I like to look at old maps and sometimes when I do, I notice things that may not be so common. For example, I noticed “Reed’s Station” on a 1914 Kosciusko County Atlas. It was shown in Wayne Township, south of Warsaw along what was then the Big Four Railroad (since then it has been renamed New York Central and later Norfolk Southern, what it is now). More specifically, the location would have been east of what is now State Road 15 along what is now County Road 350 South. It is my understanding from what I have learned about the history of railroads, sometimes a “station” did not actually mean a train stop. It could have been just a track siding or maybe there was a small structure or building of some type. And there may not necessarily have been a railroad worker stationed there. Also, Reed’s Station may have been named after a railroad employee or a train engineer. I’m not really sure what kind of railroad operation there may have been at Reed’s Station. As you can see from the photo, there is really no indication any building once existed there such as a foundation or something similar.
Location of Reed’s Station near Warsaw.
Quite a few years ago I was told following the path of the former Winona Interurban Railway between Warsaw and Mentone in Kosciusko County essentially consists of following the path of the electric power poles. Sure enough this photo is proof of that. It was taken from along Shilling Road between Palestine and Mentone. It is located close to the photo I posted just last week. Old maps show the interurban followed an angled route between Warsaw and Mentone. I would guess about a 30 degree angle if you look at the maps, but then again I was never really very good in geometry. There are other remnants of the old electric railway such as what I posted last week. To the best of my knowledge there is also a remnant still in place over Trimble Creek closer to Warsaw. One can imagine the interurban would have been welcomed by those in rural areas who could now get to the county seat in Warsaw quicker to take care of any business or shopping they may have to do. The interurban took us out of the horse and buggy days into more modern transportation.
Route of the Winona Interurban between Warsaw and Mentone.
This week I shift to another interurban railway, this time the Winona Interurban Railway. It stretched from Goshen to Peru before passenger service ceased in 1934 and freight service then continued until 1952. On its route from Warsaw to Mentone in Kosciusko County, the route was angled. When I was in the Palestine area a couple of years ago, I decided to drive on Shilling Road toward Mentone in Harrison Township. I wondered if there would be any interurban remnants. Sure enough, I looked off to my north and saw what is shown in the photo. The interurban line ran over a ditch and there must have been a small bridge of some type. I believe the ditch is still there, though it can’t be seen in the photo. More precisely, this is just east of County Road 900 West on Shilling Road. It looks to be a footing for the old bridge, which obviously is no longer there. Another remnant survives of the old Winona Interurban Railway in Kosciusko County.
Winona Interurban remnant near Mentone.
Last week my post was about a former electrical substation on the Fort Wayne & Wabash Valley Traction Company line. Near this building on McKinley Avenue in Fort Wayne is a former yard and shop building for the same interurban line. Apparently the interurban cars were serviced and stored at this site. Some interurban cars were likely rebuilt too. This interurban line has an interesting history, as do interurban and street railway lines within Fort Wayne. That history dates back a long time, back to when horses pulled the street cars instead of them being powered by electricity. The Fort Wayne & Wabash Valley Traction Company serviced not only Fort Wayne but points to the west and south, such as Huntington County and more. There are remnants of the line still visible today outside of Fort Wayne. The building shown in the photo is now used by a business, or at least it was when I took the photo. It has been added on to since used by the interurban line.
Former interurban yard and shop building in Fort Wayne.
I’ve probably mentioned this before, but one of the most interesting things I read about and study with history is electric interurban lines. Although many of them did not last very long, they were still an important part of transportation history. They connected people even in rural areas with goods and services in towns and cities. And they were surely an improvement over roads that were often impassable. Indiana was a major interurban state and had an extensive network of lines. One of those was the Fort Wayne and Wabash Valley Traction Company. As the name says, it served Fort Wayne and also other areas. Shown is a former electrical substation on the line. It is located at McKinley Avenue and Covington Road in Fort Wayne. Interurban lines had main power stations and also substation buildings along the line for distribution of electricity. A few of the substations still stand, but not many. To the best of my knowledge, this particular building is still used as an electric substation. This interurban line served Huntington among other towns and cities.
Former substation for an interurban line in Fort Wayne.
