Name index
Grand Rapids to Kalamazoo Interurban
Grand Rapids, Holland, and Chicago Interurban
Grand Rapids, Grand Haven, and Muskegon Interurban
Interurban overview.

Name index

An index of the names and graduation years of Godwin alumni from 1927 to 1971 has been completed. Left clicking on a name will take you to the annual page for that person. In those years where no annuals presently exist - 1932 to 1936, and 1943, you will be taken to the class photograph, and if that doesn't exist, the graduation name list. In a few cases even these don't exist. There is still some confusion with class year 1931.

For now I am primarily interested in errors. In almost all cases the names were taken literally from the annual pages, and if those were not available, from the class lists in the graduation announcements. Yet even there, differences in spelling for same names occur. e.g., one sees "Vandenbrink" and "Vanden Brink" even amongst members of the same family. In other cases there are typos in the lists or annual entries. In a few cases these were corrected.

Please contact me if you see any problems with the list.

Left click below for the index.

Name index

Interurban overview

Interubans were mostly, but not exclusively, Midwest phenomena, existing between about 1900 and 1930. By 1930 the Great Depression, cheaper cars, and more and better roads, put most interurban systems out of business, and those same forces were beginning to affect railroad passenger service. Only WWII kept railroad passenger service viable for another decade or so. In their heyday, one could ride interubans great distances, as shown in a map of the southern Michigan interurban system below.

Left click on the image below for a larger version.

A famous publicity photo - if only in interurban circles - shows an interurban car outpacing a biplane, doing something like 97 miles per hour in the process. Although not always geared in that way, interurban cars could indeed go very fast in open, flat areas.

The extent of the interurban system in lower Michigan in and around the mid 1920s can be seen in the image below.

Left click on the image below for a larger version.

Three interurban systems started - or, depending on your point of view, ended - in Grand Rapids. The map below shows the three systems, the Grand Rapids to Kalamazoo, the Grand Rapids to Holland and Chicago, and the Grand Rapids, Grand Haven, and Muskegon.

Left click on the image below for a larger version.

The inland route indicated, meaning no Grand River crossings for the two southern routes, did not happen for some reason. Perhaps because it would have required a number of crossings over the Grand Rapids and Indiana and the New York Central tracks, which would have required expensive trestles. Or perhaps it was because a bridge across the rive was required in any case for the Grand Rapids, Grand Haven, and Muskegon line.

At its peak one could get to most of the major cities in lower Michigan by interurban. By the late 1920s automobiles were beginning to have a dramatic affect on interurban and passenger train ridership, and many interurbans failed. The Division Avenue Bus Line began in the 1920's, provided the transportation between about 68th Street and Grand Rapids left vacant when the interurban went bankrupt in 1928.

In many states the interurban right of ways were shared with power company transmission facilities. It is no coincidence that the Grand Rapids to Kalamazoo track is now occupied by high voltage towers. The tracks themselves were torn out and sold, with the exception of a few streets, where they were simply paved over. Hills existed on 34th and maybe 35th streets up through at least the 1950's. When the roads were leveled later on the rails and track ties were still there.

During their period of operation, interurbans were not allowed to cross standard railroad tracks at grade level. So elaborate tresses had to be built to get the interurban cars up and over any railroad tracks, and provide enough clearance for the trains to go under them. The trestles were large, probably expensive, and typically made of wood, as the ca. 1910 photograph of an interurban climbing a trestle near Galesburg, MI, shows. Interurban motors were quite powerful, and unlike standards railroad trains, interurban cars could negotiate substantial inclines.

Left click on the image below for a larger version.

The Grand Rapids to Kalamazoo line used a steel section of bridge to cross 28th street and the Grand Rapids and Indiana Railroad track.


Like railroads, the quality of the depots on interurban lines varied widely.

Left click on the images below for larger versions.

1905 - unknown location.

On the left, above, is the Oakleigh Street, Grand Rapids, MI, interurban depot. What was inside is unclear. There's no obvious chimney, so maybe it wasn't even heated. Just enough to get passengers out of the weather, if not warm? It's doubtful there would have been a station agent. Depots like this were also at Cutlerville. When the interurban systems failed, it's likely that depots like this one disappeared quickly, without a trace, since they didn't even have foundations.

On the right, above, is the second station at Berlin, MI - the first burned in 1913. A brick structure, with both passenger and freight section, and clearly manned by station agent. The station was clearly of the same quality as smaller stations on most standard railroads. The building still exists in year 2012 as a restaurant.

Left click on the images below for larger versions.

Waiting room - Indianapolis - 1905.

Coaches and Equipment.

In addition to standard passenger coaches, there was a variety of rolling stock used for things like construction, repair, snow plowing, and special kinds of delivery. A few examples are shown below.

Left click on the images below for larger versions.

Above, an interurban coach - built 1914 for Michigan United Traction Company. The image above, right, shows the interior. At the right, in front, is a sign saying "St. Louis Car Co." Lower down, one could buy the Grand Rapids Herald for 3-cents. The seats were covered in leather, and appear to be quite comfortable. On the larger cars, a smoking section was located at one end of the car.

Left click on the image below for a larger version.

As is always the case, the rich and wonderful, and-or the bigwigs at a company, could travel in a style unavilable to those of lesser means. The custom coach shown above is a private car named Josephine. It was built in 1903, and allowed the important person a wonderful view out a large window. Looking at the chair, it's not clear whether slaves fed the important person grapes or wine.

The interurban track that ran south, west of the old Rackett swimming pool (apparently filled in as of year 2000), started operation in 1916, and ceased operation in 1928.

In route, the interurbans on this line sometimes reached speeds of over 80 miles per hour. The tracks were built to heavy rail standards - 80 pound rails - and the route between Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo was straight much of the time. The coaches were up to 70 feet long, weighed as much as 67 tons, and were among the largest used on any of the numerous interurbans of the time. Below is an article from the May 16, 1914, issue of "Electric Railway Journal" describing the coaches on the Grand Rapids - Kalamazoo line.

Left click on the images below for larger versions.

The line never could be made to work at 2,400 volts, for practical reasons, and the voltage was dropped back to 1,200. Low voltage D/C has a short range - Edison started building a D/C system in NYC, but it required a power plant every few blocks. Using single phase A/C, which would have eliminated the need for costly substations for converting A/C to D/C, did not occur with any real success. By the time the technology was adapted for used on interurban cars,the systems mostly had D/C in place, and for compatibility reasons, that meant that new lines would also have to use D/C, or complicated and expensive schemes for using for A/C and D/C. With higher voltages, lower line losses, longer range, and the relative ease of going from high voltages to lower ones, a lot of interurban system overhead would have been eliminated, and the coaches could have been run for very little. Alas, the timing was such that this never happened. The technology of year 2013 would make this a solved problem, but the interurban systems are probably gone forever now, except for a few light rail systems here and there that one could either call trolley or interurban systems. The definition is blurred in year 2013 because of the enormous urban sprawl around the US, which often means that one city or town never really ends before the next one begins.

With maybe two stops, the coaches could average 55 miles per hour between GR and Kalamazoo, which rivals the downtown to downtown time that can be achieved in year 2012.

Left click on the image below for a larger version.

The image above is a builder's photo of Michigan Electric's 802, one of the coaches that plied the run between Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo between 1915 and 1928. It's likely the view at the left is of the back of the coach, since neither the headlight nor the "cow catcher" is seen Like steam engine companies, the St. Louis coach company took one or more photographs of each completed coach. Where these photos have survived, they have a lot of historical value, because they show the coach when new, and not the battered wrecks they often were just before being scarped.

Left click on the images below for larger versions.

By Pantlind Hotel.

By Pantlind Hotel.

Pantlind Hotel - 2012.

Car 810, above, was one of seven especially large coaches, and had a smoking parlor in the back. These coaches were as heavy as passenger cars used on standard gauge railroads, and are probably the biggest ever built for interurban use. The photos in the top row, middle and left, dated 1922, are the same, but cropped differently somewhere. The one on the left shows just enough more of the building behind it to identify it as the Pantlind Hotel. The image at the right is the Pantlind Hotel in year 2012, and one can see the ornamental work along the roof line matches that of the photos at the left and middle, top row. It's not clear whether the car is sitting on Pearl or Monroe. Monroe is more likely, given the long roof line of brown brick. Some kind of convention was in progress at the time. The image at the left, bottom row, shows the old Pantlind Hotel, and streetcars or interurbans on two sides, suggesting it was long a stop for public transportation, no doubt dropping off passengers from Union train depot. The image at the right, bottom row, shows car 810 entering Grand Rapids.

On the right, bottom row, above, car 810 is arriving in Grand Rapids in November, 1915. It is going from left to right, based on the electric pole.

The image above shows a car on a Jackson/Battle Creek line, but it's likely that the Grand Rapids/Kalamazoo line was very similar in appearance. One can see the third rail on the bottom far right of the photograph. In the more practical, less densely populated world of the 1915 to 1930 time period, a rail with 1,200 volts of D.C. was tolerated. Lethal, fences apparently did exist in many places in an attempt to keep people off the right of way. Built in 2004, if the land could be found, an OSHA approved electric interurban would be hopelessly expensive.

