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Custer was originally established as a depot on the Pere Marquette Railroad, around 1874. Custer Railroad DepotThe photo to the right shows the depot just after it was built (around 1902). The note on the photo, likely by Harriet Reader, says: "Shipment of peaches." Up until the 1950s the Pere Marquette (later acquired by C&O), provided regular passenger and freight service up and down its line from Grand Rapids to Ludington.

A busy day in CusterBy the time Walter Reader bought the Roach hardware store in 1902, Custer was already a commercial center serving the farming community in central Mason County.
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