Logging abounds; rails reach Mackinac...

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


  • February 8:  Chicago & Grand Trunk Ry. completes line from Valparaiso, Indiana to Chicago, completing the Grand Trunk's connection between Port Huron and Chicago.   [MDOT/IT-10/1972]

  • February 12:  Lake Huron & Southwestern Railway is sold to the Tawas & Bay County Railroad.  [MRRC]

  • April 1:  Chicago & West Michigan opens line from White Cloud to Mud lake.  [MRRC]

  • July 1:  Grand Rapids & Indiana RR began summer-only "dummy trains" to resorts north of Petoskey.  [MDOT]

  • August:  Toledo, Ann Arbor and Grand Trunk Railway opens line from Ann Arbor to South Lyon.  [MRRC]

  • September 10:  Ontonagon & Brule River Railroad chartered to construct a rail line from Ontonagon southeast to the Wisconsin state line.   [MDOT]

  • September 13:  The Port Huron & Detroit completes its line from Croswell to Sand Beach (Harbor Beach).  [AB]

  • September 30:  Flint & Pere Marquette opens line from Clare to Harrison.  [MRRC]

  • October 1:  Detroit, Mackinac and Marquette opens line from Marquette to Onota.  [MRRC]

  • October:  Toledo, Ann Arbor & Grand Trunk Railway is completed between Toledo and Ann Arbor.  [MRRC]

  • December 31:  Michigan Railroad Mileage Totaled 3,823 miles.   [MDOT]

  • C&NW completes line from Quennesec to Iron Mountain.  [MSL]

  • The C&NW completes its line into Florence, WI from the east.  [ICHS]

  • The Detroit, Lansing & Northern Railroad builds a branch line from Edmore to Remus and later this year is extended to Big Rapids where a connection is made with the GR&I.  Later becomes part of the Pere Marquette.  [PM45][I&L]

  • The Saginaw Bay & Northwestern Railroad builts north from Mt. Forest to Bentley.  It comes under Michigan Central Railroad ownership in 1883.

  • Ephraim Shay of Cadillac developed the Shay gear-driven steam locomotive.  From 1800 to 1945, 2,770 Shays were built, chiefly for logging and mining railroads.  [MDOT]

  • Steam heat is introduced in passenger cars.  [STOV]

  • Mather introduces the first, humane stock car.  [SAM]

  • Lima Machine Works builds the first Shay Locomotive.  [SAM]

  • It was noted that during a large fire in Negaunee, the fire equipment from Ishpeming was quickly loaded on railroad cars and taken by a locomotive to the fire.  [EHMT]

  • Streetcar line is extended out East Jefferson to the city limits, at Grosse Pointe. [DWS]

  • New (current) depot built at Chelsea on the Michigan Central with unusual gabled roof.  It is used in 2001 as a community center and museum.  [MHM]

  • The Michigan Central builds a new stone depot at Lawton.  It continues to exist in 2001.  [MRP-I]

  • Nationally, there are 93,267 miles of railroad track, 3,938 miles in Michigan.  [STOV]

  • Michigan Central builds a depot in Niles and Augusta.  Still in existence as of 1974.  [IT-12/1974]

  • Grand Trunk builds new depot at Holly.  Continues to exist into 1974.  [IT-12/1974]

  • The most important industries in Detroit were iron and steel, tobacco products, foundries, machine shops, meat packing,flour milling, boots and shoes, and men's clothing.  [BOM]