Left click on the image below for a larger version.

The photograph above shows the shoe arrangement for the third rail. They were designed in such a way as to strip ice from the rail in the winter, and only one had to make contact with the rail in order for the car to move forward. This helped the car to get across breaks in the third rail - at depots for example.

It's possible that the interurban had an effect on the development of the area along Division Avenue, between about 28th and 44th Streets. Starter buildings, located near 32nd Street just south of the old Burger King, and near about 42nd Street, sitting by themselves, and intended to be the nucleus of rows of stores, like the old Burton Heights, Many of the streets in this same area were begun in the 1910 to 1920 time frame. It's likely that the intent was to use the interurban to get people to and from work in Grand Rapids. The stretch between 28th and about 44th streets was in reality a large real estate development effort, but until 1936 there was not a great deal of industry in the area.

For a capsule summary of the Michigan Electric Railway company, a view of what the Grand Rapids to Kalamazoo interurbans looked like, and a fascinating description of what happened to many of them, see Michigan Electric Railway #28. The story is similar in other states, and a number coaches have been spared total oblivion by spending years as cottages, restaurants, chicken coops, and storage sheds. Car 28 was used as a cottage. That, and the ingenuity, imagination, and skill of those railroad museum workers who have restored and rebuilt what is left of many.

The photographs below show a few more views of Michigan Electric 28 during the process of restoration.

Left click on the images below for larger versions.

Orange paint is being applied in the left hand photograph. It was decided at some point in time that orange was the easiest color to see, and it became the standard color for interurban coaches, in part or in full.

Left click on the images below for larger versions.

A mail car used on the Cleveland Electric Railway, in an April 11, 1908, photograph. The inside was set up like a standard railroad mail car. A mail contract would have provided good income for the line, and in later years even kept some railroad passenger trains running.

Construction equipment included special purpose cars, as show below. By 1908 most kinds of construction equipment was available in a portable - meaning movable - form. When a totally new track was laid, steam shovels could help with the cuts and fills, cement mixers with the construction of bridge abutments, culverts, and cattle crossings, and pile drivers for areas of loose soil, where secure supports were needed. All of these things were standard equipment by the end of the interurban building era.

Left click on the images below for larger versions.

Stone crusher - 1908.

Track laying - 1908.

Standard work car - 1908.

Concrete mixer - 1908.

Large snow plow - 1904.

Large snow plows - 1904.

Snow cleared - 1905.

Platform locomotive car - 1904.

Special work car - 1908.

A unit like the special work car above would be used for anything from laying track and bridge pieces to creating cuts and fills along new track construction. It could reach just far enough beyond the end of the car that when place at the end of the track, all the functions necessary to put new track in place could be performed.


Interurban lines had to spend a great deal of money for power, which was really only coming into its own in 1900, when some of the earliest systems were being built.. None were able to run from A/C, perhaps largely because of compatibility problems with the vast amount of D/C that was already in place, which would have meant that in some cases high voltage A/C from a power company could have been stepped down for use on a line. In some cases the A/C power was not available anyway.

As a result, many of the interurban lines had to build power stations of various kinds to provide the D/C power used - 600 to 1200 volts. Some of the building were prototypical, in that, as shown below, they had a tower where the lines from a power company would be attached, and would run down to a genset - an A/C moter driving a D/C generator, which produced power for the line.

Left click on the image below for a larger version.

In other cases, a complete coal fired power plant was used. A generating station in Fruitport, MI, is shown below.

Left click on the images below for larger versions.

Water tower.

The photograph on the left, first row, is a historic view of the Fruitport generating station. In part, the tracks shown lead to a car barn right next door, as shown in the middle photo, bottom row. "Development" has compeletely overtaken them today, and even by satellite one cannot discern that they ever existed.

In year 2012 the buildings above houses a company named Modular Systems. Looking at the photograph in the first row, above, at the right, the main tracks were located to the left, about one quarter mile. The main track bed can still be seen in aerial photos.

The photograph above labeled "water tower" contains a view of the track and a railroad car that brought coal and other supplies to the generating station. In most cases, power from a local power company was used instead to run a motor-generator pair to create the D/C needed for the lines. In this case a regular railroad line brought coal to the facility, and it was otherwise run like a small power plant. Being small, the cost of the power must have been very high indeed. The inside of one plant on the GR-GH-M line is shown below.

Left click on the image below for a larger version.

Whether this 1902 photograph is the inside of the Fruitport plant is not known here. These plants had to run, or at least be on standby, 24 hours a day, even when there was not much revenue being generated by the line. Being relatively low voltage D/C, the power did not travel far, and these "sub stations" had to be located at many places along a line.

Left click on the image below for a larger version.

January 25, 1908

Left click on the image below for a larger version.

One can sense the huge size of the power plant in the photograph above of the Farmington, MI, plant. The role of central power plants was still evolving. It was probably not realized how expensive it would be, on a cost per kilowatt basis, to run a plant like this. Sadly, the means were not available in the early days of the interurban to use A/C power, and home power was only becoming common. When the means to run interurbans directly on A/C became available, it was both too late because of a changing world, and and too expensive to do a retrofit.

When power became available from the Croton and Rogers dams, and later, Hardy Dam, it was used to power the GR_M_H line. The stand alone power stations were then used as standbys, no doubt at huge cost. Sadly, the line would have been profitable with as few as 5 passengers or so per run but for the huge overhead costs, including power and interest on construction costs. The line's power plants were too small to be of interest to a power company, yet required 24/7 operation even to serve as backup power. Sadly, central power companies were just coming into their own at this time, and even residental power was new and novel

Power for the Grand Rapids - Kalamazoo line apparently used a set of what were for the time quite high volage lines - 72,000 to 110,000 vots. There was an interplay between the power companies of the day and the interurban lines. In 1915 or so, when the line was being built, houses, towns, factories, etc., were only beginning to be wired. Power companies built dams, and then had to figure out what to do with the power. For now, it appears that Consumer's Power built a transmission line between Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo with the express intent of suppying power to the interurban line. The piece on the left, below, explains some of this:

Left click on the images below for larger versions.

June 1, 1915.

Three phase towers - 1908

The piece states the line could use power supplied by way of Lansing and Battle Creek, which was apparently also generated by dams. In the event the dams could not supply the power, say in the late summer months, steam power plants at the Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo ends of the line could provide backup power. At points along the line substations would convert the A/C to D/C, albeit at a large cost, but A/C interurban systems simply weren't available at the time. Even the Boston MTA used D/C well into the 1960s, and might well yet - 660 volts, which is surpisingly close to the voltage used by the interurban systems some 40 to 60 years earlier.

This all makes sense, whether it is exactly right. It is unlikely the power company lines would follow just the route they do but for the needs of the interurban cars. Whether the transmission towers one sees today are the original ones is not completely clear, but photographs of the interurban depots suggests they are. And once the interurban failed, the power company simply kept the right of way and the lines, which are valuable in their own right in a day when it is almost impossible to site either a railroad track or a transmission line because of all of the legal hoops.

The situation seems to be that there was complicated interplay between the interurban systems and the power companies - it's even possible that in some cases the interurban lines provided a rallying point for evolving power companies, since the interban lines were the only thing for a while that used any appreciable amount of electricity. In true chicken and egg fashion, once the power was available, other uses were quickly found, and the same lines that provided power for the interurban lines could supply other uses. In time, higher capacity generating facilities and higher capacity power lines were needed, leading to the systems we have today.

The piece on the right, above, shows steel towers, called poles in their day, being preassembled before shipment. Two sets of three-phase power were accommodated, witht the "guard wire," or ground, along the top of the towers. Towers like these were used along the GR - Kalamazoo line, and carried 72,000 to 100,000 volts, quite advanced for 1915. In the early 1950s the towers carried lines with 150,000 volts. One could hear the corona buzz. Galvanized, the towers appear to be in excellent condition on that line, now after almost 100 years.


Maintenance of the interurban systems was likely little different than that of any other rail system, and included repair of coaches because of collisions. One item needing routine repair was the motors. The source above states that the motors and control battery weighed about 16 tons in the large coaches used on the GR <--> Kalamazoo line, or about 4 tons per motor. In the photo below one sees some kind of work being done on a couple of rotors.

Left click on the images below for larger versions.

Fruitport, MI.

Fruitport, MI.

Wheaton, IL - yards and shop, 1905.

Wheaton, IL - shop interior, 1905.

In the photo at the left one can see a coach behind the right hand door. In the photo at the right one can see the activities in that part of the maintanence area. Like the railroads, lathes of many sizes were needed for everything from turning wheels to fixing parts on things like the air break system. The work was actually quite skilled, and the workers had to keep tolerances within a few mils.

