Pere Marquette Ionia Shops

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Pere Marquette Ionia Shops

Unread postby MQT1223 » Thu Jul 23, 2015 11:18 pm

Ok, I had NO CLUE this even existed until this morning. Can anyone enlighten me on the former PM shops in Ionia? I didn't even think the PM entered Ionia. Why did the PM need shops in Ionia when they had the huge shops in GR?
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Re: Pere Marquette Ionia Shops

Unread postby jrgerber » Fri Jul 24, 2015 4:11 am

The PM came off the Detroit-GR main line at Grand Ledge went through Eagle, Portland, Lyons and then to Ionia where it crossed (strange diamond set up) the Grand Trunk, it ran apparently right next to the GT through town and the huge General Tire plant before the two roads went their seperate ways and the PM went over and headed north by the prison.

Not sure whether the PM tracks went after the diamond crossing in front of the GT depot or in back? I know there was a large freight house the PM had, not sure the exact location.

I too have looked around Ionia to see where the old roundhouse may have been.

Its sad to see all the tracks are gone Ionia was quite the railroad town in its day.
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Re: Pere Marquette Ionia Shops

Unread postby J T » Fri Jul 24, 2015 4:11 pm

jrgerber wrote:The PM came off the Detroit-GR main line at Grand Ledge went through Eagle, Portland, Lyons and then to Ionia where it crossed (strange diamond set up) the Grand Trunk....

I can remember seeing railcars sitting on that line (stored?) just west of Eagle back in the early 70s.
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Re: Pere Marquette Ionia Shops

Unread postby Michael » Fri Jul 24, 2015 5:13 pm

Here is a hi-res image of the USGS top map from 1916
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close up of the diamond and roundhouse
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Re: Pere Marquette Ionia Shops

Unread postby C&O6084 » Sun Jul 26, 2015 3:22 am

Need to remember that, when first built, there were two railroads. C&MLS's shops were inWyoming, and DGR&W's were in Ionia. Once merged in 1900, PM management regularly played union workers of both chops against each other, and as punishment for having better results "discouraging" strikebreakers, PM shut down the Ionia shops. There's now just one building left, a former stores facility.
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Re: Pere Marquette Ionia Shops

Unread postby AARR » Sun Jul 26, 2015 6:23 am

The last active shipper in Ionia was a small fertilizer dealer on the old PM a short ways east from the GTW crossing
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Re: Pere Marquette Ionia Shops

Unread postby MQT1223 » Sun Jul 26, 2015 1:05 pm

C&O6084 wrote:Need to remember that, when first built, there were two railroads. C&MLS's shops were inWyoming, and DGR&W's were in Ionia. Once merged in 1900, PM management regularly played union workers of both chops against each other, and as punishment for having better results "discouraging" strikebreakers, PM shut down the Ionia shops. There's now just one building left, a former stores facility.


When were the shops shut down in Ionia? Where is the stores facility? Was it like a company store or something? Wasn't the Chicago and West Michigan (C&WM), not the Chicago and Michigan Lake Shore (C&MLS) part of the PM merger in 1900? I think the C&WM had already taken the C&MLS by then.
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Re: Pere Marquette Ionia Shops

Unread postby MP73point4 » Mon Jul 27, 2015 11:48 am

Chicago & Michigan Lake Shore to C&WM in 1878. Detroit Lansing & Northern to Detroit Grand Rapids & Western in 11/1896. Both into PM 1900.
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Re: Pere Marquette Ionia Shops

Unread postby trnwatcher » Mon Jul 27, 2015 12:42 pm

MQT1223 wrote:When were the shops shut down in Ionia? Where is the stores facility? Was it like a company store or something? Wasn't the Chicago and West Michigan (C&WM), not the Chicago and Michigan Lake Shore (C&MLS) part of the PM merger in 1900? I think the C&WM had already taken the C&MLS by then.

I believe the PM moved everything to Wyoming pre-World War 1. Yes the C&MLS was already part of the C&WM. The PMRR was a result of the merger of the C&WM, F&PM and the DGR&W.

This is a rather dry read but it does cover from the 1901 merger up to the 1916 re-organization that created the Pere Marquette Railway Co.

The Pere Marquette Railroad Company by Paul W. Ivey, Ph.D.
(Michigan Historical Commission, 1919, reprinted 1978 by Black Letter Press) A business and financial history, covering the financial manipulations in the early parts of the century and concludes with the PM's plan of reorganization in 1916. Dry reading. Available for $17.50 + s/h from Black Letter Press, 461 Worth Rd., Rt. 1 Moran, MI 49760.
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Re: Pere Marquette Ionia Shops

Unread postby Mark F » Mon Jul 27, 2015 6:07 pm

Was there ever a small yard south of the state prison and west of the fairgrounds? I bike through there on the trail and there is a wide flat area and telegraph poles well to the south of the trail bed.
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Re: Pere Marquette Ionia Shops

Unread postby Ben Higdon » Tue Jul 28, 2015 1:06 pm

C&O6084 wrote:Need to remember that, when first built, there were two railroads. C&MLS's shops were inWyoming, and DGR&W's were in Ionia. Once merged in 1900, PM management regularly played union workers of both chops against each other, and as punishment for having better results "discouraging" strikebreakers, PM shut down the Ionia shops. There's now just one building left, a former stores facility.


A more realistic explanation for the Ionia shops closing would be simple geographic location within the merged Pere Marquette system.

The Ionia shops were situated on the main line (as originally constructed) between Lansing and Howard City. It wasn't until later that the main line between Grand Ledge and Grand Rapids was built.
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Re: Pere Marquette Ionia Shops

Unread postby Michael » Tue Jul 28, 2015 2:40 pm

Mark F wrote:Was there ever a small yard south of the state prison and west of the fairgrounds? I bike through there on the trail and there is a wide flat area and telegraph poles well to the south of the trail bed.



