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


  • January 20:  Bear lake and Eastern Rail Road opens 3' gauge line in Manistee County from Pierport via Bear Lake to Cleon Twp.  Abandoned in 1902.  [MRRC]

  • January:  The I&L replaces its bridge over the Grand River, two miles east of Ionia, with a new bridge made of sandstone piers and iron bridge work.  The new bridge lasts until 1913, when the iron was replaced with steel.  [I&L]

  • February 1:  Bay View Little Traverse and Mackinac Rail Road completes line from Bay View to Harbor Springs.  [MRRC]

  • February 21:  The PH&NW officially opens its line from Marlette to East Saginaw.  It has been completed on December 31, 1881.  [AB]

  • April 4:  Saginaw, Tuscola and Huron Railroad opens line from Saginaw to Sebewaing.  Converted to standard gauge in 1891 after control by Pere Marquette.  [MRRC]

  • June 1:  Chicago and West Michigan builds 1 mile line from Front St. to River Avenue, Grand Rapids.  [MRRC]

  • July 1:  Tawas & Bay County Railroad sold to Alger, Smith and Co..  Becomes the East Tawas and Bay County Railroad.  Line was extended from Prescott to the Michigan Central at Alger.  [HI]

  • July 3:  Grand Rapids & Indiana RR reaches Mackinaw City from Kegomic.   [MDOT/MRRC]

  • August 14:  Ontonagon and Brule River Railroad opens line from Ontonagon to 20 miles east.  [MRRC]

  • September:  Flint & Pere Marquette takes delivery of two boats, F&PM No. 2 and No. 3, which were wooden steamers used to transfer bulk-break freight across Lake Michigan.  These were not car-carrying ferries.  [COHS-8/1997]

  • October 2:  William Ashley sells his graded line from South Lyon to Pontiac.  It later becomes the GTW Jackson Branch.  [HB-Sum/1993]

  • October 3:  The Port Huron & Southwestern completes its line from Port Huron to Almont - the Almont branch.  It is consolidated into the Port Huron & Northwestern on December 9, 1882.  [AB]

  • October 9:  The Grand Trunk Detroit-Port Huron trains begin using the Brush Street Station.  Until this time, they terminated at the MC Third Street Station, or the Woodward Avenue Station.  The GT also closes it's ticket office, waiting room and baggage room located at 13 West Fort Street, opposite City Hall.  [MRC-6/1973]

  • November 13:  Cincinnati, Wabash and Michigan Railway completes line from Benton harbor to Goshen, IN.  [MRRC]

  • November:  The Chicago & West Michigan opens it's line from New Buffalo to LaPorte.  [LS]

  • December 11:  Port Huron and Northwestern Ry. completes line from Palms to Port Austin.  [AB/MRRC]

  • December 28:  Ithaca and Alma Railroad Company completes line from Alma to Ithaca.  [MRRC]

  • C&NW opens line from Iron Mountain to Iron River/Crystal Falls.  [MSL/MRRC/ICHS]

  • Port Huron & Northwestern Ry. extends narrow gauge line from Marlette to Saginaw.   [PMHS]

  • Port Huron & Northwestern Ry. completes narrow gauge branch line from Palms through bad Axe to Port Austin.   [PMHS]

  • Burt and Gamble Lumber Co. builds 3' gauge railroad, 7 miles long from Grand Marais southerly.  Abandoned about 1890.  [MRRC]

  • Butters and Peters Co. builds 3' private logging road, 4 miles in length near Tallman in Mason County.  [MRRC]

  • Chickering and Kysor open private logging road near Fife Lake in Grand Traverse County.  3 miles long; 3' gauge.  [MRRC]

  • The White River Railroad opens a line from White Cloud to Troy.  Later becomes a part of the Chicago & West Michigan (PM).  [PM45]

  • Port Huron & Northwestern Ry. incorporates, constructs and absorbs the narrow gauge Port Huron & South Western Ry., connecting Port Huron with Almont.   [PMHS]

  • Grand Trunk Western opens Port Gratiot "Block I" Car Shops, in Port Huron (destroyed by fire in 1913) [CB]
  • Sebewaing depot is built in the early 1880's - [MRC/0689]

  • Pere Marquette builds depot in Saginaw.    [IT-12/1974]

  • The first passenger station is built in Hastings on the MCRR Jackson-Grand Rapids line.  It was replaced in 1922.  [MHM]

  • 511 people are injured or killed in railroad accidents, including 12 passengers, 61 employees and 67 others killed.  428 of these deaths and injuries were caused by "carelessness", as ruled by the Michigan Railroad Commission.  [AAD]

  • The Grand Rapids & Indiana Railroad publishes a guide which highlights hotels and resorts along its line, including Omena, Northport, Old Mission, Elk Rapids, Charlevoix, Bay View and Harbor Springs.  The GR&I markets itself as "The Fishing Line".  [BOM]

  • Vast salt and bromine deposits are discovered in Manistee.  They replace lumbering as the foundation of that city's success.  [PM45]

  • Michigan Central opens new depot in Grayling, Topinabee and Mackinaw City.  All continue to exist as of 2001.  Depot in Mackinaw City is now a restaurant in a boutique mall.   [IT-12/1974]

  • Saginaw, Tuscola & Huron RR was built in 1881 and reached Sebewaing by 1882.   [PMHS]

  • Detroit Union Railroad Depot & Station Company completes line from Delray to 18th Street, Detroit.  [MRRC]

  • Escanaba and Lake Superior Railway Co. (not E&LS) opens line from Narenta to Metropolitan.  Later sold to C&NW.  [MRRC]

  • The DL&N builds a new depot at Greenville.  The old, original depot is moved north and west to a new location to be used as a freight house.  The depot was added on to in January, 1902 so that passengers and freight were handled under one roof.  [I&L]

  • The Michigan Central builds a new wooden depot in Grayling.  The upper level of the depot contained two kitchens and boarding for trainmen and engine crews.  The depot still stands today, and is home to the Crawford County Historical Society.  [PG]