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BigRedDog

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I belong to several railroad forums...  I see posts regularly inquiring about the old 'Ottawa Yard' on the Pere Marquette Railroad south of Erie.  The simple answer is some of it is still there!  When I first moved down here to work I would drive the area and could see quite a few of the remaining structures.  I'm sure some have fallen down or been torn down since then but more are likely hidden in the trees and brush that have grown up over 30+ years.

First off, the infamous Pere Marquette is now part of the giant CSX system.  Erie is still Erie but the days of the rail yard were probably the 'glory days' of Erie. 

As you're driving south on Telegraph and pass Erie Road (where the out of area school bus was hit several years ago) you will notice that you have several roads turn off Telegraph to the right (west) in the next three plus miles...    finally at Sterns Road you can go both east and west.

In that stretch just on the east side of the present CSX tracks was the 'Ottawa Yard'.  It was a switching yard and a maintenance yard...  the steam locomotives required lots of regular maintenance even on a daily basis.  There was a huge (100 ft) roundtable to turn the locomotives around.  There were coal and water facilities on a large scale.

There's some interesting history of how this 'yard' appeared out of nowhere and then 30 or so years later disappeared just about as fast it appeared.  This all has to do with railroad bankruptcies and mergers and selloffs and more bankruptcies and more mergers where we're now down to point of only a few 'major' players in the industry!!!

Today the services provided at Erie are now done down about 11 miles south in Walbridge, OH.  At the time they first started working on this yard there was already a smaller yard for the adjacent (competitor) railroad that actually straddled the state line.  That one is 'long gone' and literally buried under the huge landfill that is there now!!!  I'll have to see what I can dig up on that yard.

There is also still a yard that is visible just as you cross into Ohio on I-75 that you can see from the freeway...   a different set of tracks and railroad though.

Just a bit of trivia that I'll have to do a little more checking to figure out the exact time frame...

it was only at about the time this yard was started that there even was a 'Telegraph Road'...   I'd guess there had been a 'trail' of some sort to maintain the telegraph lines for years and with the 'Dusty Dixie' just a half mile to the east in most areas there was probably little need for a 2nd major parallel road.  The original plat for Hillcrest Orchards in La Salle (just south of Leckler's on both sides of Telegraph and the tracks) didn't show Telegraph on the plat.

Here are some links and photos from the 'Pere Marquette' days in Erie!!!

This topo map from 1977 refers to the railroad as the Chesapeake and Ohio (correct for the time).  You can see the water tower clearly marked on Dean Road.



This map from 1899 shows the names of the railroads at that time...   and note there is no Telegraph Road showing on the west side of the tracks:

« Last Edit: June 02, 2015, 08:20:18 AM by BigRedDog »
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BigRedDog

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Re: Pere Marquette Railroad 'Ottawa Yard', Erie, MI
« Reply #1 on: May 15, 2015, 08:33:51 AM »

Well, I hit post before I was ready...

Here's a link to the top map above:

Quote
Below, Pere Marquette's Ottawa Yard, scanned from a USGS map from 1977.  Ottawa Yard was Pere Marquette's freight yard serving Toledo, Ohio, but located just north of the Ohio-Michigan line.  The yard was a semi-hump type with a standing car capacity of 3,589.  Freight pullers operated between the yard and connecting lines in Toledo.  The yard also had an emergency icing station for produce cars and a water treatment plant for locomotive water supply.  Ottawa had a 16-stall roundhouse which was built in 1924 and handled 17 engines daily.  The stalls were 109' long and the turntable was 100' long.  The engine facility also had a 3-chute, 300-ton capacity coal dock which was built in 1923.  There were two track scales, built in 1922, 50' long with beam capacities of 250,000 lbs.  On the north end of the yard (at the very top of this USGS scan, was Erie, Michigan which is where the yard began.  It was controlled by an interlocking plant.  [Information from PM's Operating and Physical Data, 1945 edition].  Following the full integration of the PM into the Chesapeake & Ohio, this hard was removed and operations were transferred to Walbridge, Ohio.


http://www.michiganrailroads.com/RRHX/Stations/CountyStations/MonroeStations/OttawaYard(PM)MI.htm

The 1899 map above is from:  http://www.railfanguides.us/oh/toledo/USGS_1899_Toledo4.jpg
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BigRedDog

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Re: Pere Marquette Railroad 'Ottawa Yard', Erie, MI
« Reply #2 on: May 15, 2015, 08:45:05 AM »

This probably would have been the easiest to remember 'landmark' and it came down in 1962.