Alas, the rotor work would not have to have been done with near the frequency it was, because the motors were D/C, if someone had figured out how to run the lines using A/C. Someone like Nikola Tesla would likely have been able to solve the problem, but at in this time frame he was no longer involved in such practical problems. Had the problem been solved, interurban power houses with motor-generator sets would not have been necessary, and this too would have saved the lines a great deal of money. With routes in place, and lower maintenance and power cost all around, the systems would have been very cheap to run. Sadly, one will never know now. It's impossible to believe that interurban systems like these will ever be built again in the US.

Left click on the image below for a larger version.

The photograph above shows an inspection house in Muskegon. Seeing the many brooms, the coaches were probably cleaned out as well as generally inspected for road worthiness.

Decline and abandonment.

The decline of the interurbans came suddenly, victims of both the Great Depression and the rise of the automobile. Partly the product of the kind of investment fad that was so common during the construction era of the railroads, when enthusiasm often got ahead of good business sense. So the interurbans had little financial cushion when competition from the automobile and a failing national economy started to put pressure on ridership.

Many lines went bankrupt, and were sold for scrap. The coaches were often sold for a dollar, sans motors and trucks. Still others were burned, to get access to any metals of value, a fate suffered by many trolleys too. Below are examples of what happened to some of them.

Left click on the images below for larger versions.

In the bottom row, above, are two cars, 806 and 808, converted by Consumer's Power to be bunk and dining cars, respectively.

After a line failed, the line was often auctioned off to a scrap dealer, which would destroy everything in an attempt to find some items of value. The track was eventually torn up and sold for scrap. If 60 pound track was used, there was about a ton of steel every 50 feet, assuming both sides of the track rail. Exceptions include road crossing, where it would have been too disruptive to remove the track. At 34th Street, the track was sitting by the side of the road in about 1960 when the road was flattened. Before that three was a significant mound in the road, and drivers could give passengers a thrill by taking the mound at speed, and having the passenger's stomaches come up to their throats.

Ties were usually left in place to rot, although presumably those living along the route took a few for yard work. I remember seeing them yet in 1950 as I walked to Godwin from Hillcroft. Concrete signal posts were still mostly in place, and in a few cases parts of the signals themselves that could not be easily ripped off were still there. Substantial buildings, like warehouses, geneating stations, and some depots were often subsequently used for other purposes. Wooden ones were either razed, or perhaps looted to some extent for their materials. None of the small ones seem to have survived. As shown above, most of the coaches met an inelegant end, serving as cottages, chicken coops, diners, work crew facilities for the power company, etc. The motors and trucks were apparently valuable, because the coaches were never sold with them.

All in all, whatever could be sold was sold, whatever could be carted off and used for something else was, and the rest was just left to decay. Worst of all, the right of ways were essentially abandoned. In some cases there are roads over them in year 2012. The road from Grandville to Holland occupies the land once used by a dual track interurban route. As a practical matter, these can never be replaced, as can any other railroad track. There is simply too much population density everywhere today, and the legal and environmental challenges that attend any construction in year 2012 prevent almost anything from getting done.


Left click on the image below for a larger version.

The photograph above shows a steel bridge on the Grand Rapids, Grand Haven, and Muskegon line. It's hard to say what the orgin of the bridge is. It appears to be a standard railroad bridge, which would suggest overkill for most interurban lines. And this bridge only crosses a road.

Various lines were built to all different standards. The line from Grand Rapids to Kalamazoo was built to standard railroad specifications, because the cars sometimes weighed 85 tons, which was about the weight of a railroad passenger coach of the time. Others were simply light rail. Typically the coaches were bigger than streetcars, but not as heavy as the GR to Kalamazoo coaches, and could use lighter rail.

Grand Rapids to Kalamazoo Interurban

The interurban line from Grand Rapids to Kalamazoo operated from 1916 to 1928. It was built to very high standards, including the use of standard gauge railroad track, and very heavy coaches. Starting at Kalamazoo, the numbered stops are shown below.



+ above means that the location and other information about the stop has been obtained.

The list above is comprehensive, and shows that stops are only about 10 blocks apart, a short walk for people in 1917. One would never be more than 5 blocks from a stop. "Flag stops," where anyone could wave an approaching coach and be picked up, were allowed between these stops. This would have been done primarily by farmers, who were given free passes on the lines, in partial payment for the land they provided. Alas, many of the stops appear to be named after farms. e.g., stop 10 is "Vane Farm." Just where that was will take work to discover. An old street map, if they existed in 1917, would do wonders.

Note that the street names in the list above might well have changed after 1943, when many of the names in Kent county were changed. For example, stop 59, was Beals Road, named after a landowner along the road. Today it is 28th Street. The list is from 1917, and a lot situations might have changed over the next 10 or so years. Given the number, there would have been a potential stop every 0.8 mile or so, and a station with an agent about every 10 miles.

Left click on the image below for a larger version.

The schedule above does not represent all the stops along the line - perhaps it indicated major stops at the time it was printed. E.g., the Fisher Station stop was active in and around 1916 to 1918 because large numbers of workers at the Picric Acid plant were dropped off and picked up at that stop each workday. When WWI ended in 1918, it's likely that ridership to that location dropped precipitously. Fisher Station was a town of no more than perhaps a dozen houses and a store even at its peak. There was mining activity in the area. But probably not enough of any of these things to consider Fisher Station a primary stop, and it's likely that other schedules would reflect this.

Below is a summary of information currently on hand, on a stop by stop basis, progressing from Grand Rapids to Kalamazoo. In some cases the areas are still, after 84 years ( as of year 2012 ), sufficiently undeveloped that many details of the road bed can still be seen. Incredibly, depot foundations in Bradley and Shelbyville are still extant. Bridges survive here and there, if only because no one has bothered to remove them. Concrete tunnels under the roadbed for drainage purposes largely still exist. In other cases, development has obliterated almost everything, and the only way one can follow the track at all is by keeping the electric transmission lines in view. The best view of the past remains photographs, schedules, and magazine and newspaper pieces. The roadbed is in the best condition north of Kalamazoo, probably simply reflecting the patterns of development as the line progresses south of Grand Rapids. The Fisher Station and Wayland areas are now sufficiently developed that nothing remains except the power line right of ways. In some areas the power company has allowed walking and bike riding paths on the old roadbeds.

Some of the stops are difficult to find in year 2012. The interurban track crossed 100th Street at what is US-131 today, which of course obliterates the track bed at that point. The only sign of Corinth in year 2012 seems to be the Corinth Reformed Church, which is in the northeast corner of the intersection of Division Avenue South and 100th Street SE. If there was a foundation there, is it surely gone now.

Similarly, the town of Cooper seems to be represented by Cooper Congregational Church and Cooper Cemetery, both on Douglas Avenue and the intersection with West D Avenue. However, there's little sign of the interurban track bed, and Consumer's Power lines no longer follow the track at this point. What would have justified the interurban car stooping at this location is difficult to tell today.

The town of Argenta is a mystery for now. It is/was in Allegan County, in the Silver Creek area, in Gun Plain Township. The reasons for the interurban stopping there, for example a dairy farm or factory, might be gone in year 2012.

It's hoped that more photographs of depots and other structures will still become available. Old maps might help illuminate where some of the old, now obscure, towns were located.

Grand Rapids - stop 64.

Left click on the image below for a larger version.

The street and track map above is dated October, 1915. It appears to show the Grand Rapids - Kalamazoo line about the time it opened for service. Notice that the map does not indicate any connection with the GR-GH-M line. Perhaps that was done either by foot or streetcar. A number of streets, tracks, and buildings, are indicated that do not exist in yar 2014.

Connecting Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo, the interurbans started out in Grand Rapids from a terminal that was located on the site where the Civic Auditorium was later built. It is shown in the photograph below, on the left. The terminal was probably entered from the street on the left, in the left hand photo, top row. The street was Campau. Huron ran along the tracks, and is apparently gone in year 2012.

Left click on the images below for larger versions.

Station sign Lyon & Campau

Opposite side of station sign.

Station entrance on Huron Street.

Circa 1920.

Note west side canal below the tracks.

Huron Street to the left.

Circa 1935.

The coaches headed west over the river, as shown in the left photo, middle row, above, top row. The left hand track headed left for Kalamazoo. The middle track headed towards Grandville, and eventually to Holland. The track curving to the right went to Muskegon, with many stops along the way. The photograph on the left, bottom row, probably shows the bridge and station after operations ceased. Perhaps because of the Great Depression, and the cost of razing the bridge, it still stands in year 2010, and is a footbridge.

The photo on the right side, bottom row, above, is thought to be circa 1935. The Civic Auditorium exists, making it at least 1933. The interurban bridge still has trestles on the west on, because no one got around to tearing them out. And there might be streetcar on Monroe, just north of the Pantlind Hotel, suggesting no later than 1935.

Left click on the images below for larger versions.

Circa 1928



Circa 1940

The interurban bridge still stands in year 2010, as a footbridge.

The photos, above, dated 1935 and 1936, shows the interurban bridge after it was disconnected from the tracks on the west side. The views are northwest. Also seen is the bridge over the west side canal. The canal was just a stagnant water channel in the early 1950s, collecting garbage, and whatever else people threw in. The large number of cars along the Pearl Street bridge helps explain why the interurban lines failed. Cheaper cars, personal transportation, and taxpayer financed roads. The interuban systems were doomed economically.

