Railroads reach their peak in Michigan...

Michigan's Internet Railroad History Museum


1910 - 1919


  • 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.


Info Sources

























  • March 8:  "Ann Arbor Car ferry No. 1" burns at Manitowoc, WI.   [MDOT]

  • April:  The Ann Arbor RR obtains operating control of the Manistique & Lake Superior RR.   [MDOT]

  • July:  A new Union Station in Gary, Indiana is opened by the Lake Shore and the Baltimore & Ohio.  [LS]

  • July:  Five hundred state troops are sent to Durand to assure order during a railroad strike.   [MDOT]

  • July 26:  The Detroit River Runnel Company completes and opens its tunnel between Detroit and Windsor.  The tunnel uses electric locomotives.   [MDOT]

  • August 1:  Chicago, Kalamazoo & Saginaw - CK&S - line from Kalamazoo to Pavilion was leased to the GTW.   [IT-12/79/AAD]

  • August 8:  Grand Trunk Western completes Kalamazoo Terminal line.  [IT-12/79]

  • August 25:  Teddy Roosevelt speaks to a crowd from the back of his private, open vestibule car at the Main Street crossing,  Elkhart, Indiana.  [LS]

  • August:  The Lake Shore opens a new station at LaPorte, Indiana to replace the station which had burned in 1907.  [LS]

  • September 9:  Car ferry "Pere Marquette No. 18" sank off Sheboygan, WI with loss of approximately 30 persons.   [MDOT]

  • September 26:  The Manistique & Lake Superior is called the "Haywire" by the Mining Journal, the first time that term is used in print.   [AATHA-Sp/1989]

  • October 10:  Detroit, Bay City & Western Railroad opens line from Bay City to Caro.  [MRRC]

  • October 13:  Telephones were put into service on the Western Division of the LS&MS (Elkhart west) for the purpose od train dispatching.  They replaced the telegraph, which had been used since the Civil War.  [LS]

  • October 15:  First passenger trains through the Detroit-Windsor tunnel.  Built by the Detroit River Tunnel Company, controlled by the Michigan Central.  [DWS/MRRC]

  • November 26:  Car ferry "Ann Arbor No. 5" launched, the first Great Lakes ferry with a seagate to keep out high waves.   [MDOT]

  • December 31:  Michigan Railroad Mileage Totaled 9,021 miles.  [MDOT]

  • The Manistee & Northeastern RR completed its line to Grayling from Kaleva, 79 miles.  [MDOT/AAD]

  • Kalamazoo Junction Station closed.   [IT-12/79]

  • Fire destroys the 2nd and 3rd story of the MCRR Ypsilanti Depot.  It is rebuilt as a one-story building with a tower. - [MRC-09/88]

  • The Detroit & Mackinac Ry. reports that the lumber market is poor and much lumber is piled along their road, awaiting better prices before shipping.  The report also notes that cement is bringing good prices and the active plants at Alpena and North Bay City are busy.  There is "every prospect" that the immense limestone deposits at Crawford's Quarry near Rogers City will be developed in the near future.  "They are stated to be the largest and purest in the world".  [DMAR-1910]

  • JD tower is built in LaPorte at the crossing of the Pere Marquette and Lake Shore & Michigan Southern.  The tower was built after the Lake Shore straightened out a curve in their main track.  The tower initials, "JD" were named after the tower's first trick operator J. C. Dawson.  [LS]

  • Grand Trunk builds new depot at Columbus.  Depot continues to exist as of 1974.  [IT-12/1974]

  • CK&S leases most of it's line south of Kalamazoo (from Pavilion to Pavilion Jct.) to the Grand Trunk Western.  [NYC-2/1989]

  • Outer belt line of railroads under construction in Detroit.  [DWS]

  • Harbor Springs Railway abandons 2' 6" line between Harbor Springs and Cross Village.  [MRRC]

  • Lewiston and Southeastern Railroad abandons 3' gauge line, 15 miles from Lewiston southeast in Oscoda County.  [MRRC]

  • Congress passes the Mann-Elkins Act of 1910 which further increased the power of the ICC.  It permitted the ICC to suspend new rates for as long as 10 months and placed the burden of proof of reasonableness of rates upon the railroad instead of the shipper.  [STOV]

