The Detroit and Milwaukee Railway brought Durand its first rail service in 1856. In 1877 the Chicago & North Eastern Railroad reached the town, and in 1885 the Toledo, Ann Arbor and North Michigan (later the Ann Arbor Railroad) added its tracks. The Grand Trunk Railway System and the Ann Arbor Railroad built this depot in 1903, at a cost of $60,000, to serve the thousands of passengers who came to this railroad center. In 1905 the depot was nearly destroyed by fire; however, within six months this near-replica had been completed. The last Grand Trunk Western Railroad passenger train stopped here in 1971. Passenger service resumed in 1974 with Amtrak. The City of Durand acquired the depot in 1979.
Designed by Detroit architects Spier & Rohns, the 239-foot-long Grand Trunk Western Union Depot originally featured a spacious waiting room, a popular dining room, a lunch counter, areas for baggage and express mail, and telegraph and railroad offices. It was built of Missouri granite brick and Bedford cut stone and originally roofed in slate. Later roofs were of red tile and, in more recent years, of asphalt. Once the largest station in outstate Michigan, the depot is also one of the largest in a small town anywhere in the United States. On March 27, 1960, Grand Trunk Western train No. 56
left the depot for Detroit. It was the last regularly scheduled passenger train in the United States to be pulled by a steam locomotive.