The Civil War and its aftermath...

Michigan's Internet Railroad History Museum




  • Railroad event or related event in Michigan

  • Important non-railroad event in Michigan or outside.

  • Improvement in Technology         Mining.

  • Railroad built or extended

  • Railroad abandoned and/or removed

  • Economic panic or depression        Car ferries.


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1860-1889 Menu


  • STATISTICS:  Miles of railroads in operations in Michigan this year:  1,163.  Miles built this year 134.  [MRC/72]

  • January 1:  Detroit River car ferry service begins with "Great Western" at the time the largest iron or steel vessel on the Great Lakes.   [MDOT]

  • January:  The Jackson, Lansing & Saginaw complete their line from Lansing to Owosso.  [MCR-75]

  • January 14:  A new Brush Street Station is opened in downtown Detroit.  It is described by the Detroit Advertisor as a two-story structure with two large and convenient waiting rooms, one for the ladies and one for gentlemen, a conductors' room, a telegraph office each for the DM and MS&NI railroads, and the MS&NI's Superintendent's office.  It also held two baggage rooms and a refreshment room.  The 2nd floor offices were for D&M executives.  It closes 106 years later in 1973.  [MRC-8/1973]

  • May 3:  Kalamazoo and Schoolcraft Rail Road completes line from Kalamazoo to Schoolcraft.  The first train arrives in Kalamazoo on this line.  [MRRC/MT]

  • May 3:  The Kalamazoo & White Pigeon extends their line from Three Rivers to Kalamazoo.  [MCR-75]

  • September:  Paw Paw RR, Michigan's shortest (4 miles) common carrier railroad, began Paw Paw-Lawton service.  [MDOT/PMHS/MRRC]

  • October:  The Paw Paw Railroad opens from Lawton to Paw Paw.  Later becomes part of Chicago & West Michigan.  [MCR-75/R&LHS-Winter/2000]

  • November 1:  Bay City and East Saginaw Rail Road completes line from East Saginaw to Bay City (became controlled by the Flint & Pere Marquette one year later).  [MCR-75/MRRC/NK]

  • November 9:  The Paw Paw Railroad, with financial help from the MCRR, reaches from Paw Paw to Lawton.  [AAD]

  • November 26:  A refrigerator car is patented by Michigan Central's Master car builder, J.B. Sutherland, in Detroit. [MT]

  • December 1:  Bay City & East Saginaw RR began regularly-scheduled service between East Saginaw and Midland.  [MCR-75]

  • December 23:  Grand Rapids & Indiana opens line between Grand Rapids and Cedar Springs.  [MCR-75]

  • December:  The Jackson, Lansing & Saginaw complete their line from Owosso to Wenona (North Bay City).  It entered Bay City on a bridge over the Saginaw River.  [MCR-75][NK]


  • Flint & Pere Marquette builds line from East Saginaw to Midland.  [MRRC][PM45]

  • The Hecla & Torch Lake Railroad was chartered and built to connect the Calumet Mine and its stamp mill.  It was originally a 50" gauge railroad which was changed to 49" when the 1st locomotive "The Fluke" arrived at that gauge.  [MOD-6/1985]

  • Railcar manufacturer George Pullman invents sleeping car.  [DWS]

  • The National Grange of the Patrons of Husbandry was organized by Oliver H. Kelley.  Organized for educational issues, the Grange shofted its interest to economic and poltical issues, and railroad rates in particular.  [STOV]

  • The Flint & Pere Marquette Railroad opens a 16.7 mile stretch of track between Saginaw and Bay City.  It is operated by time table and train orders - no automatic block system - for it entire time of operation.  [PM45]

  • The Lake Shore builds a machine shop (600'x20'), a blacksmith shop (100'x72') at Elkhart.  Similar shops in Adrian and LaPorte are downgraded.  [LS]

  • Flint & Pere Marquette builds a moveable bridge over the Saginaw River at Saginaw.  [PM45]

  • SNAPSHOT:  The local newspaper reports that an ore train was observed traveling through Ishpeming pulling 59 ore cars carrying nine tons of ore in each car.  [EHMT]

  • The first transcontinental railroad is completed.  [SAM]

  • The first Pullman porter is hired.  More porters come from Georgia and the Carolinas than any other region.  [SAM]

  • The LS&MS completes a 52 foot long stone bridge, using two 26-foot spans, on the Old Road main line at Adrian.  [MCR/72]

  • The F&PM builds a bridge across the Saginaw River in Saginaw.  The entire bridge is 1,742 feet long including approaches.  From the south going north, the bridge had the following components:  South Approach (pile trestle, 399 feet), East Swing (Howe truss, 167 feet), Long Span (Howe truss, 189 feet), Across Bar (pile trestle, 113 feet), Short Span (Howe truss, 110 feet), West Swing (Howe Truss, 142 feet), and North Side Approach (pile trestle, 640 feet).  [MCR/72]