When the Marquette, Houghton and Ontonagon Railroad arrived to Houghton around 1883 the line’s terminus was at the eastern outskirts of the city, several blocks distant from downtown. This small wood-framed structure sat along the line at the MH&O’s main rail yard at the base of the hill along College Avenue. When the Duluth South Shore and Atlantic Railroad bought up the MH&O the depot would become known as the DSS&A depot. For a time this was the city’s only rail depot, until the rail bridge was completed and the Mineral Range brought its line into the city. Unlike the horrible location the DSS&A endured to the east, the Mineral Range depot had prime location at the base of Huron Street right in the heart of downtown.
While location may have been prime, the new depot itself was something else to be desired. Really just an old converted warehouse the building did little to raise the Mineral Range’s image above its ore-carrying routes. With the arrival of the new Copper Range line and its grand depot at the end of the century, the Mineral Range found itself suddenly in competition for passengers. A new depot was in order, one that could put the Copper Range building to shame and make a strong statement about the Mineral Range (DSS&A by that time) and its services. Thus the new Mineral Range depot was born. A station that amazingly still stands today