From:  https://www.flickr.com/photos/7981815@N05/2873054470/

Quote
May of 1962 C&O Ottawa Yard was coming apart / down. My dad and I went to see the smokestack be brought down.
Very dramatic and there's actually a final shot showing the final product....but for the moment I can't find it. I'm glad we shot this and these haven't been viewed in many years. Still digging around in the archive.

I can't link the photos here so you'll have to go to the above link to see them.

More photos from the same person:

Quote
A photo I took in 1962 as a young budding teen "photographer". This is ERIE Depot
ex-Pere Marquette and in 1962 C&O Depot. It's a fairly rare view as I haven't found too many Erie depot shots anywhere. This is looking south at 1:30p toward Ottawa Yard. US 24 "Bloody Telegraph Rd runs just to the right of the tracks. It is still a very busy RR right of way but alas, not pax service. Indeed; The depot has been gone for several decades. It will live on here. Oh and my dad was Telegraph Operator / Agent here from 1937 until retirement in 1968. I spent MANY a night here with my dad and it is one of many reasons I love RRs, RR lore, trains, passenger trains and just about everything about the industry.

The building is now gone but you can still see the general lay of the tracks like the photo shows:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/7981815@N05/2427026082/in/pool-708986@N20-7981815@N05
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BigRedDog

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Re: Pere Marquette Railroad 'Ottawa Yard', Erie, MI
« Reply #3 on: May 15, 2015, 08:53:02 AM »

A somewhat current (2007) photo looking south at Erie Road:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/7981815@N05/980243194/in/pool-708986@N20-7981815@N05

There were plenty of people in Erie with French and French-Canadian heritage...

not sure if this guy is related to our 'Frenchfry' or not:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/7981815@N05/2446850377/in/pool-708986@N20-7981815@N05

https://www.flickr.com/photos/7981815@N05/2447647088/in/pool-708986@N20-7981815@N05

https://www.flickr.com/photos/7981815@N05/2426266839/in/pool-708986@N20-7981815@N05

Here's some of his photos looking north at the north end of the 'yard'...

some of those buildings in the background are still there.  Some kind of a plastic pellets bagging operation I think:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/7981815@N05/2857953395/in/pool-708986@N20-7981815@N05

https://www.flickr.com/photos/7981815@N05/2857904749/in/pool-708986@N20-7981815@N05
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BigRedDog

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Re: Pere Marquette Railroad 'Ottawa Yard', Erie, MI
« Reply #4 on: May 15, 2015, 09:37:23 AM »

Here's a Google aerial view (you'll have to click on the earth link) centered over Dean road (water tank on the above topo map).  This appears to have been the widest point of the yard.  Somewhere I have a map that shows the locations of some of the buildings and this is close to where the roundhouse was located too.

https://www.google.com/maps/place/Erie,+MI/@41.7635046,-83.5205581,1206m/data=!3m1!1e3!4m2!3m1!1s0x883b7937e933c1d1:0xbdd024ab15fbe7cc!6m1!1e1
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BigRedDog

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Re: Pere Marquette Railroad 'Ottawa Yard', Erie, MI
« Reply #5 on: May 16, 2015, 11:59:04 AM »

Here are some more pictures related to the old "Flint & Pere Marquette" Railroad (original name I believe) and the yard at Erie.  This really doesn't get to but just north of the state line but it lets you see where all the Toledo 'connections' were!



This map shows the Pere Marquette yard about the best I've even seen it:



I was hoping it would show up 'larger'...  I'll figure out how to enlarge the picture...  maybe crop one down to just the rail yard itself and repost!!!

The above is a crop from: 




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BigRedDog

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Re: Michigan's Pere Marquette Railroad and the 'Ottawa Yard', Erie, MI
« Reply #6 on: June 02, 2015, 08:47:07 AM »

Here's a great example of just why it is so hard for historians (real and wannabe) to track (pun intended LOL) the evolution of the early railroads in the US and Michigan. 