  • The population of Houghton County reaches 90,000.  [MOD=6/1985]

  • Horses were used as late as 1910 by the Michigan Central Railroad on one of its logging branch lines in the northern lower peninsula (its Mackinac Division).  [MH-11/1993]

  • Dodge Main, a large automobile plant, is built in Hamtramck between 1910 and 1914.  It is torn down in 1980.   [BOM]

  • The Copper Range receives trackage rights on the Milwaukee Road between McKeever and Ontonagon and operates a daily passenger train between Calumet and Ontonagon.  They also obtain rights on the Milwaukee Road between McKeever and Channing. On this line, they operate through freight service to Channing and the Milwaukee Road operates a through electric-lighted passenger train between Chicago, Milwaukee and points in the Copper Country.   [CRH]

  • January 9:  A snow storm hits the Upper Peninsula, dropping more than nine feet of snow in the Steuben area, disrupting M&LS train operation.  [AATHA-W/1991]

  • June 23:  A fire at the White Company Lumber Yard in Boyne City MI spreads and eventually destroys nearly all the rolling stock of the Boyne City, Gaylord & Alpena Railroad.  [MT]

  • July 17:  The Munising Railway Co. and the Marquette and South Eastern Railway Company were consolidated to form the Munising, Marquette and South Eastern Railway.  [MRC-10/1987]

  • July 11:  A disastrous forest fire practically wipes out AuSable and Oscoda.  A railroad lineman reports the catatastrophy from a line pole 2 miles south of town, and the D&M sends relief supplies to the scene.  [HI/GW]

  • August 21:  The Detroit Terminal Railroad reaches 1/2 mile west of Grand River, from the east side of Detroit.  [EMR4]

  • October:  Steel car ferry and icebreaker, "Chief Wawatam," is placed in service at the Straits of Mackinac by the Mackinac Transportation Company.   It is used until 1989 when it is cut down to a barge.  [MDOT/AAD]

  • December 14:  Detroit & Mackinac Railway opens new depot in Alpena.  The D&M also notes that is has 13 passenger, 17 freight and three switching locomotives on the roster in 1911, as well as 46 passenger cars, 1,561 freight cars, 12 cabooses, 1 derrick and 1 snow plow.  [HI/DMAR-1910]

  • Ann Arbor Railroad began 13-year use of gasoline-powered, mechanical-drive McKeen railcars, the first self-propelled passenger cars in Michigan.   [MDOT]

  • Detroit & Mackinac builds a branch from Roger's City Jct. to Rogers City.   [NK]

  • The Copper Range builds a rail spur to the lake shore is completed for the Baltic Mining Company stamp mill. [CRH]

  • Pere Marquette RR sold to J. P. Morgan interests.   [PMHS]

  • Pere Marquette purchases a fourth steel care ferry ship.  [COHS-8/1997]

  • 20 new, larger stalls added to Pere Marquette roundhouse in Saginaw.  [PMHS]

  • The Michigan Central Railroad builds a new, 40-stall roundhouse on Elm Avenue (Jackson Jct.).  The facility is later torn down in 1984.  [JCP]

  • The Pere Marquette abandons its Quarry Spur from Brown City to Deanville (5 miles).  [AB]

  • D&M branch from Omer to AuGres, and Hillman Jct. to Hillman are in service.  Build dates are unknown.  [HI]

  • The E&LS adds two branch lines off the main line at Turner Jct. which go to two lumber camps.  [EDP-12/27/1950]

  • January 12:  Ann Arbor RR's 100-room resort hotel at Frankfort, the Hotel Frontenac, built in 1907, burns.   [MDOT]

  • January 26:  An agreement is reached between the Pere Marquette and the DT&I which allows the PM to install a second main track at the Carlton interlocking.  This necessitates the moving of the current station, which PM agrees to cover all costs.  [MASI]

  • November 23:  The Lake Shore puts into service the first single track automatic block signals on its line.  They were installed on the Old Road, between Elkhart and White Pigeon, Michigan.  the signals were three position, upper quadrant.  Three meeting points were arranged between the two towns Morehous and Bristol, Indiana, and at Vistula, Michigan.  Railroad men anticipated that this would greatly help the operation on that busy track.  [LS]