Another stop on the Goshen Historical Society walking tour last summer featured this Queen Anne style house on Fifth Street close to the downtown area. It was built in 1885 by J.M. Dale, a wealthy dry goods dealer. Obviously the size of the house would indicate Dale was a man of wealth. Note the many dormers and the octagonal tower along with the slate and copper roof. It stands out as a historical house, one of many still standing in Goshen. There was some craftsmanship involved in the construction of this home. A kind more common then, but not so common now. It is also believed this was the first home wired for electricity in Goshen. If that is true, one can imagine the excitement of those living there at the time. A descendant of Dale, Dorothy Dale Zook, owned the home until recently. It is now owned and was being restored at the time of the tour by the Elkhart Court Clubhouse. It’s good to see someone has found a new use for a historic home instead of it being torn down.
Historic house on Fifth Street in Goshen.
Goshen’s first library was started in the 1890s by a group of young women known as Philomathians. They collected books for their own use but later allowed the public to access their collection. They wanted a permanent library as the number of books grew. They petitioned millionaire Andrew Carnegie for money to build a permanent facility. By 1903 the building was completed and was the first library in Indiana funded by Carnegie, a big name in the steel business. The building is described as French or Beaux Arts style and features Bedford limestone. There is a prominent rotunda inside with stained art glass. As you can tell by the photo, it is still an impressive looking building. The woodwork is oak, there are terrazzo floors, marble counters, tile fire places and mahogany cabinets. In 1968, the library was moved to a location on South Fifth Street. Other businesses used the building including an insurance company, architectural firm and a law office. Since 2000, the building has served as city hall for Goshen and contains the mayor’s office and clerk-treasurer’s office. I was able to see the building as part of the Goshen Historical Society walking tour last summer.
City hall in Goshen was originally a library.
Last week I posted a stop on the Goshen Historical Society walking tour in June 2015 and here is another stop. Shown is a portion of exposed red paving bricks where an alley intersects Washington Street between Second and Third streets in Goshen. Bricks like these were once the surface level of streets in many towns and cities, including Goshen. Brick streets were common in pre-automobile days and even after the automobile came on the scene. Today, of course, asphalt is the common mode of surfacing streets. There are still a few places, though, where bricks are the main surface such as part of Sixth Street in Goshen. One of the streets in Leesburg in Kosciusko County still has bricks. I’m sure there are probably others too. During the walking tour, we were told a large pile of bricks had been dug up during a construction project on Jefferson Street. Some bricks likely remain in many places underneath the asphalt surface. A reminder of the past in Goshen and elsewhere.
Exposed patch of bricks on a street in Goshen.
In June 2015, I was one of several people walking along during a tour offered by the Goshen Historical Society. These types of tours are an excellent way to learn more about local history and to actually see a historic building in person. One of the stops was the old Goshen High School building. It was opened in 1904 to replace a building at Eighth and Madison streets. Located on Fifth Street, it remained the high school until 1923 when the current high school opened on U.S. 33. Limestone of the highest quality found in southern Indiana was used during construction of the building on Fifth Street. The building also served as a junior high school until 1954 when Whiteman Junior High was built. Later it served as a school administration building until 1981 when it was given to the city of Goshen. It is now an annex building for city hall offices. Chicago architects Patton & Miller designed the beautiful building. It is worth noting the top floor of the building once had a gymnasium.
Building served as a high school for about 19 years in Goshen.
Those who like to watch trains in northern Indiana have likely visited Garrett in DeKalb County. There is a rail yard with quite a bit of train activity for the CSX Railroad line. Of course, years ago it was known as the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad. Further proof Garrett is a railroad town is to note the high school’s nickname is the Railroaders. Surviving from the heyday of railroads is the old B & O freight station shown in the photo. I’m not really sure when it was built, but I would guess in the early 1900s, maybe the 1920s. It has the classic freight station look with the wide doors so freight could be unloaded from wagons and whatever else was used to move freight. Today the building serves as a history museum for Garrett. It’s worth going inside to see more of the local history, especially the railroad which was so vital to spurring growth. Sadly, some of this history is being lost as those with a knowledge of it are passing away and, sometimes, their memories die with them. Also near the museum is an area for railfans to sit and watch the trains.
This was once a railroad freight station in Garrett.