In the background is the Rexall Train, which is parked on interurban track. Moved by a NY Central engine, the train toured the country, educating Rexall employees at each stop.

Left click on the image below for a larger version.

The photograph above shows car 814 coming in to the Grand Rapids terminal on the "upper bridge." The one by the old Civic Auditorium.

The track to Kalamazoo crossed the river a second time on a second bridge, further south, shown below.

Left click on the images below for larger versions.

Perhaps 1918 - 2400 volts
is still being used.

South bridge, orginally a
swing bridge. Apparently looking
north, two tracks merge into one.

A group of coaches apparently
approaching the swing bridge
south of Grand Rapids.

Undated view of swing bridge.



The swing bridge which was used for the second crossing of the interurban coaches on their way to-from Kalamazoo. At some point it was made a fixed bridge, which is a foot bridge in year 2012. Even in year 2012 one can see outlines of the course of the track on both sides of the rive, and possibly the course of the canal on the west side of the river, which still existed in the early 1950s. The bridge, and part of the track roadbed, is today part of the Oxford Street Trail. Some group is attempting to establish a walking path along the route of the line. Another segment goes south from Godwin. Perhaps it is enabled by Consumers Power, which owns the land in year 2012.

Left click on the images below for larger versions.

Circa 1917



The Nichols & Cox Lumber Company building was located at 1035 Godfrey Avenue SW and Curve Street SW, in the northwest corner. Apparently the plant was big enough to butt up against the GR - Kalamazoo interurban line, which is shown at the left. The location is about half way between the south interurban bridge on the Grand River and stop 63, Grandville Avenue. The company wholesaled hardwoods from Michigan and Indiana.

One can see that the line is double tracked at this location. One can see in the south bridge photos above that the same line hangers are used there. Just why double tracks were used in this location is unknown at present. In the view of the south bridge above, apparently looking north, one can see the two tracks merge into one just before the bridge.

Left click on the images below for larger versions.


About June, 2013

GPS coordinates: 42.937629 -85.690121

The location above is where the interurban crossed Plaster Creek. The photo at above, left, is c1920, and shows the track crossing Godfrey at this location. The abutments confirm that there is dual track at this location, which is shown in the wire hangers in the photograph. The photograph at the right shows one of the abutments in year 2013.

Grandville Avenue - stop 63.

Left click on the images below for larger versions.

The image above shows the approximate location of the Grandville stop in year 2013. Grandville Avenue changes to Chicago Drive in this area, so it's not clear for now whether Grandville refers to the town or the road. Many stops are named after a road, but further south they can be named for a farm, or something else, making the exact, or even approximate, location of the stop hard to discern in year 2013.

In any case, one can follow the transmission towers in the image above to see about where the track would have crossed Grandville Avenue. It's likely this location looked nothing like this in 1916 or so.

Clyde Park - stop 62.

The information below might pertain to stop 62, or a special stop at the Leonard, later Kelvinator, plant at 1575 Clyde Park, in which case stop 62 would have literally been at Clyde Park where the track crosses.

The photos and image below show the line as it passed the Leonard, later Kevinator, plant. The exact dates of the photos are unknow, but they had to be between about 1916 and 1928. One can see the faint impression of the interurban track going along Plaster Creek. Satellite images show that the track did indeed pass to the west of the plant. Like the Parchement stop, just north of Kalamazoo, which served local paper mills, the stop by Kelvinator might have been a special stop, bringing people from north and south of the plant to work.

Left click on the images below for larger versions.

Interurban track and
overhanging cable.

1928 or before. Leonard
plant in background. Bridge
over Plaster Creek is at the
right location.

Swing bridge at top.
Path the Kalvinator plant.

Bridge over Plaster Creek.
To interurban stop?
GPS coords: 42.933082 -85.689316

Burton Street at Clyde Park - stop 61

The next stop, 61, would be Burton Street at Clyde Park Avenue, shown below. Note the "61" on the steel "pole," in the old photogrpah below - top row, left. Clyde Park is the road at the base of the hill, in the upper left.

Left click on the images below for larger versions.

The house shown on the right side of the old photograph, top row, left, can be seen in the 2013 image shown to the right, on the corner of Clyde Park and McKendrick Street SW. So the old photograph is looking northwest, from the north side of Burton Street.

Beals Road ( 28th Street) - stop 59

The track eventually crossed 28th Street not far from the old Consumers Power sub station located on the SW corner of 28th and Buchanan. A steel trestle at 28th Street that moved the interurban coaches over both the road and the Grand Rapids and Indiana Railroad tracks that run north and south, and cut across 28th Street, in the same area. The tracks later crossed Buchanan just before 32nd Street, then crossed 32nd Street, and headed due south until at least 92nd Street.

Left click on the images below for larger versions.




The photograph above, left, shows where the Grand Rapids to Kalamazoo interurban crossed the Grand Rapids and Indiana Track - later the PRR - and 28th Street at the same point. The photograph is from 1913, although the date might be off a couple of years. Clearly all the land shown is still farmland. This is also the location of stop 59, Beals Road - 28th Street in year 2013. Just where people boarded the coach is not clear.

The middle and right hand photographs, above, show satellite images of the same area. After almost 100 years one can still see much of the old route of the interurban, as it approaches Buchanan, just south of 32nd Street, the triangle of land in the northeast corner of 32nd Street and Buchanan, how the track bed defines Riser, and then heads due south once south of 36th Street. In year 2012 Urban Avenue apparently shares the right of way with the power lines south of 36th Street for a ways, and is a walking path south of about 44th Street.

Brick School House Road - stop 57

This would be 36th Street. Godwin was a one room brick school in 1917. It was only replaced in 1924, just 4 years before the GR - Kalamazoo line ceased operation. The land in that area was significantly altered in 1937, when the 10 acres of land belonging to Frank Rackett was converted to a sports and playground complex.

However, curiously, the interurban track to 50th street was still in place as late as 1945, as shown in the segment of a 1945 map below.

Left click on the images below for larger versions.

There apparently was a plan as far back as 1929 to bridge the NYC track to Jackson and the GR & I track at a location in or around 28th Street. The details are murky, and the plan was never executed. Just how the interurban track was going to be used is also unclear. They all seem to have about the same level at 36th Street, that was not the case at 28th. Godwin graduates remember the track in the early 1940s yet. And it is possibly why track ties still existed, as did rail under the pavement on streets like 34th.

Fisher Road - stop 54

Coincidentally, stop 54 is on 54th Street. At one time there was the small town of Fisher Station at this location. It was a stop on the GR & I - PRR after 1920. A general store and a few other businesses were located at there. There were some local resources that were exploited. During WWI, both the GR & I and the interurban would drop workers off at Fisher Station to go work at the Picric Acid plant on Clyde Park and 44th, one of three such facilities being built around the country.

Cutlerville - stop 52

Left click on the image below for a larger version.

The image above shows the interurban depot at Cutlerville. Exactly where it was located is not known at present. The area is highly developed in year 2012, so the exact location might be lost.

Cutlerville was stop 52 on the 1917 list of stops on the GR - Kalamazoo line, stop 1 being Kalamazoo.

December 15, 1967, on a walk along the right of way, between 84th and 92nd Streets, I walked down below a bridge used by the interurban. It was not a culvert, but what was called a farm crossing. Anything from cattle to farm wagons could cross under the bridge. Many railroad right of ways had such crossings in farm areas. This one seems especially elaborate and substantial.

Left click on the images below for larger versions.

Photograph taken about January, 1967.

The photograph at the left, above, top row, was taken about January, 1967. While it appears the truck above the bridge is going over the bridge, in fact, as the satellite image on the right, top row, shows, the truck is on US 131, to the west of the interurban track. On the right abutment is scratched the notice referred to below.

The satellite images above, show the bridge in year 2012. The body of water to the right did not exist in 1967, although the ground clearly would have been spongy in the summer. The satellite image on the right shows the wider context of the bridge. In year 2012 it is simply a ruin, with no suggestion whatsoever what it was ever for. The best guess is that it was a cattle or farm equipment crossing. This was a common feature of railroad right of ways 100 years ago. It exists because Consumers Power never saw fit to get rid of it. And in fact it is a substantial structure, built of reinforced concrete.

The ground was frozen, so what would have been swampy ground in the summer was quite firm. On the cement wall is inscribed "T. FLANNNRY, Feb 4, 1913." It appears to be a contractor label, and the "NNN" is likely a mistake. Perhaps it should read FLANNARY. This is probably about the time the route between Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo was being built. According to Robert Morris, father of Phyllis Morris, class of 1962, there were a number of members of the Flannary family - with this spelling - in the area, but whether they had anything to do with the construction of the bridge is unknown. in to fresh concrete.

The Google satellite coordinates of the bridge are 42.806012, -85.668195.

On the same walk, I took a few photographs of the rail bed of the interurban.

