For generations the bar and neighborhood near the Mount Clemens depot at the corner of Cass & Grand Avenues offered hospitality to locals and travelers alike. The area holds a rich history of a thriving business district surrounding the railroad hub that once existed in by gone years.
Formally the Railroad Inn located at 307 and 309 Cass Avenue where the Sanborn fire maps show that before 1900 that there was a frame structure. But in 1903 there was a large brick building and in 1909 that a addition was added on served as a grocery. Edward LeFevre operated the grocerty and meat business at this location from about 1899 until his death in 1940. >> photo >> LeFevre's was a popular place to get groceries for the neighborhood and many wealthier customers had their groceries delivered to them. When LeFevre died there was no one in the family to take over for him and the store pass into history.
In 1941 John Poelstra, a bucher and his family purchased the business, but not the building, and operated it for the next roughly 20 years until the competion of the chain grocery stores came into vogue.
The 1960's saw a new owner in the form of The Order of the Moose, Lodge #127. They had a bar and social room on the 1st floor and used the upper rooms for meetings.
The moose took title of the property in 1975 and sold the property in 1981 to Jim and Betty Gullett of Jim's Catering. The Gullets leased the building to Augie Evengelista who moved the Railroad Inn from across the street at 304 to the brick building where rental space was cheaper than it had been in its previous location. It appears that the move was easy as that family and patrons helped in the move of the bar fixtures, equipment and supplies. There was no need for packing since they were just moving across the street.
Augie did good business there with workman coming in after work. There was a large colorful sign on the east side of the building that pictured a locomotive and advertised "Augie's Historic Railroad Inn". Over time the sign faded but was still visible and attactive. After 17 years the bar was sold in 1985 to Barbara Erb and Sarah Jackson, both had been former barmaids of the establishment for many years. Augie moved to Florida and is still remembered in Mount Clemens.
The bar business remained successful for many years. The Gulletts finally sold the property to Barb and Sarah and the business as well as the building were owned by them. After Barbara Erb's death in 2002 and the property laying vacant for a few years it was sold in 2006 to John Gusmano, a longtime restaurateur in Mount Clemens.
It was apparent when renevations began that The Engine House would continue to carry on its tradition of serving thirsty patrons where Cass Avenue crosses the railroad tracks for one hundred and thirty-five years.
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