 Wednesday Evenings
Answering Machine/Fax: (734) 426-0829
Contact Us via Email
The Ann Arbor Model Railroad Club (AAMRC) is one of the oldest, continuing operating model railroad clubs in the United States. Beginning as a "round robin" social club in 1946, the charter members were soon fortunate enough to find a home for a club layout in the attic of the Mayflower Cafe in downtown Ann Arbor. A relatively new scale, HO, was the membership's choice for their new layout. After ten years, the cafe made plans for their attic that didn't include the club, so a location was needed. The members soon found another attic, in a general store, located in the Village of Dixboro, Michigan and moved there in 1957. HO-scale again was the membership's choice of scale and several members also built a small narrow gauge (HOn3) branch line that was very popular.
In January 1971 the owner of the general store died and his relatives had "other plans" for the building. Again the club was forced to find a new home. They were fortunate to find one in the basement of the First National Bank, back in downtown Ann Arbor. The space available was huge. There was room for a large HO/HOn3 layout; a lounge room; a work area; and a large room for an N-scale layout. The club was very happy with its new home, but the membership, (now 25 members) knew that sometime in the future they would probably be forced to move again.
In February of 1971, the club held it's first model railroad flea market and train show at the Weber's Inn Hotel in Ann Arbor, with the hope of making some extra money to help pay for its new layout. It was very successful and for the next ten years, the money that was left over from each show was put into a savings account. When the Penn Central railroad was liquidating many of its assets in the late 70's and early 80's, the depot in Dexter became available. The club's foresight and the establishment of the Huron Valley Railroad Historical Society (HVRRHS) made the purchase of the depot a done deal. The AAMRC finally had a permanent home.
Years of neglect had left the depot in very bad shape. Donations and volunteer help got the building into shape for occupancy and the club moved in and began another layout in 1981, just one year after purchasing it from the railroad. The current layout was started in 1999 and the main lines were running in less than a year. The 20'x45' layout is an HO-scale "imagineered" blend of fact and fiction, with Southeastern Michigan being the geographical location, and the Norfolk Southern mainline between Detroit and Chicago the basis for the track plan.