I would say no. The topo map above from 1916 shows nothing and the 1943 map shows even less. The roundhouse was gone by '43 as well as some of the tracks.
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Re: Pere Marquette Ionia Shops

Unread postby C&O6084 » Tue Jul 28, 2015 8:44 pm

I'll stick with my unrealistic explanation, mostly because I have it in print from multiple historical sources that I paid good money for, and not just a feeling.

When the PM's predecessors merged, the Unions didn't, and geographical sensibilities didn't correspond to craft and Local boundaries. Ionia had better-maintained facilities and was all in once place. What you see in Wyoming is the result of a major rebuilding/expansion/consolidation in 1920, long after Ionia closed.

Now, I've always been a PM fan (in '92, TRAINS had a 'send a postcard with your favorite railroad', and my card was half the total votes), but all sentimentality aside, the PM was a dead-broke, short-hauled-by-everyone-else railroad up until the Van Swerengen Brothers days and the automobile boom. But until then, there was no money for equipment, safety infrastructure, proper maintenance, and pay.
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Re: Pere Marquette Ionia Shops

Unread postby MQT1223 » Tue Jul 28, 2015 10:32 pm

C&O6084 wrote:I'll stick with my unrealistic explanation, mostly because I have it in print from multiple historical sources that I paid good money for, and not just a feeling.

When the PM's predecessors merged, the Unions didn't, and geographical sensibilities didn't correspond to craft and Local boundaries. Ionia had better-maintained facilities and was all in once place. What you see in Wyoming is the result of a major rebuilding/expansion/consolidation in 1920, long after Ionia closed.

Now, I've always been a PM fan (in '92, TRAINS had a 'send a postcard with your favorite railroad', and my card was half the total votes), but all sentimentality aside, the PM was a dead-broke, short-hauled-by-everyone-else railroad up until the Van Swerengen Brothers days and the automobile boom. But until then, there was no money for equipment, safety infrastructure, proper maintenance, and pay.


Could you sorta call the PM in 1900 the "Conrail" of Michigan in the steam era? Bunch of broke, run down roads merged together...
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Re: Pere Marquette Ionia Shops

Unread postby Saturnalia » Wed Jul 29, 2015 12:48 am

The PM being run down and broke had a lot to do with Management, but really it was a matter of where the lines went . These were mostly timber branch mainlines, so they had to merge to form a real intercity network and haul tonnage over the road. The new management was able to bring in the capital to really make that happen, as before the PM was more or less robbed post- merger.
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Re: Pere Marquette Ionia Shops

Unread postby Ben Higdon » Wed Jul 29, 2015 7:35 am

C&O6084 wrote:When the PM's predecessors merged, the Unions didn't, and geographical sensibilities didn't correspond to craft and Local boundaries. Ionia had better-maintained facilities and was all in once place. What you see in Wyoming is the result of a major rebuilding/expansion/consolidation in 1920, long after Ionia closed.


I can see a labor dispute causing Ionia to close a few years earlier than it would have otherwise, but I can't imagine there was any serious consideration that it would be a better location to invest money than Wyoming after 1900. Maybe I misread your post and that wasn't what you were saying! Would've been interesting had Ionia lasted longer, but I imagine the writing was on the wall once the PM was formed.
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Re: Pere Marquette Ionia Shops

Unread postby Doktor No » Wed Jul 29, 2015 3:50 pm

The shops belonged to the Detroit Lansing and Northern in originality. The DL&N didn't build west to GR until later on, say 1876 or so.
The OTHER SITE Michigan Railroads.com has more explinations in the Ionia County part of the site. There is still a stores building left in Ionia...thats about all that remains of the DL&N/PM there. That was their main passenger coach shops at the end of its days.
And the 'interlocker' over the GT was a different setup. The levers controlled derails on the PM...gee I don't remember if there were ever signals there at all though...perhaps on the GT? Never worked the line, before my tenure with the C&O began...
Consulting my 1964 employee TT...it says...Rule 980: IONIA, Crossing of Ionia SD and GTW is governed by derail target with yellow switch lamps. Instructions posted in tower.
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Re: Pere Marquette Ionia Shops

Unread postby Doktor No » Wed Jul 29, 2015 3:53 pm

More stuff and a good map from 1906: http://www.michiganrailroads.com/RRHX/S ... aMIMap.htm
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Re: Pere Marquette Ionia Shops

Unread postby jrgerber » Fri Jul 31, 2015 1:44 pm

So looking at the 1916 Ionia map (thanks for posting that) a couple of questions:

1. It appears the roundhouse was in the area right across where the current fairgrounds are. Is that correct?

2. We know the PM and GT tracks were side by side. Did the PM tracks go in front of the GT depot or in back?

3. Where's the PM depot in this map? I seem recall the PM depot burned down in the 1930s?

Always love photos and discussion about Greenville, Ionia, Portland, Lyons.
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Re: Pere Marquette Ionia Shops

Unread postby Michael » Tue Aug 04, 2015 4:57 pm

jrgerber wrote:So looking at the 1916 Ionia map (thanks for posting that) a couple of questions:

1. It appears the roundhouse was in the area right across where the current fairgrounds are. Is that correct?

2. We know the PM and GT tracks were side by side. Did the PM tracks go in front of the GT depot or in back?

3. Where's the PM depot in this map? I seem recall the PM depot burned down in the 1930s?

Always love photos and discussion about Greenville, Ionia, Portland, Lyons.



The roundhouse and shops would have been NE of the Fairgrounds a bit at the corner of Railroad Street & S. Jackson Street
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Both depots PM & GT also appear on that map to have been next to each other on the left side of the map
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