We've already looked at how the tracks across Monroe County that parallel Telegraph Rd. (built much later than the railroad) from the state line north to where the tracks pass under Telegraph Rd. near the local Ford Dealership. From there it runs straight north to Carleton and then north toward Flint and beyond.  Today it's part of the 'big boys'...   CSX or 'the Chessie Cat' as some kids like to say!

Anyway, in post Civil War day the 'Flint & Pere Marquette Railroad' was built across Monroe County.  It extended on across Michigan and actually across Lake Michigan on ferry boats.

Anyway, here's an example of the 150 (or so) railroads that were amalgamated (neat word) to form what we now know as the CSX 'system'.  Unfortunately many of these railroads have almost completely disappeared across Michigan.  Many existed for only a short time during the lumber days and others disappeared slowly over the years.

From:  http://xrailfan.com/trains/ply/hist.html#Recent

Quote
1) The Flint & Pere Marquette Railway Company, formed Jan. 22, 1857, 
one of the first of these companies in Michigan with track from East
Saginaw to Mt. Morris. Originating traffic was lumber and salt. By 1874 the
track extended from Monroe on Lake Erie to Ludington on Lake Michigan.
Further expansion extended the system to Port Huron and Bay City and added
numerous spur lines in the Saginaw Valley. The line was built south to
Toledo as well. Today the remains of this system is the CSXT Saginaw
Subdivision.


The above is one of several paragraphs but this one does mention tracks in Monroe area.  I don't want to 'borrow' all the research from this source.  If you're interested in more details of what went on in the north part of Michigan then please go to their page and proceed.

I am going to 'cut and paste' the entire list of companies that went into the Pere Marquette railroad in Michigan.  Again note that the 'Flint and Pere Marquette' is the original trackage across Monroe County although it wasn't the 'first' railroad across the county.

Quote
Outline of the Companies which built the Pere Marquette.

