Manistee’s Big Four Railroads: Manistee & Grand Rapids

by: Mark Fedder

Shortly after the Manistee and Northeastern Railroad began service, another branch line into the city was put into place. This new railroad, called The Manistee & Grand Rapids was incorporated by a group of local stockholders, who all had interests in the lumber industry: John Canfield, E.G. Filer, James Dempsey, R.R. Blacker, Louis Sands, E.N. Salling, T.J. Ramsdell, A.E. Cartier, Charles Canfield, Frank Canfield, and Henry W. Marsh.

Construction of the line began in Manistee and eventually found its way winding south through Filer City where it crossed into Mason County and later Lake County. Much like the Manistee & Northeastern Railroad, the Manistee and Grand Rapids was initially used to haul logs and freight but later switched to a passenger service.

depot

After the corporation failed, an outside organization bought all the assets and formed a new line, called The Michigan East and West Railroad in 1913. A short time later the East and West constructed an extravagant depot located on Water Street. However soon after World War I, the company failed and all of their assets were taken over by the Pere Marquette Railroad which liquidated the operation.

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