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An Manistique and Lake Superior Timeline

A Manistique and Lake Superior
Timeline and Events


Notes from Pennsylvania RR web site


Abijah Weston - Father of the M&LS - born in Lucerne, Saratoga Co. New York.


Weston and associates, known as the Chicago Lumber Company, acquire several thousand acres of timberlands in central Schoolcraft County.


  • 5/5/1891 - Manistique and Northwestern Railway Company incorporated by Weston and his associates.
  • Original corporation Manistique & Northwestern Railway Company organized under "Act to revise the laws Eto" approved May 1st, 1873 - date of organization April 25, 1891 (Board of Directors notes 1902)


Construction of the Manistique and Northwestern Railway begins; northern terminus reported as Negaunee.


Manistique & Northwestern Railway – 1897 Michigan Railroad Commissioner Reports

  • Chartered April 25, 1891
  • The Manistique & Northwestern Railway Company, was surveyed in 1892-93, Manistique, Michigan, to Negaunee, Michigan (about 90 miles). About 21 miles of grading was done in 1895 and 1896, 11 miles of rail has been laid and ballasting will be done the coming year. The stockholders have advanced the necessary funds for construction expense.
  • Commenced to build road, Sept., 1895
    • South Manistique to Steuben 8-2-1897
    • Steuben to McNeils 12-16-1897
    • Scotts to Singleton 12-31-1898 11.5 miles
  • Rolling stock;
    • One locomotive, 20 to 30 tons
    • One locomotive, 10 to 20 tons
    • Thirty platform cars, thirty logging cars, and three boarding cars


Abijah Weston dies.


Road completed to Shingleton.


Traverse City, Leelanau & Manistique Railroad incorporated by interests associated with the Grand Rapids and Indiana. The line is to run from Northport to Traverse City.

Manistique & Northwestern Railway – 1901 Michigan Railroad Commissioner Reports

This road was constructed for the purpose of handling forest products, but has added a passenger service between Manistique and Singleton, a junction with the Duluth, South Shore & Atlantic Railway. This passenger service consists of a mixed train run daily except Sundays, and is adequate for the traffic presented. The company has improved the line the past year by renewing 500 ties and laying 475 tons of new rail, 60 pounds per yard. This company has now 32 miles of 60 pound, 22 miles of 35-pound, and 8 miles of 40-pound rail. The surface and alignment of track is fair. Considering the schedule time of trains and the traffic, and the light equipment and the general necessities, the road is adequate for the requirements in point of safety. This company owns 199 freight cars, 173 of which are for logging purposes. Company reports that have couplers purchased for same, but cars are not equipped with couplers or air brakes. Their engines and coaches are equipped as required by law. The company has also constructed a new bridge across the Manistique river, 240 feet in length.


  • Continental Improvement Company sells $170,000 of Traverse City Railroad stock to GR&I having disposed of its land grant and other property, it goes out of business.
  • January 1902 - All of the stock in the Manistique and Northwestern Railway is acquired by interests associated with the Grand Rapids and Indiana, which is itself associated with the Pennsylvania Railroad.
  • April 4, 1902 GR&I agrees to operate Traverse City, Leelanau & Manistique Railroad.
  • Manistique, Marquette and Northern Railroad Company is incorporated to acquire all of the assets of the Manistique and Northwestern Railway for $1.5 million.
  • 12/1902 - Manistique and Northwestern Railway launches the railroad car ferry
    Manistique Marquette and Northern No. 1 to operate between Manistique and Northport, Michigan.
  • Below is retyped article from ‘The New York Times’ Jan. 18, 1902
    Manistique and Northeastern Road to be reorganized with Capital of $2,000,000.
    , Mich., Jan. 17. – The entire capital stock of the Manistique and Northeastern Railroad has been purchased by Daniel W. Kaufman of Marquette, Mich., and P. R. Metheany, Secretary of the Grand Rapids and Indiana Railroad.  The company will be reorganized under the title of the Manistique, Marquette and Northern Railroad, with a capitalization of $2,000,000.
  • It is believed that the Pennsylvania Railroad is behind the project, and that it is reaching out for the iron ore regions of Northern Michigan through the Grand Rapids and Indiana, which it already owns and controls.  The Manistique and Northern runs north from Manistique to Shingleton, a distance of forty miles, where it connects with Duluth, South Shore and Atlantic.