  • Railway activity at Durand peaked with as many as 42 passenger, 22 mail and 78 freight trains passing daily through the town.  [MDOT]

  • Michigan Central completes its 2.46 mile line from their Detroit, Delray & Dearborn line (in what is later known as Melvindale) to Junction Yard.  Later known as the Junction Yard branch.  [RA-1/17/1913]

  • Pere Marquette RR constructs Ludington roundhouse with 12 stalls and a 85' long turntable.   [PMHS][PM45]

  • Michigan Central Railroad adds yards at Windsor, Ontario, and at Grayling, Wenona (northwest of West Bay City) and River Rouge in Michigan.  [RA-1/17/1913]

  • Grand Trunk builds new depots at Waterford and Stockbridge.  Depots continue to exist as of 1974.  [IT-12/1974]

  • The LS&I completes work on a new, concrete ore dock reinforced with a self-supporting steel frame.  The dock was the second of its kind on the Great lakes, the first being built by the Great Northern Railway at Superior, Wisconsin.  The dock is 1,250 feet long, 60 feet wide.  It is 75 feet above the water, with 200 pockets, 12 foot centers, with two door openings of three feet eight inches each, or a total clear opening of seven feet four inches wide.  It has a capacity of 250 tons per pocket and a total storage capacity of 50,000 tones.  The approach to the dock is about 1 mile long on a 1 1/2% grade.  [MRC-10/1987/BOM]

  • March 4:  Toledo, Ann Arbor and Jackson Railroad opens electric line from Toledo to Petersburg.  [MRRC]

  • July 22:  Workers in the Copper districts of the Upper Peninsula initiate a strike that lasts until April 14, 1914.  An eight (8) hour workday is established.  [DWS/MOD-6/1985]

  • September 28:  The Detroit and Huron Railway completes their line from Cass City to Bad Axe.  [MRRC]

  • September 29:  Bay City Terminal Railway completes 1.25 mile line from Cincinnati, Saginaw & Mackinaw RR at Ionia and Chippewa Streets, Bay City, to east shore of Saginaw River at 7th Street)  (GTW).  [MRRC]

  • November:  The Copper Range builds an extension of their line south from Painesdale to the main line, just over three miles. This resulted in a new route for through traffic between Mill-Mine Jct. to a point known as Milepost 30. The main line now ran through South Range, Trimountain and Painesdale. (Previous to this, these three towns were on a branch line). [CRH]

  • December 16:  Michigan Central RR depot in Detroit is opened.  It is the tallest railroad terminal in the world at the time.   [MDOT]

  • Pere Marquette RR ends rail service between Holland and Ottawa Beach.   [PMHS]

  • Pere Marquette RR completes roundhouse and coal dock in Port Huron.  [PMHS]

  • Michigan Central's Kinnear track pans are moved from Kinnear (east of Dexter) to Four Mile Lake, near Chelsea.  [MHS]

  • J. P. Morgan dies.  [STOV]

  • The Grand Trunk  Western Port Gratiot "Block I" Car Shops, in Port Huron  are destroyed by fire in 1913.  [CB]
  • Michigan Central builds depots in Galien and Three Oaks.  Depots continue to exist as of 1974.  [IT-12/1974]

  • Grand Trunk builds new depots at Owendale, Washington and Bellevue.  Depots continue to exist as of 1974.  [IT-12/1974/MRP-I]

  • Pere Marquette builds new depot at Port Huron.  Depot continues to exist as of 1974.  [IT-12/1974]

  • A general railroad strike occurs during this year.  [COHS-8/1997]

  • Pere Marquette RR completes bascule bridge over Black River in Port Huron.  [PMHS]

  • A new  International Railroad Bridge is completed over the American locks at Sault Ste. Marie.  The bridge was built by the Straus Bascule Bridge Company of Chicago.  The bridge replaces the original bridge which was opened in 1887.  [BOM]

  • June 1:  Au Sable & Northwestern Railway is sold to the Detroit & Mackinac Railway.  [MRRC]  [GW] reports this date as of June 6.

