The Niles History
History Center includes the Fort St. Joseph Museum and the Chapin
Mansion. The museum is located in the former carriage
house of the beautiful Victorian period Chapin Mansion.
museum tells the story of Niles from its colonial start in 1691 to
the present. Featured exhibits portray the history of Fort
St. Joseph, built by the French in 1691, the story of the
Underground Railroad in southern Michigan, and the importance of
the railroad and classification yards in Niles' history.
Another unique and truly outstanding exhibit features the museum's
Lakota Indian collection including twelve pictographs
drawn by Chief Sitting Bull. Together the museum's exhibits
tell the story of Niles and the contributions its businesses and
citizens have made to the world.
Historic Chapin Mansion is a Victorian period structure that served
as the private home of Henry and Ruby Chapin. It was built in
1882 and contains several ornate stain glass windows,
beveled mirrors, impressive brass chandeliers, beautiful
hand-carved woodwork, a ballroom and nine fireplaces.
Chapin Mansion has entered a multi-year restoration phase, but even
now it's beauty leaves hundreds of tourists from around the world in
awe each summer. Knowledgeable docents will be available to discuss
the historical significance of this grand ole mansion.
Fort St. Joseph Museum Visiting Hours:
Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 10:00 am - 4:00 pm
Saturday from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm
Admission is FREE
Closed major holidays.
Historic Chapin Mansion
Wednesday - Saturday at 11:00 am and 1:00 pm.
Admission is $5 for 10 & Up
FREE tours the First Saturday of each month.
Closed major holidays.
The Niles History Center is located at 508 E. Main Street in Niles at the corner of
5th and Main Streets.
Groups are welcome but a two week notice is requested. For
more information call 269-683-4700 ext. 4010 or
send an email.
New for Kids at the Museum
The Fort St. Joseph Museum now has a themed
activity for children. The theme for these activities changes
bi-monthly. Your child will receive an activity booklet, a craft and
a special exhibit. Bring your children often to enjoy the new
and varied educational and fun experiences we have for them.
There is no cost for these activities and no reservation is needed.
Have You Visited the Museum Lately?
you haven't, I would encourage you to do so. Niles has a wonderful,
wide ranging history that we can all be proud of. What other town
can you think of that has a fort, the Underground Railroad,
pictographs by Chief Sitting Bull and a railroad classification yard
in its history? Not to mention Rudolph and a two-headed lamb. You'll
find these stories and lots more at the museum.
See You At the Museum!
For information contact
at the Fort St. Joseph Museum
508 E. Main Street
Niles, MI 49120
269-683-4700 ext. 4010