Left click on the images below for larger versions.

The track bed was still fairly well defined after almost 40 years. Using satellite images one can still see the outline of the right of way from Grand Rapids to Kalamazoo. The right of way extended 50 feet either side of the track, leaving plenty of room for the transmission towers and an access road that one can see in the photographs above.

Update - Interurban crossing - November 20, 2013.

A visit to the same bridge for some new photos. The 46 years or since my last visit have of course shown some changes. The bridge is now something over 100 years old, having been constructed in about February, 1913. For various reason the concrete near the road bed is showing wear and tear - perhas a combination of weather and abuse. In other places it's as if the concrete was poured recently.

Left click on an image for a full size version.

- 1 -

- 2 -

- 3 -

- 4 -

- 5 -

- 6 -

- 7 -

- 8 -

Using the numbers under the photos above, here are a few comments.

1 - the bridge on the west side of the track. The terrain has been altered here because of the contrutction of the 131 expressway. Debries, dirt, and vegetation have almost filled up the opening on this side. The edge of the bridge roadway on both sides is showing signs of erosion and perhaps abuse.

2 - View of the east side of the brdge from slightly north.

3 & 4 - Views of the north wall. With effort, one can still see what appears to be a contractor's stamp. It appears to say "T. FLANNNRY (sic)" on the first line, and "Feb 4, 1913 on the second line. The "4" is faint today, but I could see it without difficulty in 1967. The concrete is in great condition yet overall.

5 - Inside the tunnel, the concrete looks like it was poured recently. One can see how dirt and debrie have piled up on the west side.

6 - On the south wall of the tunnel the concrete is basically in good shape. Why the concrete over the rebar has pulled away is unclear. Differential expansion rates?

7 - Another view of the north wall, on the east side of the bridge.

8 - The east side of the bridge. The bridge appears to have been built in and astonishingly strong fashion. Essentially to standard railroad standards. Overbuilt? Better than underbuilt.

Overall, the vegetation in the area has grown a lot in the last couple of years, as has the lake to the east of the track. This was a marshy area 46 years ago.

A 1960 county map show that another cattle crossing exists in the same area, at about 8665 Division Avenue.

Left click on the images below for larger versions.


Undated. About 8665 Division.

2014 - photo by Pete Walsh.

In year 2014 the area between the interurban track and Division Avenue is a shallow lake. West of the interurban track is US 131, and debris has obscurred the west side of the tunnel. Pretty clearly the cattle crossing under Division Avenue hasn't been used for any farming purposes for a long time now. Cattle crossing was a generic name for a farm access tunnel. While cattle might have used them too, another function was to moved farm machinery to different locations. The Flannery family well known in the area in 1913 or so, when the interurban track was built, and might have been able to extract the construction of the tunnel as a condition for use of the land. The tunnel under Division is another matter. Apparently the route Division Avenue takes was modified at some point, and Division Ct. today might be the old Division Avenue. When all this was done is not known at this time.

Corinth - stop 47

Left click on the images below for larger versions.

1914 topographical map.

The October, 1914, topographical map above shows the location of Corinth as being at the intersection of 100th Street and Division Avenue. Even Division Avenue had to make a jog in this area to avoid the steep 92nd Street hill. Corinth is located at the point where Division Avenue begins to head due south, and where the land is again flat enough to farm. Why there was an Interurban stop here is unclear, save that a coach would stop just about anywhere someone was waiting to be picked up. Perhaps Corinth was a stage coach stop at one time - Division Avenue, once called Gull Road, was at one time a toll road - a plank road consisting of almost 50 miles of lumber, each plank being 16 feet long, a foot wide, and 3 inches thick.

An 1897 Michgian State Gazetteer describes Corinth as have a population of 100, and was on the line between Byron and Gains Townships. It had two blacksmiths, a general store, and a church.

In year 2012 there's little to indicate that Corinth existed. It is still shown on maps, but little defines the location as a town. The interurban crossed 100th Street where the US 131 interchange now exists. As shown in the middle and right images above, one can see where the interurban approaches that area, and again further south, where the track bed can be seen again. A depot would have been where 131 intersects with 100th Street SW, and for that reason, all traces of it have now been erases.

All the way through the area the Consumers Power towers and lines can be seen. In the right hand image one can see the GR & IN track moving in a NW to SE direction, eventually to head due south again. It too had to make a long detour around the hills around 92nd Street - in short, standard trains don't climb hills. Otherwise, a church and a cemetery are about all that carry the Corinth name today.

Moline - stop 44

Like Martin, and Plainwell, the depot in Moline was a converted house. The most likely site for the Moline depot is at the location below:

GPS coordinates: 42.739172, -85.663517

Left click on the image below for a larger version.

The most likely location for the depot would seem to be around where the track intersects 144th Avenue. The house that contained the depot is known to be gone as of year 2012. So far, no photograph has become available, and the location above appears to contain no evidence for a foundation, although this has not been confirmed at ground level yet.

Wayland - stop 38

Left click on the images below for larger versions.

The interurban depot at Wayland, MI. The third rail was not used at depots for safety reasons. One can see the overhead wire and pulley used by the depot in the photograph at the left, above. In the photograph at the right, above, coaches 802 and 808 are likely headed for Grand Rapids. The power pole cannot be seen, and is probably at the back of unit. The power pole can be clearly seen in the photograph at the left, above, suggesting that if the depot was on the east side of the tracks, and south of West Superior Street, it was heading south, towards Kalamazoo.

Left click on the images below for larger versions.

There is a suggestion of the outline of a foundation at the located pointed to above.

GPS coordinates: 42.673643 -85.647305

If this is confirmed, then the Wayland interurban depot was indeed on the southeast corner of West Superior Street and the intersection with the track bed. The house on the right of the location fits that of an early photograph in that the roof line is correctly oriented.

Left click on the image below for a larger version.

A cattle crossing near Wayland, MI.

Bradley - stop 34

Left click on the images below for larger versions.

The satellite images above were obtained in year 2012. The middle one shows the location of the Bradley interurban terminal. Akin to the view below of the Shelbyville terminal foundation, one can see an area in the center of the photograph that appears to be the remnants of a foundation. Hopefully a photograph of the station will emerge.

The GPS location for the apparent foundation is 42.630581, -85.646216.

The photographs below, taken on June 28, 2012, show the foundation and platform of the Bradley, MI, depot. The adjoining house has apparently been using the land, belonging to Consumer's Power, as an extended yard, and is keeping it mowed. For good or for bad, this has kept the foundation and platform visible where it might otherwise be overgrown and impossible to spot. At present it appears that about half of the primary stops between Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo have been obliterated by construction of some kind, so the Bradley depot location might well be the last one to be found where any significant remnants still exist.

Left click on the images below for larger versions.

Above one can see the general location of the platform and depot. The inadvertently placed trailer gives some idea of the scale. The track was located towards the bottom and left of the foundation.

Left click on the images below for larger versions.

Southern part of foundation.

Southwest part of foundation.

Western part of foundation.

Western part of foundation.

Eastern part of foundation.

The top row, above, shows the south and southwest parts of the depot foundation. The middle row, above, shows the western parts of the depot foundation. The bottom row, above, shows the eastern part of the depot foundation. The dirt road area is where the tracks were. One can see again that but for the efforts of the neighboring house to keep the area clear, the foundation would probably be obscure in year 2012.

Left click on the images below for larger versions.

Looking north.

Looking north.

Looking north.

Looking south.

Above, looking at the track bed, north and south. In this stretch of track, location of the right of way is mostly defined by the power towers, without which the track bed would likely be totally overgrown by year 2012.

Lee Tanner, Godwin class of 1941, recalls that her grandparents had a farm on the east side of US 131, and the interurban tracks were behind the barn. She says her cousins used to hang around the depot, helping the agent do various things. Her father started his working life on the interurban line. He graduated from Dorr HS in 1912 or 1913, and his first job with the was in 1914 or 1915, which would then have had to be when the line just opened, or slightly before.

Shelbyville - stop 30

South of 84th Street, and along the old 131, the interurban track bed is well defined yet in year 2010, some 82 years after operations ceased. In some areas the culverts and roadbed appear to be in very good condition, having the appearance that track could be laid again. For much of this stretch, the owners of the land, Consumers Power, has not graded to the property. Just east of 124th Street and the old 131, there is the foundation of a terminal. See below.

Left click on the images below for larger versions.

Looking south from 124th.

Satellite view of foundation

Depot when in use.

As shown on the map, the stop is near a spot on the map called Shelbyville. Shelbyville was also served by the Grand Rapids and Indiana Railroad at one time. The reason was mostly the tourist trade at Gunn Lake. At both the railroad and interurban stops, local transportation would have taken people the remaining 5 to 7 miles to the lake. The satellite view at the left, above, bottom row, shows the outline of the terminal, at GPS coordinates 42.59405, -85.643988 . Projecting the path of the track, at the top of the image, shows that the track would have passed to the left of what appears to be a platform.