June 28, 1903 - Traverse City, Leelanaw & Manistique Railroad opens between Northport and Hatch's Crossing, Mich., with trackage rights over Manistee & Northeastern between Hatch's Crossing and Traverse City; controlled and operated by GR&I without agreement; soon after establish car ferry across Lake Michigan between Northport and Manistique; unsuccessful and withdrawn later in year. (opens for revenue passenger service 7/1/1903 with through car from Northland Limited - timetable)

Board of Directors meeting Aug. 6, 1903
TC, L & M RR

Whereas, it is diemed desireable by this company to negotrate contract for, or construct and build at Northport and Manistique such docks, slip, racks and approaches as may be necessary for transacting the business of this company, therfore be it.

Resolved, that R.R. Westbeauy, President and D.W. Kanfinau, Vice-President,are hereby authorized on behalf of this company, to contract for, negotiate or construct and build such docks, slip, track and approaches upon the property of this company at Northport and Manistiqueas may be necessary to transact the business of the company, with full power and authority to pay for same out of the funds of this company.

Whereas this company has negotiated with the Traverse City Leelauan & Manistique Railroad company a railroad corporation organized and existing under and in purevause of the laws of the state of Micigan, for a ninety nine (99) year lease of certain property situate in the township of Leelauan, county of Leelanau and the State of Michigan, purchase by the Traverse City Leelanauand Manistique Railroad company from Arthur W Leslie and Hannah A. Leslie his wife  bearing date January 27, 1902, and recorded in The Register of Deeds office in the county of Leelanau and State of Michigan, on the 17th day of October A.R. 1902, in liber 27 of deeds on pages 411 and 412, therefore be it -

Resolved that this company accept said leave and hereby authorizes its President and Secretary to accept said lease on behalf of this company accordingly.

Whereas, the Traverse City Leelanau and Manistique Railroad Company, a railroad corporation organized and existing under and in pursuance of the laws of the State of Michigan, desires to enter into a contact with this company agreeing that it will not engage in carrying on a car ferry and transfer business by water and will not make or enter into any contract with any person, firm or corporation for or in relation to the transportation or transfer of freight or passengers by water without the consent of this company, and it being desired for the best interest of this company to accept said offer and enter into such contract, therefore be it.

Whereas, the Traverse City Leelanau and Manistique Railroad Company desires this company to construct certain tracks, side tracks and switches connecting the tracks of that company with the docks of this company at Northport and offer and agrees to pay the cost and expense of sameon its right of way  to connections with this company's dock tracks, and to perpetually maintain said tracks connections and also maintain the dock tracks and connections of the Manistique, Marquette and Northern Railroad Company, with the understanding that said docks tracks and tracks connections on the property of this company remins the sole property of said Manistique, Marquette and Northern Railroad Company therefore be it.

Whereas, this company has negotiated with the Traverse City Leeleanau and Manistique Railroad Company for a right of way and easement whch it has over, across and upon Thrid Street (extended) in the platted village of Northport, in the township of Leelanau, Leelanua county and state of Michigan, extending from Water Street easternly to Grand Traverse Bay in said bounty, therefore be it.

Resolved that the President and Secretay of this company are hereby authorized and direct to accept and assignment and transfer of said rights and easement.

  • In September (1903) a ferry landing and valuable track privileges were acquired at Manistique, Michigan; by this means your property has secured two additional railroad connections; access to the several iron oar producing districts of the Northern Peninsular and a profitable local business to and from that city. The harbor will – when improved – be as accessible for winter navigation as any on Lake Michigan. [Ann Arbor RR Annual report 1902 pg 6]


  • Manistique, Marquette and Northern Railroad Company awarded a contract to carry mail.
  • 5/17/1904 - Manistique and Northwestern Railway, now bankrupt, is leased by the Pere Marquette Railroad.

