Grand Rapids, Grand Haven, and Muskegon Railway (Images of Rail)

Grand Rapids, Grand Haven, and Muskegon Railway (Images of Rail)

Language: English

Pages: 128

ISBN: 146711359X

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


The Grand Rapids, Grand Haven & Muskegon (GRGH&M) Railway was part of a network of electric railroads that spread across southern Michigan in the early part of the 20th century. For nearly 30 years, the railway connected Grand Rapids with Muskegon and Grand Haven on the Lake Michigan shore. The fast and frequent service it offered transformed life in Coopersville, Nunica, Berlin (now Marne), Fruitport, and other smaller communities along the way. In addition, the railway and the boats of the Goodrich and Crosby steamship lines provided an overnight connection with Chicago and Milwaukee. Moving both people and freight, this interurban had an important impact on both local and regional economies. Images of Rail: The Grand Rapids, Grand Haven & Muskegon Railway traces the history of the electric interurban in West Michigan, telling the story of the growth, operation, and eventual demise of an important electric railway in the region.

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stream. 79 Here is another view of the same location, De Vries drain at Crockery Creek. During most of the year, the stream of water was small, but during the spring floods, the marsh behind the bridge was almost completely submerged by water flowing toward the Grand River. Floods in 1905 severely damaged the bridges of the Grand Trunk Railroad, but they left the interurban bridges intact. The steam shovel on rails, which originally was used to construct the trestle at Mona Lake, continued to

moved on. The automobile and the concrete highway had opened a new era of personal transportation that would transform both travel and the American landscape in the coming decades. And the interurban service that had seemed so convenient and efficient just yesterday had become a relic of the past. 115 These two photographs illustrate the problem faced by the GRGH&M in the 1920s. The picture above shows the area at the mouth of the Grand River channel as work to develop Grand Haven State Park

their ad hoc nature. Many motorists blamed trucks for causing damage to the concrete highways. 118 Interurban companies also began to face competition from bus lines. Although many bus operators were independent, organized bus lines began to appear. A forerunner of Greyhound began carrying passengers in west Michigan and eventually, directly to Chicago. The Lake Line responded with its own fleet of buses. During its last days of operation, the company used buses to cover the less crowded

end, the interurban agreed to own the bridge with the city providing an annual operating subsidy. 21 Construction of the Grand Rapids, Grand Haven & Muskegon Railway began in Coopersville, roughly the midpoint of the line, on October 20, 1901. In this photograph, a construction crew uses a horse-powered pile driver to set the pilings for the bridge across Deer Creek on the city’s east side. From Coopersville, crews worked both east and west, grading the right of way and laying track. In 1901,

location as the “Indian Village” because of a collection of cottages some thought were reminiscent of teepees. This photograph was taken from the boardwalk at the top of the dunes, and the interurban tracks are visible along the beach. In the background, a Grand Trunk railroad car ferry is approaching the pier and lighthouse at the mouth of the Grand River. During the summer, the GRGH&M ran a daily resorter’s special between Highland Park and Grand Rapids to ease the commute for businessmen

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