Why the foundation was never removed, since it is now in pasture land is unclear. But fortunately, it was not. One reason might be that the land is actually owned by a power company. As one can see at the left, in the photo at the right, bottom row, there are transmission line towers in place even when the interurban line was running. It was common for the two to coexist.

Martin - stop 25

Left click on the images below for larger versions.

Foundation of the original
location of the house/depot.

The house, in year 2012, that
served as the Martin depot.

2012 satellite view.

The photograph at the left, above, clearly shows where the house that served as a depot, shown in the middle above, was located. One can still easily see the outline of the foundation outline, as well as a sidewalk, that for some reason has survived as well.

GPS coordinates of the foundation and sidewalk: 42.537218, -85.64021

Monteith Junction - stop 24

Left click on the images below for larger versions.

Part of an 1895 Rand-McNally
railroad map, showing Monteith.

Monteith Junction - 1916

Kalamazoo Gazette - Dec 28, 1969

Steps to transformer slab.

Satellite view of steps.
Green arrow.

Satellite view of steps.
2X resolution.

GPS coordinates of the steps: 42.523915, -85.638039

It's not totally clear at this time whether this structure is in Martin or Monteith Junction. At the base of the steps there appears to be part of a railing. One also sees a rather formidable fence at the base of the steps, probably because the land to the east is used for cattle rearing. The land on which the steps sit is still owned by the power company, and is accessible.

The portion of an 1895 Rand-McNally map shows Monteith, which perhaps should have been labeled Monteith Junction. At that time it was an at-grade intersection of the Grand Rapids and Indiana - later PRR - track and a Michigan Central track out of Allegan. There is little left in year 2012 of either the MCRR track bed or the facilities at the junction needed to ensure safe operation. The GR & I track is still nominally active.

It's difficult to know what all the two satellite views show. The steps once led to some kind of substation, but whether any of the foundations shown were part of that is unknown at this time. Substations were often elaborate structures at the time, required to convert A/C to D/C for use on the line. In this case, transformers would have been needed to lower the high voltage A/C on the power company's lines to something useable by an A/C to D/C motor-generator set. Less elaborate than the complete power generating stations needed in some areas, they were nevertheless expensive facilities. Usually the substations also served as depots. Monteith Junction is listed as a primary stop, so perhaps that was the case here too.

Plainwell - stop 17

Left click on the image below for a larger version.

The Plainwell, MI, interurban depot, on a rainy day. As of July, 2012, it's not clear where the depot stood. Like the Martin and Moline depots, the Plainwell depot was a converted house, now gone. One can see a power line tower at the left of the photo, but nothing else to indicate a location. The image below, left, shows a location where the GR & I tracks and the interurban tracks come near together. And there is possibly a footbridge over the river, where people could walk from town to catch the train or the interurban. But there is no evidence of a depot at this location.

Left click on the images below for larger versions.

GPS coordinates for image at right, above: 42.444425, -85.632312

Above, left, one can see a bridge over the river. The origins of it are not clear at this time. The image at the right, above, offers another suggestion for the location of the depot. See the green arrow. Here again, there is no foundation or other evidence to suggest that this was the location, but it would have also been convenient to the town.

Left click on the images below for larger versions.

Both photographs above are copyrighted year 2010 by Tim Shanahan, Interurban Junkie, Kalamazoo, MI.

GPS coordinates: 42.475027 -85.637524

The images above show a bridge near Plainwell, MI, on the left, and another at Wayland, MI, on the right. The middle satellite image shows the context of the Plainwell bridge in a 2011 view. Apparently whatever creek or river the Plainwell bridge crossed has largely dried up in year 2010, save possibly during heavy rains. While the Plainwell bridge has clearly attracted vandals, the Wayland bridge has apparently not, possibly because it is higher off the stream it crosses.

Cooper - stop 9

Left click on the images below for larger versions.



The images above show that the Cooper area was quite active in the 1910 time frame. Both the Grand Rapids and Indiana and the Lake Shore and Michigan Southern railroads passed through the area, perhaps in part because it was natural for railroads to follow the relatively even contours of the rivers. Later, the Grand Rapids - Kalamazoo interurban would pretty much follow the route of the GR & I RR the entire way.

Left click on the images below for larger versions.

The satellite images above, all of the area where the interurban crossed D Avenue at about address 1350, are dated 2012. While the bare patch shown in the middle of the image at the right suggests the depot foundation might have been located there, the maps above suggest either the depot, or what passed for a town, was on the right side of the track. The land is owned by the power company, so it's possible that remnants of the foundation still exist.

A visit to the location on June 28, 2012, shows that the bare patch houses natural gas equipment. Many right of ways are multi purpose now, carrying perhaps a track, a fiber optic cable, natural gas lines, power lines, etc. The best guess right now is that this is the location of the interurban depot, which is now underneath the sand, if it's still there at all. On the other side of the track bed is a wet area. What it looked like 100 years ago is another matter of course. Hopefully more information about this stop will appear.

Left click on the images below for larger versions.

The photographs above show the track bed on June 28, 2012, looking north in the photograph on the left, and south in the other.

In 1920 or so there would have been three depots in the same area. Perhaps photos of some or all of them still exist.


Parchment might have been a special stop for factory workers only, and did not necessarily show up on regular schedules. During WWI, a similar situation existed with Fisher Station being, in part, a stop for construction workers at the Picric Acid plant. Note that the third rail continues right in to the depot area, which again suggests this was not an ordinary stop. In that case overhead wired would have been used around the depot.

Left click on the images below for larger versions.

Car 801 discharging workers at the paper mills in Parchment. It then continued north to Grand Rapids. Both photographs above are the same, save that sepia has been added to the one on the right. This can highlight details.

Kalamazoo - stop 1

The tracks end at the Kalamazoo terminal, which still existed as of 1988.

Left click on the images below for larger versions.

2012 Photograph.

The image above shows the first interurban station in Kalamazoo. When the second terminal, below, was built is not known for now.

Left click on the images below for larger versions.

Circa 1915

Circa 1917

Circa 1920

Circa 1994


Circa 2009

The images above show the second Kalamazoo interurban station. The building is called the Lawrence & Chapin building, and was built in 1872, as one can see on a marker at the top of the building. The building originally housed an iron manufacturing facility of some sort. Later it housed a skating rink, then an interurban station, and, later, a bank. As of year 2009 or so it is empty. Some time around 1994 a large amount of money was spent cleaning up the exterior, and the building is something of a local landmark today, if unused for now.

As of year 2009, and probably before, nothing remains of the track area, which was to the right of the building as one faced the front. Many rail tracks and stations converged in this area in the 1920s. One could have taken the interurban from Grand Rapids and caught a train in Kalamazoo, or been right in the middle of town for business or shopping. On the Grand Rapids end the terminal occupied the site later occupied by the Civic Auditorium.


Left click on the images below for larger versions.

The photograph above, left, shows an interurban car heading south, just north of Kalamazoo. This photo and others here seem ill focused because they are copies of copies. No doubt the originals look much better. The photograph above, right, shows interurban car 807 "at work." Just where, or even which way it is headed, are all unclear, as is the photograph itself.

Grand Rapids to Holland Interurban

Left click on the images below for larger versions.

March 15, 1902


The map above, right, is a current attempt to reconstruct the route of the Grand Rapids to Holland line.

The Grand Rapids, Holland, and Chicago interurban operated between about 1898 and 1924.

The item below is from the March 15, 1902, issue of Western Electrician, and describes the technical aspects of the Grand Rapids, Holland, and Lake Michigan interurban system.

Left click on the images below for larger versions.

The line was double tracked much of the way, as can be seen below. After 1927, the right of way was apparently taken over by Chicago Drive, a.k.a. MI 121, although the piece of track from Grand Rapids to Grandville was still used until 1932, after which it too failed.

Grand Rapids

Left click on the image below for a larger version.

The map above shows that the original intent was to have the GR, H & C route stay on the east side of theGrand River. This might have been the case for a while. After the two Grand River bridges were built, the line apparently shared track with the GR - Kalamazoo line until about Clyde Park - stop 62 on the Grand Rapids - Kalamzoo line. The details of this are unclear at this time, and no vestiges of the old route exist, even in sateillite views.

Note the entry "Ivanrest" on the plaque below. Until the 1960s, at least, the Ivanrest stop station, on 28th Street, still stood.

Left click on the images below for larger versions.

Material provided by Lewis Lull, class of 1940, scanned and sent by Craig Lull, class of 1970.

Wyoming Park.

Left click on the images below for larger versions.

The map snippet at the left, above, is from a 1914 Grand Rapids topological map. Near the lower left corner one can see where the track crossed 28th Street, which was the location of the Wyoming Park stop. Still there in the early 1960s, one could look on the south side of the street and see an overgrown track bed. Note also on the make that just before the Wyoming Park stop one sees that the interurban track crossed the LS & MS railroad track, and in the upper right corner one can see where it crossed the GR & I track. There would have been a trestle there too.

