This area now known as Dryden was settled in 1834. By 1880 it was a hamlet of about 300 people. A marketing center surrounded by rich farm land, it turned to the railroad to increase its prosperity. Its citizens, spurred by the Local Ladies Library Association, contributed $11,000 to help defer construction costs in order to bring the railroad to Dryden. On October 3, 1883, the Pontiac, Oxford, and Port Austin Railroad passenger train rolled into town. Over 500 spectators, the Thornville cornet band and a cannon were on hand to salute the train.
This modest board-and-batten structure was erected in 1883 as a depot on the Pontiac, Oxford and Port Austin Railroad (known as the Pollyann and later named Pontiac Oxford and Northern). As with most small-town depots, it soon became the center of community activity. In 1884 it was the setting of a gala "leap year" party. Purchased by the Grand Trunk in 1909, the station continued to be used for passenger service in 1955 and as a freight agency until October 9, 1973. It was moved here in 1970 and opened as a museum in 1981.