Timeline - 1869

  • STATISTIC:  Miles of railroads in operations this year: 1,325. Miles built this year 126. [MRC/72]
  • March 1:  Kalamazoo, Allegan & Grand Rapids (LSMS) reaches Grand Rapids from Allegan.  [MCR-75/IT-12/79/AAD]

  • April 6:  Michigan Southern and Northern Indiana merges into the Lake Shore and Michigan Southern. [DWS]

  • Spring:  The Grand River Valley Railroad opens their line from Charlotte to Hastings. [MCR-75]

  • May 1:  The Grand Rapids & Indiana completes a line from Grand Rapids, north 20 miles which qualified them for a land grant. [AAD]

  • May 10:  Transcontinental railroad completed at Promintary Point, Utah. [DWS]

  • June 21: The Grand Rapids & Indiana open their main line from Cedar Springs to Morley. [MCR-75]

  • July: The Ionia Sentinal reports that the LI&P bridge across the Libhart Creek, east of Lyons is complete and is 450 feet long and 33 feet high. Friendbrook Creek is also spanned with a 150 foot long bridge, 28 feet high, and the pile bridge across the Looking Glass at Portland is finished and is 250 feet long. [I&L]

  • August 14: The Lake Shore & Michigan Southern acquires the Schoolcraft & Three Rivers and the Kalamazoo & Schoolcraft. It joins the companies and changes the name to the Kalamazoo & White Pigeon.   It also acquires the Kalamazoo, Allegan & Grand Rapids. Both the K&WP and KA&GR will remain extant companies until the formation of Conrail in 1976. [MT]

  • August:  The GR&I builds a depot at Howard City.  [I&L]

  • September 24:  Severe depression set off on Black Friday by gold manipulation by railroad financier Jay Gould.  This was the Panic of 1869. [DWS]

  • October 16:  The LI&P reaches Grand Ledge from Lansing. [I&P]

  • October 18th:  The first LI&P mixed passenger/freight train arrives at Portland.  The freight cars were filled with flour.  Portland is now the northern terminus of the road. 

  • October 23:  LI&P rails from Lansing reach Jennison's, which is 1 mile southeast of present day Eagle. [I&P]

  • November 18:  Ionia and Lansing Rail Road opens line from Lansing to Grand Ledge and Portland. [MRRC]  [MCR-75] dates the opening of this line between Lansing and Ionia as December, 1869.

  • Fall:  The LI&P constructs a depot, a 2-stall enginehouse and turntable on the west side of Grand River in Ionia. [I&P]

  • November 22:  The Ft. Wayne, Jackson and Saginaw open their line from Jackson to Reading. [MCR-75]

  • November:  First passenger train into Muskegon from Ferrysburg. [MDOT]

  • November:  Port Huron and Lake Michigan opens line from Port Huron to Emmet. [MRRC/MCR/75]

  • December 9:  Michigan Air Line opens line from Ridgeway to Romeo. [MCR-75/MRRC]

  • December:  Michigan Lake Shore Rail Road opens line from Muskegon to Ferrysburg (near Grand Haven). [MRRC]

  • December:  Peninsular Railroad opens line from Battle Creek to Lansing. [MRRC/AAD/MCR-75]

  • December:  The Lansing, Ionia and Pentwater purchases a building just north of the Detroit & Milwaukee Railroad depot in Ionia which they will refurbish. [I&L]

  • December:  A "drunken row" breaks out in a saloon in Portland, as drunk railroad construction hands fight over payment for their work.  The Village Marshall attempts to break up the fight, to no avail.  One man is cut and many more are injured.  The streets were littered the next day with drunk workers.  Village and railroad officials meet and set new hours for saloons. [I&L]


  • Silkman and Hart open private lumbering trramway, 5 miles from Torch Lake to Grand Traverse Bay (sec 24 T31N R9W). [MRRC]

  • Lake Shore & Michigan Southern opens line from Kalamazoo to Grand Rapids. [MRRC]

  • The rail line is completed between Jackson and Fort Wayne, Indiana in 1869-1870 and leased to the Lakeshore in 1882. [AAD]

  • A line is completed this year from New Buffalo to St. Joseph and leased to the Chicago & West Michigan in 1881.  [AAD]

  • George Westinghouse invents the air brake for railroad cars. [DWS]

  • Michigan Central builds depot in Quincy.  This depot is still standing as of 1974. [IT-12/1974]

  • Salem Township in northeast Washtenaw County refuses to deliver 2% local government bonds to the Howell & Lansing Railroad for construction of their road through the township.  The railroad went to court to get possession of the bonds and the Michigan Supreme Court, on a 3-1 vote, ruled that a township had no right to bond itself to aid a railroad, even though authorized by the legislature.  The H&L and other railroads were forced to discontinue this form of financing. [COHS-2/1998]

  • The Lake Shore & Michigan Southern consolidates individual rail companies between Buffalo, NY and Chicago, IL, including the "Old Road" in southern Michigan.  In the same year, Commodore Vanderbilt obtained controlling interest in the Lake Shore, adding it to his interests in New York. [LS]

  • NOTE:  Roads constructed by 1869:  Kalamazoo & White Pigeon Railroad (38 miles); Kalamazoo, Allegan & Grand Rapids Railroad (58 miles).

  • The Brooks Locomotive Works is founded. [SAM]

  • The Kalamazoo, Allegan & Grand Rapids Railroad (LS&MS) builds a bridge over the Grand River, three miles south of Grand Rapids.  The bridge, which is a total of 487 feet long has three spans, plus a draw.  The spans are 133, 87 and 86 feet, and the drawbridge is 181 feet. [MCR/72]

 

 Timeline 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