Pere Marquette Railroad Company 1900

       I) Flint & Pere Marquette R.R. Co 1889-1899
        I.a) East Saginaw & St. Clair R.R Co 1872
        I.b) Flint & Pere Marquette R.R. Co 1880-1889
        I.b.1) Flint & Pere Marquette Ry Co 1872-1880
        I.b.1a) Bay City and East Saginaw R.R Co. 1864-1872
        I.b.1b) Flint & Pere Marquette R.R. Co 1868-1872
        I.b.1b.1) Flint & Pere Marquette R.R. Co 1857-1868
        I.b.1b.2) The Flint & Holly R.R. Co. 1863-1868
        I.b.1b.2a) The Flint & Fentonville R.R. Co 1863
        I.b.1c) The Flint River R.R. Co 1871-1872
        I.b.1d) Holly, Wayne & Monroe Ry. Co 1865-1872
        I.b.1e) The Cass River R.R. Co 1871-1872
        I.c) Saginaw & Mount Pleasant R.R. Co 1879-1889
        I.d) Manistee R.R. Co 1880-1889
        I.e) Saginaw & Clare County R.R Co 1877-1889
        I.f)  Port Huron & Northwestern Ry. Co 1882-1889 *
        I.g) The Monroe & Toledo Ry. Co 1893-1897*
       II.) Chicago & West Michigan Ry. Co 1881-1899
        II.a) Chicago & West Michigan Ry. Co 1878-1881
        II.a.1) Chicago & Michigan Lake Shore R.R. Co. 1872-1878
        II.a.1a) Chicago & Michigan Lake Shore R.R. Co. 1871-1872
        II.a.1a.1) Chicago & Michigan Lake Shore R.R. Co. 1870-1871
        II.a.1a.1a) Chicago & Michigan Lake Shore R.R. Co.1869-1870
        II.a.1a.1a.1) Chicago & Michigan Lake Shore R.R. Co. 1869
        II.a.1a.1a.2) Lake Shore R.R. Co of Western Michigan 1869
        II.a.1a.1b) The Grand Rapids & Lake Shore R.R. Co. 1869-1870
        II.a.1a.2) The Montague, Pentwater & Manistee R.R. Co 1871
        II.a.1a.3) The Grand Rapids & Holland R.R. Co 1871
        II.a.1b) Muskegon & Big Rapids R.R. Co 1871-1872
        II.b) Indiana & Michigan R.R.Co 1881
        II.c) Grand Rapids, Newaygo & Lake Shore R.R. Co 1869-1881
        II.d) Grand Haven R.R. Co 1878-1881
        II.d.1) Michigan Lake Shore R.R. Co 1869-1878
        II.d.1a) Michigan Lake Shore R.R. Co 1869
        II.d.1b) Allegan & Holland R.R. Co 1868-1869
        II.d.1c) The Muskegon & Ferrysburg R.R. Co 1869
        II.e) White River R.R. Co. 1879-1884
        II.f)  Chicago & North Michigan R.R. Co 1879-1899
      III.) Detroit, Grand Rapids & Western R.R. Co 1896-1899
        III.a) Saginaw and Grand Rapids R.R. Co 1878-1896
        III.b) Saginaw Valley & St. Louis R.R. Co 1871-1896
        III.c) Detroit,Lansing and Northern R.R. Co 1876-1896
        III.c.1) Detroit,Lansing and Lake Michigan R.R. Co 1872-1876
        III.c.1a) The Ionia, Stanton & Northern R.R. Co 1872
        III.c.1b) The Detroit,Lansing & Lake Michigan R.R. Co 1871-1872
        III.c.1b.1) The Ionia & Lansing R.R. Co 1866-1871
        III.c.1b.2) Detroit, Howell & Lansing R.R.Co 1870-1871
        III.c.1b.2a) The Detroit & Howell R.R. Co 1864-1870
        III.c.1b.2b) Howell &Lansing R.R. Co 1868-1870
        III.d) Grand Rapids, Lansing and Detroit 1887-1896
        III.e) The Saginaw & Western R.R. Co 1883-1896
        III.e.1) The Chicago, Saginaw & Canada R.R. Co 1873-1883
      IV.) The Muskegon Lake R.R. Co. 1879-1900
      V.) South Haven & Eastern R.R. Co 1894-1903
        V.a) Toledo & South Haven 1886-1894
        V.a.1) Paw Paw R.R. Co 1857-1886
        V.a.2) The Lake Michigan Division of the Toledo & South Haven R.R. 1884-1886
        V.a.3) Van Buren Division of the Toledo & South Haven R.R.1876-1886
      VI.)  Sanilac R.R. Co. 1901-1903
      VII.) Bay City Belt Line R.R. Co. 1889-1903
      VIII) Saginaw, Tuscola & Huron R.R. Co 1881-1903
      IX.) Milwakee, Benton Harbor & Columbus Ry. Co 1897-1903
        IX.a) Benton Harbor & South Eastern Ry. Co 1893-1897
        IX.b) St. Joseph Valley Ry. Co 1889-1897
        IX.b.1) St. Joseph Valley R.R. Co 1884-1889
        IX.b.1a) St. Joseph Valley R.R. Co 1880-1884
        IX.b.1b) South Bend & St. Joseph  Ry. Co 1884
      X.) The Benton Harbor, Coloma &Paw Paw Lake Train Ry. Co 1895-1903
      XI.) Grand Rapids, Belding and Saginaw R.R. Co. 1898-1903
       XI.a) Lowell & Hastings R.R. Co 1887-1899
       XI.a.1) Hastings, Lowell & Northern Michigan R.R. Co 1883-1887
       XI.a.1.a) Kalamazoo, Lowell & Northern Michigan R.R. Co 1871-1883
      XII.) Harbor Beach & Port Hope R.R. Co. 1880-1889
        I.e) Saginaw & Clare County R.R Co 1877-1889
        I.f) Port Huron & Northwestern Ry. Co 1882-1889 *

« Last Edit: June 03, 2015, 08:57:36 AM by BigRedDog »
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BigRedDog

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Re: Michigan's Pere Marquette Railroad and the 'Ottawa Yard', Erie, MI
« Reply #7 on: June 02, 2015, 08:53:35 AM »

This map shows many of the larger lines (at least at the time the map was drawn in 1946) across Michigan.  You can see how the Monroe County tracks linked through Toledo to the east coast (that's where the money was)!

