The Witch's Hat Depot Museum and Historic Village represents the joint efforts of the City of South Lyon, the South Lyon Area Historical Society, the South Lyon Historical Commission, local service clubs and a great number of volunteers. This community effort has resulted in a fine museum and charming, historic village that attracts many visitors, weddings and events.
The Museum is open Thursdays from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. and Sundays from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Special tours can be arranged by contacting the Historical Society at (248) 437-9929.
The Witch's Hat Depot
The Witch's Hat Depot functions as a museum and the gathering place for the South Lyon Historical Society. It's distinctive roof line gives the building it's name: The Witch's Hat. The building was moved from the original location on East Lake Street to McHattie Park in 1976 as a bicentennial project and it now serves as the focal point for the historic village.
The interior of the depot has been preserved to show what a turn-of-the-century train depot would look like. The Historical Society uses the Depot and the nearby Freight Building to store historic documents. The Depot is an excellent resource for railroad buffs or those who simply want to know more about the history of South Lyon.
This website gives a more comprehensive history of the building, including its role in the state railroad system and a photo of the depot under construction in 1909 as well as a photograph of the depot in the 1970s before it was moved to its current location in McHattie Park.
The caboose is fun for all, railroad buffs, children and the simply curious. It is a Chesapeake & Ohio caboose dating from 1926. The interior is furnished as much as it might have been when in daily use by the rail road workers. The caboose was moved to the museum site in 1982.
The freight house was built in 1984 to provide a much needed community meeting area as well as additional museum display areas. The basement is the museum's archive. The building design compliments the Depot. Funding for the freight house was provided by the City and the Historical Commission. In addition, all of the interior finish work was done by volunteers both amateurs and professional, making this truly a community building. It is an attractive, comfortable place to hold meetings and special events.
Washburn School District #5 in Green Oak Township, Livingston County, was built in 1907 to replace a log school building. It served the families in the area until 1953 when the district consolidated with South Lyon Schools. The building was donated to the City of South Lyon in 1984 by the Gordon Wood Family. In the interim, it was used as a church and for a short time as a home.
The City, in conjunction with the South Lyon Area Historical Society moved the schoolhouse to its present site in McHattie Park where is serves the community as part of the museum and the historic village. School children hold day-long classes in the building giving them a "one room school house" experience. The school is open for tours as part of the museum complex and is available for meetings and other community needs.
Little Village Chapel
The Little Village Chapel is the most recent addition the Historic Village. This 1930's era "kit building" was donated to the City by the congregation of the Immanuel Lutheran Church. The building was moved in 2001 from East Liberty Street to its current site.
The gazebo in the McHattie Park Historic Village was built in 1991 to compliment the circa 1900 village. It is used by the community for band concerts and other entertainment. It is a welcome shelter for these wanting some shade or just a comfortable place to sit while visiting the Historic Village. Recognized as a lovely setting, many wedding ceremonies have been held there. The gazebo provides a pleasant interlude on a summer afternoon.