Remnant of ‘Valley Line’ near Bristol

History of electric interurban railway lines can, generally speaking, be divided into three categories. Those that survived for several years, those which were never even built and those somewhere in between. The St. Joseph Valley Railway, more commonly referred to as the “Valley Line,” was somewhere in between. It was originally designed to connect northern Indiana with Ohio, but the line was never completed. It was built from Elkhart going east and barely, if at all, made it across the Ohio border before being abandoned. The line was launched in about 1911 and the route came through Elkhart, LaGrange and Steuben counties. For some of its route it paralleled what is now State Road 120. In some places between Elkhart and Bristol along 120, the old roadbed can clearly be seen. Look for the elevated ground that looks similar to some railroad beds today. The Valley Line was shut down in about 1918 and was the victim of poor financing and a poor safety record too. Shown in the photo is a small station that used to be on the line at what is now the Bonneyville Mill County Park, a few miles east of Bristol. It is now on private property and I’m not sure what it is used for today.

Valley Line Station at Bonneyville Mill 009

Building was a station along the Valley Line in Elkhart County.


About historynut11

My name is Tim Ashley and I am a newspaper editor/reporter/photographer in Milford, Indiana, and live in nearby Goshen, Indiana. A deeply held and sincere passion of mine is history and learning from the past. I enjoy a wide variety of history topics, but particularly local history, noted American highways (Lincoln Highway and Route 66), railroad history and the Civil War. I believe we can learn much from the past and that past shapes who we are today. I also enjoy visiting museums and historical sites, as well as taking photos of remnants from the past still standing.
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