  • July 8:  Detroit, Almont & Northern Railroad opens line to Almont Township. (Detroit United Railway).  [MRRC]

  • July 15:  The D&M is given permission to replace the full interlocking in Cheboygan with a swing gate, where their line crosses the MCRR McArthur Dock Spur.  The gate is to be set against traffic on the D&M.  [MSAI]

  • July 28:  World War I begins.  [DWS]

  • Michigan United Railway moves station operation to an existing building in Kalamazoo.   [IT-12/79]

  • Grand Trunk builds new depot at Capac.  Depot continues to exist as of 1974.  [IT-12/1974]

  • Pere Marquette builds a new coal dock at Ensel Yard, west of Lansing.  The dock has a 150 ton capacity.  [PM45]

  • Pere Marquette builds a new 2-chute, 100-ton capacity coaling station at Boardman Yard in Traverse City.  [PM45]

  • The Highland Park plant of the Ford Motor Company is completed this year.  [BOM]

  • Detroit Terminal Railroad (outer belt) is completed from East Jefferson to Michigan Central Railroad on the west side.  [DWS]

  • The Milwaukee Road opens an extension of its branch line from Crystals Falls to Iron River.  [MSL]

  • The Garden Bay Railroad, which began as a logging route in 1908, begins common carrier service over the 14 miles between arden Village and the Soo Line at Cooks, running two mixed trains daily.  [MSL]

  • The Detroit, Bay City & Western Railroad reaches Sandusky from Bay City, where it was started in 1910.  [Michigan RR History Conference, date unknown]

  • The Copper Range builds a siding into Dollar Bay to reach a sawmill and other industries there. [CRH]

  • First use of radio in railroad communications.  [STOV]

  • World War I continues.

  • January 1:  The Lake Shore & Michigan Southern and the Michigan Central are merged into the New York Central System.   [MDOT][MT]

  • May 15:  The Delray Connecting Railroad receives trackage rights on 10 miles of DT&I track, from Detroit to the Solvay quarry at Sibley.  [EMR4]

  • May 17:  Michigan Traction line completed from Kalamazoo to Grand Rapids.   [IC-12/79]

  • August 20:  An extension of the interurban line is opened from Almont to Imlay City, in Lapeer County.  [EMR4]

  • December 15:  Toledo-Detroit Railroad completes line from Toledo to Dundee (later DT&I).  [MRRC]

  • Pere Marquette abandons line from Stratford to Spencer, 15 miles.    [COHS-8/1997]

  • MCRR continues to maintain a greenhouse just west of the Ypsilanti depot to raise cut flowers that were used in the dining cards on the MCRR system and depots in Detroit.  The new Michigan Central depot had recently opened, and its dining rooms and restaurants were the height of elegance at the time.  [IT-12/1974]

  • The E&LS bulds a short branch line north off the main line at Hendricks.  [EDP-12/27/1950]

  • Grand Trunk builds new depots at Ovid and Owosso.  Depots continue to exist as of 1974.  [IT-12/1974]

  • The main line of the Michigan Central Railroad operated thirteen regular trains weekdays between Detroit and Chicago each way.  One additional train ran between Detroit and Kalamazoo, two others between Kalamazoo and Chicago, and two more between Detroit and Ypsilanti.  The fastest running time between Detroit and Chicago was 6 hours and 21 minutes.  [AAD]

  • The Copper Range builds new stations  at Painesdale and Hubbell. [CRH]

  • Four passenger trains ran north from Detroit to Bay City, with three continuing on to Gaylord.  Two trains ran all the way to Mackinaw City.  [AAD]

  • Soo Line removes its engine house at Ironwood.    [SOO-W/1996]

  • Twenty-five (25) trains per day served the town of Alma.  [AAD]

  • Henry Ford acquires a 2,000-acre site in Fordson (now Dearborn) for the Ford Motor Company Rouge complex.  It is conceived as a self-sufficient industrial city.  It had not only adqueate rail service, but the potential for a harbor as well.  [BOM]

  • World War I continues.

