A former church building in South Whitley is now known as the Schultz Ministry Center. It is located on Mulberry Street, just off State Street (State Road 5). This was originally the South Whitley Church of the Brethren. A congregation formed in 1913 and met on the second floor of a nearby building. Then in 1920 the mission board purchased the property for a church building. Work on the new building began in 1922 and it was completed and dedicated in December 1923. Otho Winger preached the dedicatory sermon. For about nine years, the church went without a full-time pastor until the Rev. Mark Cripe was hired in 1932. In 2001 the nearby First Baptist Church of South Whitley purchased the old church building after it no longer served as a church. Now it is a Whitko Youth Center in partnership with the Whitley County Community Foundation and the Whitley County Family YMCA. They also work with the school system. I’m not sure when it ceased being an active church but obviously it was at least 2001, if not earlier. Thanks to the South Whitley Public Library for providing this information.
Former South Whitley Church of the Brethren.
There are a few places where the former route of the Winona Interurban Railway can be found by following the electric poles. Here is one example. Off County Road 300 South, east of State Road 19 and south of Akron just look at the poles and you will see the route the Winona took. Akron was one of several small towns the Winona came through. Between Goshen and Peru, travelers could board the railway powered by electricity in several locations. I’ve posted several remnants of the Winona and find it remarkable they still exist. So many things can alter the landscape through the years. But even after all this time, traces of the Winona can still be found. Another example of following the electric poles is between Warsaw and Mentone. The Winona ran at an angle between the two towns and cut through the countryside. Passenger service ceased on the railway in 1934 and then freight was carried on part of the line until 1952. Although the railway had a relatively short span of life, it still changed the way people traveled. And that’s an important part of our transportation history.
Route of the former Winona Interurban Railway near Akron.
When it comes to historic buildings, there are still quite a few of the old one-room schoolhouse buildings standing. A few of them have been converted to houses. Shown in the photo is one that may be used as a house now, though I’m not sure. It is on County Road 900 East in Kosciusko County, east of Pierceton and just north of U.S. Highway 30. It was once known as the Trump School in District 13 of Washington Township. Another name for the school was the Railroad School and also Galbreath School. The old Pennsylvania Railroad owned the tracks just south of the school when Highway 30 would not have been there. Yellowstone Conservation Club purchased the property in 1938 and used the building. A story is told in the book published a couple of years ago by the Kosciusko County Historical Society Library about one-room schoolhouses concerning a teacher named Bertha Eddy who taught at the school. She rode to school on a little hand-pump car owned by the Pennsylvania Railroad. I’ll post more about these old schoolhouses in the weeks coming.
Former one-room schoolhouse in Washington Township, Kosciusko County
Here’s another remnant photo of the Winona Interurban Railway, an electric railway once stretching from Goshen to Peru. On that route it came through Miami County, the county where it would eventually end its route. This photo is along State Road 19 in Miami County, just south of the Fulton County line. The railway paralleled SR 19 about where you see the power poles. This does have the appearance, too, of a former railroad right of way. A few weeks ago I posted something about the retaining wall still in place. This photo was taken a few hundred feet south of the retaining wall. The route of the Winona continued to follow SR 19 for a while and then eventually cut off and went through rural areas along county roads. The Winona Interurban Railway stopped carrying passengers in 1934, but continued to carry freight on part of the route until the 1950s. As a reminder, interurban railways were often the victim of poor timing due to the coming of the automobile, the Great Depression and, sometimes quite honestly poor management.
Path of the former Winona Interurban Railway in Miami County.
Many likely have memories of the old Wabash Railroad. Several miles of track were once located in northern Indiana for the Wabash. On its east-west route across northern Indiana, it came through Elkhart County. In the small town of New Paris in southern Elkhart County it intersected with the Winona Interurban Railway. Also in New Paris, just to the west of the intersection the railroad went underneath State Road 15. At that time there was an overpass for SR 15 in New Paris. When the Wabash Railroad removed its tracks in the 1970s or early 1980s the overpass was eventually removed, though you can still tell it was there. I took the photo looking to the west from the shoulder of SR 15. The railroad basically followed the tree line. Note the pole seen in the photo. It is also a reminder of the old railway and something like this could have been used as a telegraph system to relay messages. There are other remnants of the Wabash Railroad which I have posted at one time or another. I may find even more somewhere else eventually. It was a well known railroad line.
