August 1, 1931 was a landmark day in Birmingham’s history. On that day, hundreds of people celebrated the opening of the Birmingham Grand Trunk and Western Railroad Depot, a historical landmark in the city. The festivities included a band concert in the village, a Kiddie’s Parade with nearly 150 entries, a “Pageant of Progress” featuring 60 floats, an evening street carnival and a memorable speech by Michigan Governor, Wilber M. Brucker.
Often compared to being a scaled-down imitation of the Birmingham, England, train station, the building is old Tutor Revival style and, at the time of its opening, was considered “modern” in every aspect. The roof was made from Vermont Slate using a blended multi-color design. The structure’s herringbone pattern brick construction with half-timber in the gables became a recognizable trademark. This train depot was the third built to service the city of Birmingham and was a stop on the line between Detroit and Pontiac. Eventually maintenance costs and lack of use resulted in the closing of the railroad depot in 1978.
The building sat empty until 1984, when it was restored and converted into a signature restaurant by Norman and Bonnie LePage. It was named Norman’s Eton Street Station until 1997, when the LePage’s and their partners, Ray and Mary Nicholson, officially transformed it into Big Rock Chophouse. The restaurant has made its own history over the past decade. From the large boulder that signifies its name to the unmistakable Colorado-inspired interior to the signature American fare and attention-to-detail service, Big Rock Chophouse has firmly established itself as a premier dining destination in Metro Detroit.