  • 1916 is a bad year for railroads, as many declare bankruptcy, including the Pere Marquette.  [COHS-2/1998]

  • January 2:  Interurban service between Battle Creek and Grand Rapids via Richland begins. [MT]

  • May 31:  The Michigan United Railways ends its lease of the Kalamazoo, Lake Shore & Chicago, ending hopes that the line between Kalamazoo and South Haven would become part of a state-wide interurban rail network.  [MT]

  • October 27:  Detroit, Bay City & Western Railroad opens line from Sandusky to Port Huron.  [MRRC]

  • Cleveland Cliffs Iron Co. builds 60 mile logging road in Alger Co. from Vail southeasterly to T44N R19W.  Abandoned in 1925.  [MRRC]

  • Nationally, there are 254,037 miles of railroad track, an all time high.  [STOV]

  • Copper production peaks at 270 million lbs., a record.  It is 13% of the nation's output.  [MOD-6/1985]

  • Beaubien Street interlocking tower is built in Detroit.  It protects a railroad grade crossing that was created around 1888.  The tower is closed on March 31, 1996.  [MRC-6/1996]

  • Congress passes the first federal highway program, which matched state money with federal dollards for new federal highways.  [STOV]

  • The carferry St. Ignace, built in 1888 burned.  It had operated between Mackinaw City and St. Ignace by the Mackinac Transportation Co.  [AATHA-SF/1999]

  • Hocking Valley Railroad, under C&O control, installs a new Industrial Brownhoist dumper.  Each dumper has three load tracks, a kickback, and two empty car tracks.  An 1,800 car storage yard is created.  HV also buys an interest in the Toledo Terminal to access the port.  [COHS-10/98]

  • Railroads carry 98% of intercity passenger business, and 77% of intercity freight traffic.  [STOV]

  • America has 15,000 miles of interurban railroads. Two thirds of this mileage is in Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Michigan Pennsylvania and New York.   [STOV]

  • Adamson act provides an eight-hour day for railroad operating personnel.  [STOV]

  • Grand Trunk builds new depot at Sheridan.  Depot continues to exist as of 1974.  [IT-12/1974]

  • World War I continues.

  • March 21:  President Wilson asks Congress to declare war on Germany.  [STOV]

  • Spring:  Soo Line completes a new 900', 150 pocket concrete and steel ore dock (No. 2) at Ashland.  The former timber dock was dismantled in 1919.  These docks were used to ship ore from Michigan's Gogebic Range.  [WC-Sp/1996]

  • April 9:  The New York Central (former LS&MS) moves its passenger train operation from the Brush Street Depot to the Michigan Central terminal.  NYC trains no longer operated on Dequindre Street as far as Lake Shore Junction, and they ceased to use the Gratiot and Woodward stations.  [MRC-6/1973]

  • June 15:  Garden Bay Railway discontinues operations.  [MRRC]

  • Summer:  Annpere interlocking tower, now 20 years old, is destroyed by fire.  It is rebuilt.  [MSAI]

  • September 24:  Detroit & Mackinac Ry. ceases operation on their Black Lake Branch.  [NK]

  • December 28:  The United States Railroad Administration (USRA) takes over operation of the nation's railroads as a wartime measure.   [MDOT]  [GW] notes that the Detroit & Mackinac Ry. was the smallest Class I railroad in the United States, and thus the smallest road operated by the USRA.


  • The Copper Range Railroad enters into an agreement with the Mohawk Mining Co. and the Wolverine Copper Mining Co. for the transportation of their rock, coal and supplies. The COPR improves the Mohawk, Wolverine and Keweenaw Central Railroad tracks for operation, including scale tracks at Mill-Mine Jct. The railroad purchases the Mohawk and Traverse Bay Railroad to carry copper rock from the Wolverine and Mohawk Mines to the stamp mills at Gay. [CRH]

  • C&O Walbridge Yard opens near Toledo.   [COHS 5/01]

  • The Keweenaw Central operates 37 miles north of Calumet. [AAD]

  • The first of over a hundred miles of railroad track are laid at the Ford Rouge Plant.  [EMR4]

  • Pere Marquette RR constructs new engine facilities in Flint.   [PMHS]

  • Pere Marquette Railroad constructs a new station at Fowlerville.  The station also had a distinctive platform canopy supported by single pillars.  [COHS/7-2002]

  • Pere Marquette builds a new coal dock at McGrew Yard in Flint.  It has a 150-ton capacity.  [PM45]

  • Between 1916 and 1918, two lift bridges are constructed on the Delray Connecting/DT&I track at Zug Island.  [EMR4]

  • The Copper Range Railroad acquires 12 miles of the Mohawk and Travers Bay Railroad to carry copper rock from the Wolverine and Mohawk Mines to the stamp mills at Gay.  [CRAR]

  • Railroad freight jams all eastern ports as a result of a back up in Atlantic shipping.  Freight cars are used for storage, causing a severe shortage throughout the country.  [STOV]

  • Building B completed at the Ford Rouge complex.  [DWS]

  • Highland Park and Royal Oak Railway begins service on Stephenson Highway.  [DWS]

  • Nearly 5,000,000 automobiles are registered in the nation.  [STOV]

  • The Lincoln Motor Car Company builds at plant on Warren Avenue, near Livernois.  [BOM]

  • World War I continues.