Trace of Wabash Railroad in New Paris.
And this week I share yet another remnant of the former Winona Interurban Railway. This one is in Miami County on the south side of County Road 400 North, about one-half mile east of State Road 19 and north of Peru. It was the former Brownell Substation for the Winona Railway. As I mentioned in previous posts, an electric substation was part of the power grid system for the railway. When you stop and think of how many trips the interurban cars made every single day back and forth between Goshen and Peru, you can imagine how much electricity was probably used. Substations were needed to evenly distribute the power as much as possible. There were several substations along the route and remains of a few are visible yet today, more than 80 years after passengers were no longer carried on the route. It appears the former Brownell Substation is a building used by a farmer for storage of some type. Not all of the building remains it appears from the photo. It’s remarkable there are still visible remnants of the electric railway so many years after it was used.
Former Brownell Substation north of Peru.
Here is another photo taken on a trip about two years ago tracing the route of the Winona Interurban Railway, an electric railway, from Mentone to the south. My friend and I went as far as the small community of Gilead in Miami County. It is located along State Road 19. In Gilead there is a building now housing a business, at least in November 2016 anyway. It is on the northeast corner of SR 19 and County Road 1400 North. This building served as both an electric substation and a passenger depot for the Winona Railway, similar to the building still standing in Mentone. There were a few substations along the route of the Winona and they were part of the power grid for the railway. One can imagine how much electricity it would take to power the railway. This building would have been built between 1900 and 1910. Eventually the route of the Winona took it further south to Peru where it ended and connections could be made to other railways going in all directions. Look for more remnants of the Winona Interurban Railway posted here in the coming months.
Former Winona substation and depot.
A couple of years ago I was with a friend and we were looking for traces of the old Winona Interurban Railway in Miami County (Indiana). While on County Road 1500 North in a rural area we passed by this former one room schoolhouse building. According to information sent to me by the Miami County Historical Museum in Peru, this building was known as the Buffalo School, and was the District No. 9 school building in Perry Township. In the days of the one room schoolhouses they were located 1 or 2 miles apart and numbered according to the location within a township. The township trustee often took care of the schoolhouses in their township. Buffalo School was originally a frame building built in 1864 but it burned down a few years later and was replaced by the brick structure shown in the photo. Obviously brush and undergrowth have blocked the view of the old schoolhouse, but you can still see enough of it to tell what it was. I’m not sure what it is used for now, if anything. A farm is located not far away.
Former Buffalo School in Miami County.
Here’s yet another trace of the former Wabash & Erie Canal in Huntington County. As I said in my post last week, there was a 220-feet long dam feeding water into the canal system. At the Historic Forks of the Wabash museum park just outside Huntington, there are remnants of the dam. Now they are simply hunks of concrete but at one time in the past the dam was a vital cog in the canal system. This is a part of our transportation history which seems to be getting lost in the shuffle. Only in a few places do remnants remain and unless you are specifically looking for them, you won’t usually see them. There are a couple of web sites where remnants are identified and the locations given. These have been very helpful to me. When the railroads started coming in beginning in the 1850s or so, it eventually made canal systems obsolete. Freight and goods could be hauled much faster on the railroads. But fortunately a few traces of the old Wabash & Erie Canal can still be seen.
Trace of canal dam system in Huntington County.
The Wabash & Erie Canal was an important part of our transportation history. It opened up avenues of trade and farmers being able to market their crops further distances. It also brought people from the East to the Midwest and other places to settle. At the Historic Forks of the Wabash museum property in Huntington County there are traces of the former canal. The photo shows a remnant of what was once the 220 feet long Wabash Dam No. 1 on the Wabash River. It provided a source of water for the canal. When I was at the site, I took photos of a few other remnants of the dam. I know this is just a hunk of concrete now, but it is a reminder of the past. The canal system was built in the 1830s and preceded the railroad. When the railroads started coming, the canal lost its significance and importance. Obviously a train could haul freight much faster. But the canal was still in use until the early 1870s. I would encourage you to visit the Historic Forks of the Wabash if you are interested in some local history.
Remnant of canal dam in Wabash River, Huntington County.