  • THE PERE MARQUETTE RAILROAD COMPANY 1904 Prince Administration
    Paul Wesley Ivey, Ph. D.
    Futher expansion was attempted in 1904, this time in Northern Michigan, which resulted in a loss for the Pere Marquette.  The owners of the stock of a railroad known as the Manistique, Marquette and Northern, extending 45 miles between Duluth, Shore and Atlantic Railway, and Manistique on Lake Michigan, were anxious to sell their control of this line for a limited time, together with the option for the purchase of the stock for $75,000, subject to the outstanding bonds against the property.  The Pere Marquette took over the property under these conditions for a year but the operation on the road proved to be a losing proposition, the Pere Marquette Railroad sustaining a loss during this time of approximately $21,000.  The option, therefore, was not exercised, so the property went back to the former owners.
    • Note: The Pere Marquette Railway ran the car ferry all the way down to Ludington instead of going to Northport, which would have reduced that cost, which they could have received the cars transfer at Hatch's Crossing or Traverse City. [HFB]


  • 1905 Northport-Manistique, Mich., car ferry revived.
  • 9/1905 - The Pere Marquette Railroad itself is now bankrupt; the Manistique, Marquette and Northern Railroad is sold at a mortgage sale to the Union Trust Company, of Detroit, Michigan.


April 17, 1907 Traverse City, Leelanau & Manistique Railroad sold at foreclosure to Union Trust Company of Detroit.

The car ferry routes of the Manistique, Marquette and Northern Railroad

and of the Ann Arbor Railway Company in November of 1907.


  • 1/17/1908 Manistique and Northern Railroad Company is incorporated to acquire the assets of the Manistique, Marquette and Northern Railroad.
  • 9/19/1908 Traverse City, Leelanau & Manistique Railway incorporated as reorganization of TCL&M Railroad.
  • Northport-Manistique, Mich., car ferry discontinued.
  • 10/5/1908 The railroad car ferry Manistique, Marquette and Northern Railroad No. 1 is sold to the Grand Trunk Milwaukee Car Ferry Company and renamed Milwaukee.
  • 7/31/1909

    Manistique and Lake Superior Railroad Company is incorporated to acquire the assets of the Manistique, Marquette and Northern Railroad from the Union Trust Company and the Ann Arbor Railroad Company for $1.00.


    Michigan Railroad Commission Inpection MANISTIQUE & LAKE SUPERIOR RAILROAD

    An inspection of this property was made August 31st.  The line extends from Manistique where it connects with the Minneapolis, St Paul & Sault Ste. Marie Railway to Shingleton, a junction point of the Duluth, South, South Shore & Atlantic Railway.
    The business of this road is principally the handling of forest products.
    The track and roadbed is in poor condition, needing a great many ties, ballast and surfacing.  Six thousand four hundred ties put in during the present year., but as many more should be put in.  They have 37 mile miles of main line track and 39 miles of sidings and logging spurs.  Their equipment consists of 5 locomotive, not in very good condition; 2 coaches which need overhauling and painting; 2 cabooses, which need overhauling and painting; 3 old box cars; 45 flat cars, in fair condition; 170 Russell Logging Cars, in fair condition.
    Trains which are equipped as required by law are moved by telephone with written order system.
    A mixed train is proved for the accommodation of the public which appears to be satisfactory.
    The rail is in many places battered at joints and should be renewed.
    No fences to speak of; 32 bridges and culverts is fair condition.
    Frogs and switches blocked.
    This road needs a general overhauling but there does not appear to be sufficient revenue from its earnings to make necessary improvements.


    The Ann Arbor Railroad buys the Manistique and Lake Superior Railroad.

    Sept. 19, 1916

    Railroad Commissioners approved promissory note to purchase 50 flat cars from General Equipment Company, for $21,250.00.  Note for $15,937.50 to bear 6% interest for two years, $5,312.50 cash down payment.