The photograph in the middle, above, shows a Grand Rapids and Holland interurban coach using a trestle to cross a Lake Shore and Michigan Southern track, perhaps some time between 1915 and 1920. Railroads would typically not allow interurbans to cross their tracks at grade level, leading to a number large, and probably expensive, trestles. It appears the interurban coach was heading west, in which case it's next stop would be Wyoming Park, as it was called in 1914.

The location of the crossing is shown in the right hand image, top row. The trestle as just southwest of the intersection of Byron Center Road and Porter Street. The interurban track went along what is today Lee Street. The track bed of the LS & MS track is delineated by the foliage now covering the old track bed, and to some extent by the location of street relative to the old track. This is a phenomena known to archaeologists, who use satellites to discern features in the ground to suggest old structures and roads. After 85 years one can still see the track beds of all the interurbans that were in the area in satellite images.

Left click on the images below for larger versions.

Circa 1915.

Circa 1920.

Circa 1921. Photo courtesy of the GR Museum.

The photos above show the depot at Wyoming Park. The same design was apparently used for all, or most, of the depots on this line. The photo on the left is a bit earlier, based on the lack of foliage. It could even be quite new. The license plate on the car in the photo at the right is consistent with the design used in 1921, according to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources in year 2012. The depot was located on the north side of 28th Street, a block or so east of Ivanrest, and was still there in the 1960s. In year 2012 the site is occupied by Walgreen's.

Note the name S. H. Wilson on the sign. Apparently the depot was in part an office. So who was S. H. Wilson?

S. H. Wilson

Left click on the images below for larger versions.

The 2012 satellite views above illustrate that even after close to 85 years some parts of the Grand Rapids to Holland interurban track bed can seen. As is often the case, the tracks paralleled existing railroad tracks, as did later roads and interstates. So in many cases the interurban track beds have been obliterated. In some cases the right of ways were taken over by power companies for their transmission lines, an example being the Grand Rapids to Kalamazoo line. Often as not the transmission lines and the interurbans coexisted for a while. For those cases it's still easy to discern the locations of the right of ways yet.

Left click on the image below for a larger version.

The interurban tracks near Grandville, in an undated photograph. The photograph suggests this was at a place called Meengs Crossing. The tracks would have paralleled the Pere Market railroad tracks west of Jenison, and are now obscured by Chicago Drive - Route 121. The area has seen explosive development in the years leading to year 2012, and little of the interurban track remains to be seen.

Both systems are now long gone. The GR & Holland interurban since about 1928, and the LS & MS since a little after WWII. It was easy to see the LS & MS track bed in the early 1960s as one drove west on 36th, just before Grandville. Like the interurban track bed that ran through Frank Rackett's property, and was familiar to most of us in the 1950s, the LS & MS track bed was just as prominent in the early 1960s. Nothing can be seen in year 2012.

In the bottom row, left, above, one can see that part of the Grand Rapids to Holland route is a walking path today. The bride that crossed the Grand River still exists, as does the bridge further east, which once ran into the side of the Civic Theater, and is now a foot bridge.


Left click on the image below for a larger version.

The undated photograph above shows the interurban depot at Jenison.


Left click on the image below for a larger version.

The photograph above shows some grading work being down near Shackhuddle, MI, a town which does not exists in year 2013.

Left click on the images below for larger versions.

Car 118 on its last run, November 15, 1926. The location is by a creamery in Forest Grove. Forest Grove has GPS coordinates 42.811196, -85.881412. In the photo at the right, above, one can still see the interurban track, as outlined in trees, after something like 85 years, going from lower left to upper right in the image at the right, above.


Left click on the image below for a larger version.


Left click on the image below for a larger version.

The photograph above shows the inauguration of service to Holland, MI, on July 4, 1898.

Left click on the image below for a larger version.

Car 9 at the dock in Holland. For some, the next step would be to board a boat like those on the Holland and Chicago line shown below. Freight would also be transfered to and from a boat. In the beginning, around 1902, the boats were not big enough or strong enough to travel Lake Michigan in the winter. By the end, which is all of 1926 or so, they were, but the shipping companies often failed with the interurbans, victims of competition from railroad ships.

Left click on the image below for a larger version.


Left click on the images below for larger versions.

Saugatuck, MI, depot, in an undated photograph. Saugatuck has long been a summer resort town. The building that houses the depot was probably also some kind of amusement attraction, a popular way for interurban lines to generate revenues on weekends.

Grand Rapids, Grand Haven, and Muskegon Interurban

Left click on the images below for larger versions.

The Grand Rapids, Grand Haven, and Muskegon Railway Company operated from 1902 to 1928, although much of the line was closed by 1926. Like most interurban companies, growth was rapid in the first couple of decades, after which the mode of transportation collided with the growth of the automobile, and taxpayer funded roads.

Left click on the images below for larger versions.

The map and schedule above show the extent of the system. At one time, connections could be made in Grand Rapids with Michigan Railway stops in Kalamazoo, and then Battle Creek, Jackson, and Detroit, and on up to Flint. One eventually was able to connect with the Indiana and Ohio interurban systems, which were quite extensive, via a line between Detroit and Toledo. Note that Berlin, between Walker and Coopersville, was renamed Marne in 1919 because of anti-German sentiment during WWI, and to honor US soldiers who fought in the Battle of the Marne.

Left click on the images below for larger versions.

The photographs above are construction photos - just where is not known. The photograph at the left shows that in conditions of sandy soil a two man crew and a steam powered shovel could be used to make the necessary cuts and fills. One can see that the steam shovel is at the very end of the tracks. After a cut or fill was prepared within the reach of the shovel, another length of track would be laid. Steam powered pile drivers were used in the same way to get through wet areas.

At times the fills could be quite high. Between 32nd and 36th Streets earth along the Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo interurban line, which follows Riser Street, and then cuts through Frank Rackett's property before crossing 36th Street, was piled quite high to give the track a uniform grade. Up though the 1950s yet one saw trenches on both sides of the track where a steam shovel likely picked up the dirt and piled it in the middle. Houses along Riser Street used those trenches as private dumps up to the time Consumers Power topped the berms and filled in the trenches.

Grand Rapids.

The description of the Grand Rapids terminal is the same as that above for the Grand Rapids to-from Kalamazoo line. The GR, GH, and Muskegon line used the track curving to the right, as one looks west while stand in the interurban bridge. It appears that an older terminal, and bridge, served this line originally, since it was built in 1902, whereas the GR, Holland, and Chicago, and GR - Kalamazoo lines were built later.

Toll Gate

Walker Center

Left click on the images below for larger versions.





The maps above show the same area around Leonard Street and Walker Avenue in 1907, 1922, and 2013. In the 1907 one sees a small interurban track off the main line at this corner. It's purpose is unclear at this time. It is not indicated on a 1922 plat map. In year 2013 there is a structure at about where one might imagine a car barn might have been, or some other structure, but it appears to be a fire station, with the bays pointing to Walker Avenue. If so, it is odd that cars would be parked in front of the doors. This is be looked into further to see whether the structure is in any way old enough to have existed when the Interurban line was running.

Left click on the images below for larger versions.

Older part of building.

Whether the structure above existed at the endof the spur track shown above, or it's location is just a coincidence, is not known at present. Today it is a fire station. Whether it was, for example, a car barn 100 years ago is not known.


Left click on the images below for larger versions.

Apparent site of the Shaokleton stop and track bed.


Left click on the images below for larger versions.

Above is the suspected location of the Baumhauf stop. Whether the structure called the depot has anything structural in common with the depot, or maybe just shares the location, is not known at present.


Left click on the images below for larger versions.


The structure shown above probably served as both a substation for converting A/C to D/C and a station. It is similar to the one in Coopersville, and was about as close to a standard design as ever emerged during the short life of the interurban lines.

County Line



Berlin - Marne

Left click on the images below for larger versions.

The image above, left, shows the depot at Berlin, MI, as the town was called before WWI. The depot burned in 1912, and was replaced by a red brick structure, shown at the right, above, which houses a restaurant in year 2012.


Catholic Church

High Bridge



GPS coordinates: 43.053163, -85.887233

Never much more than a small collection of houses, for what purpose is unknown, Titusville was probably a flag stop.

Left click on the images below for larger versions.

Satellite - 2013


GPS coordinates: 43.057632, -85.906951

A small collection of houses for some unspecified reason, Steeter might have been a flag stop.

Left click on the images below for larger versions.

Track bed - 2013

Satellite - 2013


GPS coordinates: 43.060046, -85.918629

How much of a town Stiles ever was is unknown at present. Stiles might have been a flag stop.

Left click on the images below for larger versions.

Creek on GTW track

Track bed - 2013

Satellite - 2013

High School


At one time the GR, GH, and Muskegon system had 16 interurban cars. Car number 8 still exists, and is in the process of slowly being restored, at the Coopersville, MI, railroad museum. The car was likely in horrible condition when the project started. It now depends on donations to help the work along.

