West Branch man donates handmade depot miniatures to museum
Fri, 06/11/2021 - 1:57pm caleb
Crawford County Historical Museum plans to open for the 2021 season on Thursday, July 1
Caleb Casey | Managing Editor
The Crawford County Historical Museum accepted a special donation – handcrafted miniature historic railroad depot facilities – on Friday, June 11, as the museum prepares to open in July.
Roland Bunting of West Branch built and donated the miniature depot buildings; they include facilities from Grayling and “other depots along the line” from Wolverine, Pinconning, Mullet Lake, West Branch, and Roscommon. The buildings contain many minute details, including individually placed shingles and stain glass windows.
The Grayling set of depot miniatures is not yet complete. Currently it includes the depot structure, the hotel building that used to be next to it, a water tank, a railroad bridge, a coal chute, and a coal ramp. Bunting is still working on the roundhouse that used to be located near the depot. He said he’s spent around 300 hours on the Grayling display so far.
Bunting said he’s been making models since he was 15. He has entered some of his work into contests.
Bunting said he started the project with the West Branch depot and expanded from there. Bunting first considered giving the buildings to each individual municipality, but he decided to donate the miniatures to the Crawford County Historical Museum to keep them all together.
“It made more sense to keep them here as a group. With this being a railroad museum, this was the appropriate place for it,” Bunting said.
Crawford County Historical Museum officials were excited to receive the one-of-a-kind donation.
“It’s so amazing. We are so blessed and so grateful,” said Gail Thomas, president of the Crawford County Historical Society. “I can’t imagine the hours this man has into it and that he chose us, to give it to us.”
“It’s just patience, that’s all it is,” Bunting said. “One piece at a time.”
“This is just too awesome,” Thomas said. “Just an amazing, amazing person.”
The Crawford County Historical Museum plans to open for the season on Thursday, July 1, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Museum officials are looking for volunteers – people to serve as greeters and people to maintain the building – to help with operation of the facility. If you would like to volunteer, call 989.745.3493.
Admission to the museum is free but donations are accepted.