    This property was inspected August 16th, 1916.  The main line of this property extends from Shingleton, a connection with the Duluth, South Shore & Atlantic Railway, to Manistique with branch lines which extend to forest terminals that are used for transportation of forest products.  There are no stations on this road except at Manistique and Shingleton.  A mixed train is provided for the accommodation of the traveling public which seems to be ample for the traffic presented.  The equipment is as required by law as is fairly well maintained.  The rail in the track is 60 and 65 pound and in fair condition.  13,600 ties were renewed this season.  Eighty rods of fence built this year.  Bridge structures satisfactory for the traffic presented.  One bridge rebuilt this season.  Weeds on right of way not cut.  Considerable ballast has been placed in the track during the season.  This property showed a decided improvement since the last inspection.


    Manistique and Lake Superior Railroad operated by the USRA.

    March 10, 1919

    Public Utilities Commission Authorizing the Manistique and LakeSuperior Railroad Company to cross the Manistique Pulp & Paper Company's private track.

    [AFE = Authorization For Expense]

    Shows income for Milk transportation – AFE 88 new wood spur to Berry Chemical Company plant – AFE 51 40 flat cars – AFE 80 Water tank at Manistique – AFE 82 Vertical boiler Manistique – AFE 83 Flue ratter Manistique – AFE 84 extending tracks 2 & 3 at Manistique – AFE 85 Relaying rail MP 15 – 18 AFE 86 Retirement of pulpwood spur, Manistique – AFE 87 Retirement of Manistique L. & P. siding Manistique


    Retire pulpwood spur, Manistique – Manistique L&P Company siding – AFE 90 retirement McNeil branch – extending tracks 2 & 3 at Manistique – purchase motor car & hand car – AFE 99 extend Manistique River Bridge - AFE 89 applying creep checks


    AFE 91 purchase Roadway, Motor and Push cars – AFE 92 purchase (1) Burroughs Adding Machine – AFE 93 Purchase dock property Manistique – AFE 94 retirement planner and wheel press – AFE 95 building 240 rods of wire fence – AFE 96 purchase wheel press 8’ ram with pulleys – AFE 97 purchase one gasoline engine – AFE 98 purchase one planer – AFE 100 replacing 60# steel with 70# relayer Mile Post 9 - 11


    AFE 101 purchased locomotive No. 7 $6218.93 – AFE 102 Purchase billing machine – AFE 103 purchase concert mixer - AFE 104 purchase steam shovel $1,600.00 – AFE 107 built machine shop – AFE 105 retire old machine shop – AFE 106 retire shop machinery – AFE 108 build car shop - AFE 109 build oil house - AFE 110 retire caboose No. 1 – AFE replacing 3 miles of 60# rail with 70# rail mile post 15 to 18


    Wabash Railroad acquires the Ann Arbor Railroad.
    AFE 112 build one track for yard – AFE 113 purchase install shop machinery – AFE 114 retire flat cars 435 & 509 – AFE 115 purchase 40 acres land (Manistique) – AFE 116 purchase and install shop machinery 


    Miscellaneous physical property report – rail and track material

    • Manistique Pulp and Paper Company – Bridge
    • Hanneman Bros. - Spur track
    • City Fuel Company - Spur track
    • Schimkatt Cutley Company - Spur track
    • Napoleon Boudah - Spur track
    • A. M. Chesbrough - Spur track
    • Northwestern Cooperage Company - Spur track
    • John Stankovich & August Carlson - Spur track
    • Guy H. Burrell - Spur track
    • C. E. Burrell - Spur track
    • C. E. Clement - Spur track
    • Oscar Anderson (listed twice)- Spur track
    • Odell and Aldrich - Spur track
    • Carl Christensen - Spur track

    [The above list is believed to be list of customers that railroad owned the spur track.]


    The car ferry Milwaukee, ex Manistique, Marquette and Northern Railroad No. 1 founders off Milwaukee, Wisconsin 10/22/1929.
    Miscellaneous physical property report – rail and track material

    • Byers - Spur track
    • C.E. Clement & Son - Spur track
    • Brown Lumber Company - Spur track

    [The above list is believed to be list of customers that railroad owned the spur track.  This in addition to the ones listed in 1926.]

    1932 - 1935

    Change in reporting to ICC by ICC


    Ann Arbor Railroad Bankruptcy Dockett 358/359 7-17-1939
    Authorized to sell loco #2140 to M&LS RR for $59,888.


