Station: Adrian, MI

Adrian MI LSMS StationAdrian MI Wabash StationAdrian, in Lenawee County, was settled about 1825. It became a railroad center in 1836 when the Southern line of the State of Michigan arrives. Adrian became a village in 1836 and a city in 1853. [MPN]

Adrian was the ending terminus of the Erie & Kalamazoo Railway, the state's first railroad and perhaps the first railroad built west of the Alleghany mountains.

Adrian was home to three railroads:

  • Th Lake Shore & Michigan Southern (later New York Central, then Penn Central, Conrail and Adrian & Blissfield). Still in existance.
  • The Wabash Railroad (later Norfolk & Western and then Norfolk Southern). Still in existance.
  • The Detroit, Lima & Northern Railroad (later Detroit Toledo & Ironton). Abandoned.

All three railroads crossed somewhat near the the south side of the city to form a triangle. Interlocking towers were located at all of these crossings until the early 1930's. The city also had three passenger stations.

Photo Info/Credit: Top, the Lake Shore depot at Adrian. [Alan Loftis collection]. 2nd photo, the Wabash depot and freight house at Adrian, taken in 1983. [Charlie Whipp]

Time Line:

  • 1836 - The Erie and Kalamazoo Railroad begins horse drawn rail service from Toledo to Adrian. It is th first railroad in Michigan and the first to arrive in the Village of Adrian.
  • 1830's - The E&K establishes a bank in Adrian.
  • 1840 - The "Southern" railroad arrived in Adrian, owned by the State of Michigan. The first depot of built here.
  • 1843: The "Southern" railroad moves west from Adrian, arriving at Hudson.
  • 1846 - Private interests purchase the "Southern" line and form the Michigan Southern railroad.
  • 1840's - The Michigan Southern moves its headquarters to Adrian, the junction of the road with the E&K.
  • 1860's - John Campbell was Mayor of Adrian (1863-1864) as well as Superintendent of the Michigan Southern Railroad. According to Charles Lindquist, curator of the Lenawee County Historical Museum, Campbell was an extraordinary mayor and leader. Where most railroad superintendents would have their own car attached to a train when travelling, Campbell travelled with the crews and passengers, "personally observing every bit of track which the train was riding on". [DT-2/28/2003]
  • 1853 - Henry Angell sets up a foundry in Adrian to manufacture wheels for railroad cars. He later expands to build the entire car. Adrian becomes a major industrial center for railroads. [DT-2/28/2003]
  • 1870-80's - The railroad industry declines in Adrian resulting in the loss of about 1,000 jobs in this town of 8,000 people.
  • 1880 - Adrian businessmen step forward with $36,000 as a "bonus" to help with construction costs of the Wabash Railroad. Railroad tycoon Jay Gould comes to town to visit for a few hours.
  • 1884 - J. Wallace Page invents a loom for weaving "bounceback" fencing that did not require farmers to retighten the fence after a farm animal runs into it. The Page Woven Wire Fence Company was incorporated in 1889 and employed 600 men in Adrian.


  • Adrian Brick and Tile Machine Company (DT&I)
  • Adrian Buggy Company (Wabash) 1899
  • Adrian City Roller Mills (LSMS/DT&I - Flour)
  • Adrian Knitting Company (DT&I)
  • Adrian Manuacturing Co. (Furniture, latrr Clough & Warren Co. manufacturers of organs and pianos - (DT&I)
  • Adrian Steel Casting Co. (DT&I) Destroyed by fire before 1916
  • Adrian Water Works (DT&I) coal delivery 1908
  • Adrian Wire Fence Company (LSMS/DT&I)
  • A. E. Palmer & Son. (Wabash - manufacturers of rockers)
  • Bond Steel Fence Company (fence posts and fence - Wabash)
  • Church Manufacturing Co. (Wabash - Gas Engines)
  • Clark Basket Company (LSMS)
  • Cloug & Warren Co. Piano Manufacturers (D&LN)
  • Detroit Milling Co, (1908)
  • F. W. Prentice & Company- Screen doors and screens - (Wabash)
  • Gilliland Electric Company (Wabash)
  • Ideal Wire Fence Co. (DT&I) 1908
  • Kells Foundary and Machine Company (Wabash) 1908
  • Lake Shore & Michigan Southern Car Shops (LSMS)
  • Lamb Fence Co. (Wabash)
  • Lion Fence Co. (DT&I) 1908
  • M.H. Higbey Saw and Planning Mill (1893)
  • Michigan Wire Fence Co. (LSMS/DT&I)
  • Monarch Fence Company (LSMS) 1908
  • Page Woven Wire Fence Company (LSMS)
  • Page Gas (automobile) Engine Co. (Wabash) 1908
  • Palmer Furniture Manufcturing Co.(LSMS)
  • Peerless Wire Fence Company (LSMS)
  • Schwarze Electric Company (Wabash - electric horns and signal bells)
  • Van Camp Packing Company (LSMS - condensed milk)
  • Willbee Morse Concrete Company (LSMS)
  • Wing & Parson Manufacturing - toys - (Wabash) 1908


  • State Industrial Home for Girls Boiler House (1899) D&LN