GR&I Depot; December, 1998
In 1857 the Grand Rapids and Indiana Railroad had won a land grant to build a railroad from Grand Rapids to Traverse City. By 1869 they had made very little progress and the state ordered the railroad to surrender its charter. Desperate to save their railroad, the Indiana interests behind the GR&I, turned over construction of the line to the Continental Improvements Co., which was controlled by the Pennsylvania Railroad. The Pennsylvania RR had just acquired the Pittsburgh, Fort Wayne and Chicago, and saw the GR&I as a means to extend into Michigan.

The Grand Rapids and Indiana Railroad was built from Fort Wayne,IN through Kalamazoo, to Grand Rapids, MI in 1870. Indiana finally had its rail line into Michigan. It was however, controled by the Pennsylvania, not local interests. The Pennsylvania took the land grants and had a nice feeder to their main line.

The large Italian Revival station in Kalamazoo was built in 1874 replacing an earlier building that burned down. Passenger service ended in 1954. In 1961 the railroad sold the building. In 1963 the building was adapted for use as the Whistle Stop resturant. Work included enclosing the waiting platform for use as the kitchen. For the next 25 years it was Kalamazoo's finest resturant.

The building is presently owned by a local developer who plans on restoring the building for use as offices, apartments, and a banquet hall.

Track Side. Bay window is inside the "kitchen".
As Northern Michigan's lumber boom was winding down, the GR&I was seeking new traffic for its line. On fairly successful approach was promoting Michigan's resorts and fishing. "Where to go Fishing" was issued by the GR&I in 1907. It listed good fishing sites and their distance from GR&I stations along the line.
January 1999
Louis Van Winkle
E-mail questions or comments to louisvw@mc.net

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