The trucks - the wheels and motors - on an abandoned trolley or interurban car were still valuable for other uses, and were usually removed before a car was sold, or burned for the meter they contained. The history of car 8 is not known at this time, but it's a fair bet that those reconstructing it have had to use a lot of imagination and skill to recreate something even as close as it appears to be. A monumental job that once would have been routine for the line's maintenance shops, which no doubt repaired damaged cars on a regular basis, with workers, facilities, and documentation, that allowed them to work on any facet of a coach.

Left click on the images below for larger versions.

Some of the other cars are shown below. Other than car number 8, it's not clear that any exist as of year 2012.

Left click on the images below for larger versions.

The building which houses the museum is called a generating station. It, and another facility in Fruitport, MI, converted A/C electricity into the D/C electricity used by the interurban cars. The Coopersville station is shown below. Notice that the tracks are essentially right in front of the generating station.

Left click on the images below for larger versions.


September 24, 2013

The genset at Cooperville, show above, occupied the area by the tower, where the high voltage A/C entered the station. These gensets no doubt represented a huge cost for the interurban systems, as they required a full time opeator - maybe 16 to 18 hours a day. Had the coaches been able to use A/C/ motors, only a transformer would have been needed occasionally along the line, no operator, and the build would have been needed only for freight and passengers. Alas, A/C technology for use on trolley cars came along too late, and there would have been a massive retrofitting cost to use A/D motors at a later time.



East Dennison

West Dennison

Left click on the images below for larger versions.

Trackbed - 2013




Left click on the images below for larger versions.

Circa 1912

Some material supplied for scanning by Lillian Annis, class of 1941.

Above, top row, right, a 1912 photograph of interurban car number 8 on the Grand Rapids to Muskegon line stopping at Nunica, MI. Middle, above, is an undated photograph of the Nunica depot. One notices a building behind the depot either does not exist yet, or is gone for some reason. At right, above, second row, is another look at car 8. It's not clear what "special" means. Possibly a coach on a run with no stops other than the destination. Possibly a coach reserved for bigshots.

Left click on the image below for a larger version.

The Nunica depot once sat about where the substation in the view above now sits.

GPS coordinates: 43.079594 -86.06841

A number of photographs of depots contain coach 15. It's possible that the photographer got out at each depot, ran ahead and took the photograph of the depot with coach 15 in it, and then moved on.


Left click on the images below for larger versions.

The photograph above, left, shows a station at Fruitport. In front of the coach is the track that heads off to Grand Haven. The coach is apparently coming from Muskeegon. Locals could wait at the station for coaches headed either to Grand Haven, Grand Rapids, or Muskeegon. The photograph at the right, above, is described as a company junction shelter. Perhaps the coach at the right, used as a building. It has no trucks.

A generating station in Fruitport, MI, is shown below.

Left click on the images below for larger versions.

Water tower.

The photograph on the left, first row, is a historic view of the Fruitport generating station. In part, the tracks shown lead to a car barn right next door, as shown in the middle photo, bottom row. "Development" has compeletely overtaken them today, and even by satellite one cannot discern that they ever existed.

In year 2012 the buildings above houses a company named Modular Systems. Looking at the photograph in the first row, above, at the right, the main tracks were located to the left, about one quarter mile. The main track bed can still be seen in aerial photos.

The photograph above labeled "water tower" contains a view of the track and a railroad car that brought coal and other supplies to the generating station. Alas, a facility like this was a full fledged power station, and likely expensive to run. In most cases, power from a local power company was used instead to run a motor-generator pair to create the D/C needed for the lines.

Left click on the image below for a larger version.

The photograph above shows an interurban car somewhere west of Fruitport, Michigan, in February, 1920. The interurban cars were heavy, and could deal well with the February conditions. Special pneumatic shoes on the electric rails helped make contract during icy conditions.

Left click on the image below for a larger version.

The bridge above, shown in about 1902, connected Grand Haven to Spring Lake, across the Grand River.

Muskegon Heights

GPS coordinates: 43.201183 -86.245785

Apparently the depot was located between the interurban track and a standard railroad track, which often paralleled each other.

Left click on the images below for larger versions.

Above, left, the depot in Muskegon Heights. Right, the street location of the depot, as indicated by a black arrow. Apparently the depot sat between the active track shown and Airline Highway, which probably occupies the interurban right of way. It was often the case that an abandoned interurban right of way was used for a road, or for power lines. The area looked reasonably rural when the depot existed.


Left click on the images below for larger versions.


Depot, possibly under construction.

Left, above, the Muskegon depot. It was located on the northwest corner of Western Avenue and 7th Street, just a few blocks northwest of the Grand Truck depot. The location is an empty lot in year 2013. Right, above, an interurban coach at 8th Street and Western Avenue.

Left click on the image below for a larger version.

The interurban depot was about where the "A" is in the image above. The building might well exist yet in year 2012, but the exterior would look nothing like the photograph above. The GPS coordinates for the likely location of the depot are ( 43.232318, -86.258217 ).

Muskegon Dock

The last stop on the Muskegon leg of the GR-GH-M line was the dock Muskegon Lake. As can be seen in the 2012 satellite view of the dock area, much of the construction appears to be relatively recent. Exactly how the line got to the dock area, and just where the terminal and depot were, are unknown here for now.

Left click on the images below for larger versions.

The Muskegon interurban station at the docks for departure to Chicago is seen at the right, middle image above.

Grand Haven Junction

Just two stops before Fruitport, Grand Haven Junction is where a separate line split off for the trip to Spring Lake and Grand Have. In about 1900, when the line was built, it appears Grand Haven, in part a resort area, was at least as large as the city of Muskegon. Muskegon apparently saw a great deal of industrial expansion later on, perhaps because of Lake Muskegon and the ability to move large ships near to the city, as well as railroad service. A lot of growth occurred during WWII as well. In year 2012, the city has a lot of the same issues as Detroit, and much of it has been demolished as the auto and steel related industries declined. But in 1900 it too must have been an attractive resort area, and easy access to both it, and Grand Haven, from Grand Rapids would have very desirable at the time.

Spring Lake

GPS coordinates: 43.07692 -86.1985

Left click on the images below for larger versions.

Original location - undated.

A Huntington Bank occupies the northeast corner of North Jackson Street and West Savidge Street in year 2013. The small building to the right, shown above, still exists in year 2013, and is a lawyer's office.

Left click on the images below for larger versions.

The small building at right
still exists in year 2013.

The photographs above shows the interurban station at Spring Lake, MI, built in 1913. Prior to the building of the structure, people waited in a nearby drugstore. Often very modest wood affairs, with a loading platform, this station is more elaborate, if not as much so as a typical railroad station. One can see a coach on the left side of the photograph on the left. Looking at the bay window, it's possible the coach pulled in by the side of the station, but otherwise the tracks went down the street, to the right of where two people stand, as suggested by the tracks in front of the station in the photograph at the right.

Left click on the images below for larger versions.

The photographs above are undated. The inside has been gutted, and the outside altered. Historically, the depot mostly no longer exists.

Left click on the images below for larger versions.

All of the photos above are labeled September 24, 2013. The Spring Lake depot is now located in Coopersville, roughly across the street from the interurban museum.

Grand Haven

Left click on the images below for larger versions.

Above, left, Washington Street, looking east. The interurban is probably heading to the docks, a block or two west, shown below, to let people heading for Chicago board a boat. Both photos are undated. The car in the one to the left suggests 1915 to 1920.

Left click on the images below for larger versions.

The Grand Haven depot and freight office is shown above. It was located on the east side Water Street, between Washington and Franklin, using the street names of the day. Coach 8 appears in many photographs of depots, so it's possible that a photographer rode along one day and got off to take photos at each stop.

Left click on the image below for a larger version.

The dock in Grand Haven. Here freight and people would be transferred to and from boats coming from and going to Chicago.

Left click on the image below for a larger version.

The pavilion at Highland Park, Grand Haven, MI. An undated postcard from perhaps 1925. The line was removed not long after that, since the cost of removing sand and keeping the line clear began to exceed revenues.

Satellite views of track beds

Although Michigan interurban systems have been gone for 84 years or so, as of year 2012, it is still possible to locate many of the track beds from satellite images, a technique also used by archaeologists now. The pattern of the vegetation, buildings, and roads, that developed along the right aways can still be seen in many areas. In some cases power companies took over the old right of ways for their transmission lines. All of this is true, for example, for the Grand Rapids to Kalamazoo line, along Riser Street, near Godwin. In other cases, the right of ways were turned in to walking or bike paths. In other cases the right of ways paralleled railroad tracks, and were covered over by interstates in the 1950s and 1960s. In other cases, more recent housing and business developments have completely erased the old track beds.

Below are some examples of what can still be seen of the old Grand Rapids, Grand Haven, and Muskegon line.

Left click on the images below for larger versions.


Spring Lake



The satellite images above seem to be winter views, so the tracks show up as brown lines, which one can discern in places where the land has not been altered too much. The line from Grand Rapids to Kalamazoo could be still viewed in this way essentially in year 2000. The track on the Grand Rapids end, in and around the river, has been almost totally obliterated in year 2012. One can follow the line somewhat today yet because of the Consumers Power transmission lines.