Time Line - 1839

Last Year | Next Year

  • Panic of 1837 continues and Michigan is now deeply affected. [AAD]

  • January 3: The first mail contract west of the Allegheny Mountains involving a railroad was made with the Erie & Kalamazoo. [EMR4]

  • July 17: In a typical week, the Central line handles 500 passengers, 242,648 pounds of merchandise, a barrel of flour, 5,000 feet of timber, and 64,500 shingles from Detroit to Ypsilanti. On the trip back during the same week, the road handled 423 passengers, 19,838 pounds of merchandise, and 325 barrels of flour. [AAD]

  • August-September: Traffic on the Central is halted for two months near Dearborn, as the bridge over the Rouge River collapses. It is replaced. [AAD]

  • October 17: The Central line reaches Ann Arbor from Ypsilanti, and a 'grand celebration' was held by the residents there. [MCR-75/MDOT/AAD]

  • December: The Southern road reaches Adrian and a depot is built there. [AAD]

  • Detroit & Pontiac Railroad reaches Birmingham. [DWS]

  • The Southern line builds track from Monroe to Petersburg, 18 miles. [LS]  Note: [MCR-75] reports that the line was built but the first train was not run until November 23, 1840.

  • The first railroad was built in the Upper Peninsula, a 7/10th mile long line around the St. Mary's River rapids in Sault Ste. Marie. The line was built by the American Fur Company and went from their warehouse on Water Street (near what became the Bingham Avenue slip) west to the present Douglas Street where it curved over to Portage Avenue and extended to the head of the rapids. The Chippewa Portage Company operated the horse railroad until 1855 when the Soo canal Locks were completed making the railway obsolete. [MIRX8]

  • The U.S. Government issues a contract to the Erie & Kalamazoo to handle mail. [LS] 

Time line Key:

  • Railroad event in Michigan
  • Event relating to mining
  • Event related to car ferries
  • Event outside of Michigan
  • Improvement in Technology
  • Railroad built or extended
  • Railroad abandoned and/or removed
  • Economic panic or depression