  • March 27:  Central Standard Time adopted in Michigan (see October).  [DWS]

  • March:  The Keweenaw Central Railroad between Manden and Calumet is abandoned.   [MDOT]

  • June 28:  The White Lumber Company's Mill burns down at Boyne City.  The White family owned the Boyne City, Gaylord & Alpena Railroad.  Mill offices and offices of the BCG&A were saved.  [OCA]

  • July 31:  The USRA takes over the Great Lakes carferry fleet.  [MT]

  • August 1:  Port Huron and Detroit completes line from Marysville to Marine City.  [MRRC]

  • August 15:  The Boyne City, Gaylord and Alpena RR completes its line into Alpena.   [MDOT/AAD]

  • October:  Eastern Standard Time adopted in Michigan.  [DWS]

  • November 11:  World War I ends.

  • Pere Marquette RR abandons line from Spencer to Kalkaska, 7 miles.  [PMHS/COHS-8/1997]

  • Lake Michigan & Superior RR ceases operation from Pike Lake south to a junction with the DSS&A.  [MSL]

  • Wisconsin & Michigan abandons its line from Peshtigo Harbor, WI to Bagley Jct., MI via Peshtigo, WI (near Menominee).  [MW]

  • W&M also abandons its line from Faithorn to Aragon Jct.  (Their line from Aragon Jct. to Iron Mountain continues to be operated by the Milwaukee Road.  [MW]

  • American Railway Express consolidates rail lines as a war time measure.  [DWS]

  • Wisconsin & Michigan Ry. receives trackage rights on the Milwaukee Road between Bagley Jct., MI and Marinette/Menominee.  The rights were given up in 1938.  [MW]

  • E&LS adds a branch line and spurs north off their main line at Mashek, to access hardwood forests.  [EDP-12/27/1950]

  • Grand Trunk Western opens new car shops at Port Huron.  They remain open until 2001.  [CB]

  • Fifty-seven (57) passenger trains arrived and departed daily from Kalamazoo's railroad stations.  [AAD]

  • Pere Marquette builds a six stall roundhouse at McGrew Yard in Flint.  [PM45]

  • The government finally adopts Standard Time, which had been adopted by the railroads in 1883.  [STOV]

  • Goverment begins air-mail service.  [STOV]

  • December 8:  All passenger train service in Michigan is temporarily halted due to the effects of a month-long national coal miner's strike.  250,000 Michigan workers are also laid off.  [MT]

    Late:  Huge fire at Wagon Works Junction, Toledo is one of Ohio's worst.   [IT-4/80]

  • Lincoln engine plant at Warren and Livernois now produces cars.  [DWS]

  • Pere Marquette installs new automatic block signals between Fowlerville and Grand Ledge (40 miles of single track,, 54 signals), Waverly and Grandville (19 miles of single track, 26 signals), and Grandville and Wyoming (3 miles of double track, 7 signals).  The signals are of the Union "S" and "T" variety and utliize polorized line overlap.  [RA/1-1920]

  • Pere Marquette builds a new 500 ton capacity coal dock at Wyoming Yard in Grand Rapids.  [PM45]

  • Fisher Body builds plant number 21.  This six story building is located on the south side of Piquette avenue between Hastings and Saint Antoine, near Milwaukee Jct..  [BOM]

  • The state department of labor says that 2,423 people are employed at the Detroit plants of the American Car & Foundry Company, a builder of railroad freight cars.  [HWC]

  • D&M closes line to Tawas Beach Park.  [HI]

  • Pere Marquette RR constructs new yard at New Buffalo.   [PMHS]

  • Pere Marquette RR constructs new yard and roundhouse facilities at Plymouth.  [PMHS]