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BigRedDog

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Re: Michigan's Pere Marquette Railroad and the 'Ottawa Yard', Erie, MI
« Reply #8 on: June 02, 2015, 09:30:47 AM »

I can't find a date on this map...   newer than the one above I'd think.



From the website:  http://www.american-rails.com/pere-marquette-railway.html

Here's something for SCF from the same page...

something else you can't do with a diesel electric locomotive...

use it to 'power wash' the dock:

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Professor H

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Re: Michigan's Pere Marquette Railroad and the 'Ottawa Yard', Erie, MI
« Reply #9 on: June 02, 2015, 09:20:30 PM »

Interesting thread BRD - My Grandfather would have loved it and probably been able to assist... 
He was a train "buff" and my childhood memories with him consist of train rides every year on that run - when they did have a passenger train (other than amtrak which most only know).   The C&O and B&O lines   Chesapeake and Ohio  and Baltimore and Ohio  (now CSX)...    we would do a Christmas excursion from Toledo to Detroit  - and visit JL Hudson - and back.   
He even took me an my sister to the east coast - a several day trip - in a pullman car...   with the porters and conductors and pullman...    I can remember having to get the tickets punched. 

There actually was a station in Monroe that they would sometimes stop at.   
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BigRedDog

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Re: Michigan's Pere Marquette Railroad and the 'Ottawa Yard', Erie, MI
« Reply #10 on: June 03, 2015, 08:46:02 AM »

Interesting thread BRD - My Grandfather would have loved it and probably been able to assist... 
He was a train "buff" and my childhood memories with him consist of train rides every year on that run - when they did have a passenger train (other than amtrak which most only know).   The C&O and B&O lines   Chesapeake and Ohio  and Baltimore and Ohio  (now CSX)...    we would do a Christmas excursion from Toledo to Detroit  - and visit JL Hudson - and back.   
He even took me an my sister to the east coast - a several day trip - in a pullman car...   with the porters and conductors and pullman...    I can remember having to get the tickets punched. 

There actually was a station in Monroe that they would sometimes stop at.   

He had probably forgotten more than I'll ever 'discover'... 

I have to get out and get to a few of the libraries and museums that have some 'printed' material that just isn't online.  What a neat trip that must have been to the east coast.

Interesting that he would put the effort into driving you to Toledo...  unless you lived closer back then it was just about as close to go direct to Hudson's...  but he was building memories on more than one level ;) ;) ;)

I've dug out a couple of the old aerial maps from the late 40s and early 50s.  It appears there was a station on the CSX line just south of Front street.  I started exploring Monroe in '83 and really don't remember it...  but at the time it wasn't what I was focused on either!!!
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BigRedDog

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Re: Michigan's Pere Marquette Railroad and the 'Ottawa Yard', Erie, MI
« Reply #11 on: June 03, 2015, 09:02:57 AM »

I went back to my long list above of the rail companies that became part of the Pere Marquette 'system'...

two had 'Monroe' in their names although there certainly could have been others that were involved locally. 

Here's some stock from one of them...   I wonder if there are any of these old certificates still around Monroe?

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Re: Michigan's Pere Marquette Railroad and the 'Ottawa Yard', Erie, MI
« Reply #12 on: June 03, 2015, 09:08:33 AM »

This map from  http://www.pmhistsoc.org/curpmmap.shtml

shows the current use of the prior Pere Marquette lines:



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Re: Michigan's Pere Marquette Railroad and the 'Ottawa Yard', Erie, MI
« Reply #13 on: June 03, 2015, 09:11:56 AM »

Another great source with a full historical rundown on the history of the Pere Marquette:

http://www.r2parks.net/pm.html
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Re: Michigan's Pere Marquette Railroad and the 'Ottawa Yard', Erie, MI
« Reply #14 on: December 28, 2017, 10:14:33 AM »

There's no sound but some decent 1940s 'movie camera' footage of the Pere Marquette Rail Yard at Erie, MI.

You can still see a few of the structures and from an aerial you can still find the location of the round house.

Pere Marquette Railroad footage from 1940's
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