Grand Rapids, Grand Haven, and Muskegon Railway (Images of Rail)
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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.
cancel trains than send them out into a storm. Unusually difficult winters also occurred in 1910 and 1913. Car No. 99 pulls a string of flat cars loaded with snow. Crews shoveled snow onto the cars to clear city streets. This photograph was taken at the turning wye at Seventh and Elliott Streets in Grand Haven. The wye and siding were built so maintenance equipment could be turned at the edge of town. Directly behind the flat cars is the Grand Haven Basket Company, which produced wooden packing
company failed to make payments on its bonds and was in default. The bondholders sued to foreclose, and the company had no choice but to enter receivership. The line continued to operate in receivership for two years, but it became obvious that without an increase in ridership, the company would not be able to survive. Service was discontinued on April 8, 1928, the equipment auctioned off, and the tracks taken up for scrap. The interurban era had reached its end. Fred M. Raymond, the US
until 1903. 20 Two The Beginning The promoters of the Grand Rapids, Grand Haven & Muskegon Railway were so anxious to begin building that they started grading in the fall of 1901 without even waiting for the Westinghouse, Church, Kerr & Company engineer who was to manage construction. When Frederick Walker, the chief construction engineer, did arrive, he found crews working in areas both south of Muskegon and east of Coopersville. He also learned that other pieces of land needed to connect
to a gravel pit the company had operated to furnish ballast for building the railroad. This waiting shelter stood at the corner of Leonard Road and Oakleigh Avenue. It was common for the interurban company or local residents to build similar shelters at main road crossings. The shelters gave the passengers a place to wait away from the elements. Windows in the sides let them watch for an approaching car. (Courtesy of the Grand Rapids Public Library.) 35 The first station west of Grand Rapids
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