SMITH'S CREEK, MI
Smith's Creek, Michigan depot; May 2005
||Smith's Creek is about 10 miles southwest of Port Huron.
The tracks were built in 1859 by the Chicago, Detroit and Canada Grand Trunk
Junction Rail Road Company. In 1928 the route was officially merged into
the Grand Trunk Western.
|The Smith's Creek depot was built in 1858, while the
tracks were still being built. Its rounded windows are typical of the Italianate
style, popular at the time. One end of the depot originally served as living
quarters for the station agent and his family. Smith's Creek is one of the
few surviving depots built before the Civil War.
|In 1859, a 12-year-old Thomas Edison got the job of
"train butcher" or "news butch". He would load up in Port Huron with
magazines, newspapers, snacks, postcards and cigars. These would be sold
on the train and at station platforms along the way. In later years, Edison
set up a printing press in the baggage car to publish his own newspaper,
The Grand Trunk Herald. He also started building and experimenting with things,
also in the baggage car. It is said that Thomas Edison was once thrown off
the train at Smith's Creek after starting the baggage car on fire when a
stick of phosphorous ignited.
|A railroad supervisor found out about Edison's activities,
and he was banned from using the trains for his personal business. He continued
selling papers on station platforms. At the Mt. Clemens station, Edison saved
a young boy who was on the tracks in the path of a moving boxcar. The grateful
father, the station agent there, taught Edison telegraphy. He did work for
a few years as a telegraph operator. The use of electricity and magnetism
was a key to Edison's later innovations. In fact, his first invention was
an automatic repeater, allowing telegraph messages to pass through unmanned
Track Side, Smith's Creek Depot
|Any of the depots along the Detroit-Port Huron line
can claim a connection to Thomas Edison. But Henry Ford picked Smith's Creek
depot, and moved it to Greenfield Village in Dearborn, MI as part of his
tribute to Thomas Edison. The relocated building was dedicated in October
|The Grand Trunk was still in the passenger business,
and needed a depot in Smith's Creek. So a new depot was built. Passenger
service lasted only into the 1950's. In 1974 the second depot was moved to
Armada Ridge Rd, in Richmond, MI where it was used as an antiques store.
Second Smith's Depot, in Richmond, MI