    Passenger operations on the Manistique and Lake Superior Railroad ended.


    Retire 5 M&LS flat cars [AA RR AFE item]


    Retired snow spreader, flat car – 7 shop machine – replaced shop steam engine with electric motor 30 HP
    Own 3 locos – 2 box – 8 flat cars – caboose 1 – M of W 0


    Retire M&LS derrick 3178 [AA RR AFE item]


    Retire M&LS snow spreader 4502 [AA RR AFE item]


    Retire M&LS flat car 25009 [AA RR AFE item]


    A fire of undetermined origin on September 12, 1952, completely destroyed the roundhouse, sand house, material room, two steam locomotives, shop machinery, and other minor facilities with a ledger value of $21,722.00 and depreciated value of $6,320.00.  The insurance recovered from this destroyed property amounted to $9,700.00

    On February 21, 1952, the board of directors authorized the purchase of one 660 h.p. diesel switching locomotive for use in road service, at a cost of $83,194.15, and on November 14, 1952, authorized expenditures of $4,413.00 covering the cost of constructing diesel fueling M52, and resulted in complete dieselization of all operations.

    Retirement of 3 steam locos and one flat car


    Retire M&LS engine 2380 [AA RR AFE item]


    Purchase 660 HP diesel for M&LS RR [AA RR AFE item]


    Purchase diesel machinist tool set for M&LS [AA RR AFE item]


    Retire M&LS flat car 25017 [AA RR AFE item]


    Retire machine and tool account fire M&LS (steam) [AA RR AFE item]


    Retire M&LS locomotives 2370 and 2390 [AA RR AFE item]


    Purchased one snow plow $630.00 – retire one flat car


    Retire M&LS flat car 25024 [AA RR AFE item]


    Purchase one steel snowplow for M&LS [AA RR AFE item]


    Retire two story freight house and office building and construct new one story office building and freight house, Manistique, Michigan


    Constructed steel building for use as diesel shop, store room, and locker room, Manistique, Michigan


    Retire and sell AA caboose 2830 to M&LS RR Co. renumber M&LS completed 9-22-50 [AA RR AFE item]


    • Retire and sell AA caboose 2830 to M&LS RR Co. renumber M&LS completed 9-22-1959
    • M&LS purchase one second hand steel caboose from AA RR retire & dismantle caboose M&LS No. 7 [AA RR AFE item]


    Replacement of pile trestle with 48 inch corrugated metal pipe and fill at Steuben, Michigan – retirement and dismantlement of wooden caboose No. 7 and the purchase of a second-hand all steel Caboose from the Ann Arbor Railroad Company


    Duluth South Shore and Atlantic and the old Soo Line merge, ending the Manistique and Lake Superior Railroad's bridge function.


    Retire M&LS freight car; 51, 52, 25001, 25006, 25012, 25014, 25018, 25023 completed 12-27-1961 [AA RR AFE item]


    Wabash sells the Ann Arbor to the Detroit, Toledo and Ironton Railroad.


    Poor's Manual of Railroads, 1910, p. 841 states: "Manistique and Lake Superior RR . . . Chartered in July 1909 as successor to Manistique and Northern RR Co. . . . whose property was purchased as of August 1, 1909, by the Manistique and Lake Superior R.R. Co."
    The Manistique Pioneer-Tribune on p. 1 of their June 20th, 1968 issue reported that the AA had petitioned the ICC in early 1967 to discontinue the car ferry operation from Manistique (and Menominee). Hearing were heard for two days in November of 1967 in Manistique.  The M&LS joined the effort to abandon the car ferry.  "(t) Manistique (M&LS) petition was granted and on July 17, 1968, the DT&I informed the Manistique city manager that the railroad and the ferry would cease operations at 12:01 A.M. on July 18.  Note. this applied to both the car ferry operation and the railroad.
    Some confusion exists due to the fact that the scrapping train was operated in pulling up rails after July 18, and Craig Wilson has car ferry manifests which show movements from Manistique after July 18 but only to bring down to Frankfort cars and the locomotive.

    Manistique and Lake Superior Railroad and Ann Arbor car ferry operations from Manistique cease.