Any photos not otherwise credited are from the personal collection of Frank Passic, Albion Historian.
Morning Star, June 17, 2007, pg. 14
Our new River Walk takes its travelers to places that people have not seen for many years. One place the Walk goes through is the location of the old-Interurban trestle. Albion once had overhead-wire electric powered streetcars which ran on rails that went down the middle of Superior, Cass & Erie Sts., and Austin Avenue. For the Interurban tracks to go across the Kalamazoo River, the Michigan Central, and Lake Shore & Michigan Southern Railroad tracks however, a large overhead trestle was constructed in 1902.
The original name of the company was the Jackson-Battle Creek Traction Company. In 1905 it became the Michigan United Railways. The system was called the Interurban because the system ran between cities and made numerous stops along the way. It was a convenient method of transportation in those days.
The trestle began at the intersection of Ann and Michigan Sts. On the south side of Michigan St. just several feet from the street sign you can still see a cement foundation remaining where the trestle began. Take a look there yourself. The steel beams were elevated by wooden pillars to a height of approximately 24 feet over the aforementioned railroad tracks. The trestle was 35 feet high at its greatest elevation. It ended on the hill just south of W. Chestnut St. at the end of Williams St. The tracks then continued northwards to just west of Bilickes, where they turned westward onto Austin Avenue.
According to a report at the time, the trestle was 700 feet long. The longest span was 135 feet, and 154 tons of steel were used in its construction. The contractor was the American Steel and Bridge company, who sent a crew down here from Sault Ste. Marie where their workers had been building bridges over the locks.
After interurban service ended in 1929, the trestle was allowed to remain standing, even after the rails were removed through town in 1931. Students often used it as a walking “short-cut” to school. The interurban trestle was torn down at 10:30 a.m. on February 10, 1941 by the Michigan Central Railroad. Railroad crews (more than 30 men were involved in the operation) fastened a cable onto the trestle and pulled it down eastwards. They used a locomotive to do the pulling, and the trestle fell on piles of railroad ties that had been strategically placed so as not to damage the working tracks below. Crews then used torches to cut the trestle into pieces. The main line was cleared for use by noon that day.
From our Historical Notebook this week we present a 1914 photograph showing an electric Interurban car traveling across the trestle. The view looks north. How many of our readers can remember this trestle?
Interurban Trestle Bridge, 1914
Next: TERRITORIAL ROAD
All text copyright, 2016 © all rights reserved Frank Passic