Tracks/Spur on Eastern Grand River bank?

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Tracks/Spur on Eastern Grand River bank?

Unread postby kd_1014 » Thu Mar 07, 2019 6:39 pm

While walking in Riverside Park on the Northeast side of Grand Rapids, I couldn't help but notice what looked like a railroad truss bridge going over a small stream that emptied into the Grand River a few hundred feet to the west. It's obviously a bike trail now but I was wondering, was there ever a spur/branch line that serviced any type of customer at any time? I know that truss bridges aren't just for railroads but it had a special look to me.
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Re: Tracks/Spur on Eastern Grand River bank?

Unread postby amtrak1007 » Thu Mar 07, 2019 9:12 pm

That bridge dates back to when riverside park was a campground and that bridge was for the park road.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/104682379@N08/10148652905/in/album-72157636327661574/
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Re: Tracks/Spur on Eastern Grand River bank?

Unread postby BDG » Thu Mar 07, 2019 9:35 pm

It is one span of the former Park St. bridge.

https://historicbridges.org/bridges/bro ... northpark/
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Re: Tracks/Spur on Eastern Grand River bank?

Unread postby PM1946 » Sun Mar 10, 2019 8:39 pm

If I may add my $.02, the bridge at Riverside Park was originally part of a multiple span (looks like five spans in an old photo) 1903 steel truss bridge that carried North Park Avenue across the Grand River. Old and far too narrow, the bridge was replaced in 1989. One of the spans was floated downriver to Riverside Park where it sat on railroad ties until around 1996 when it was restored. Today it spans the northern inlet from the river to the park's lagoons and carries pedestrian and bicycle traffic.

Regarding an old railroad spur in the area, I'm not aware of any. However old pics of what was then the Old Soldiers' and Sailors' Home (on Monroe just south of the I-96 overpass) shows a streetcar line. Presumably it ran into Grand Rapids.

Since I'm far from the final word on any of this, please feel free to join the conversation.
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Re: Tracks/Spur on Eastern Grand River bank?

Unread postby MQT1223 » Wed Mar 20, 2019 10:18 pm

PM1946 wrote:If I may add my $.02, the bridge at Riverside Park was originally part of a multiple span (looks like five spans in an old photo) 1903 steel truss bridge that carried North Park Avenue across the Grand River. Old and far too narrow, the bridge was replaced in 1989. One of the spans was floated downriver to Riverside Park where it sat on railroad ties until around 1996 when it was restored. Today it spans the northern inlet from the river to the park's lagoons and carries pedestrian and bicycle traffic.

Regarding an old railroad spur in the area, I'm not aware of any. However old pics of what was then the Old Soldiers' and Sailors' Home (on Monroe just south of the I-96 overpass) shows a streetcar line. Presumably it ran into Grand Rapids.

Since I'm far from the final word on any of this, please feel free to join the conversation.


To add on your last bit, a depot for the streetcar line actually remains and is used for storage on the North end of the Vet's Home property. It is on its original foundation. I've always admired it because it has a very unique design and style. Upon first seeing it the depot reminds me of something that you'd find in the Southwest.
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Re: Tracks/Spur on Eastern Grand River bank?

Unread postby Michael » Thu Mar 21, 2019 8:43 am

MQT1223 wrote:To add on your last bit, a depot for the streetcar line actually remains and is used for storage on the North end of the Vet's Home property. It is on its original foundation. I've always admired it because it has a very unique design and style. Upon first seeing it the depot reminds me of something that you'd find in the Southwest.



Here is a plat map from 1907 of the Home for Veterans (Soldiers Home) showing the Grand Rapids Railway.
http://www.historicmapworks.com/Map/US/20949/Grand+Rapids+City+++Page+37/Kent+County+1907/Michigan/
The depot you referenced is not shown but I looked at it on Google Street View
https://goo.gl/maps/7Gt32p8WAan
and it certain has the southwest style. I noticed on topo maps from the 60's and 70's it was later used as a church/chapel so perhaps it was modified at that point.
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Re: Tracks/Spur on Eastern Grand River bank?

Unread postby Standard Railfan » Thu Mar 21, 2019 10:41 am

MQT1223 wrote:
To add on your last bit, a depot for the streetcar line actually remains and is used for storage on the North end of the Vet's Home property. It is on its original foundation. I've always admired it because it has a very unique design and style. Upon first seeing it the depot reminds me of something that you'd find in the Southwest.


I am not convinced that the building you describe was a depot on the GR RR. The building seems too large fo be a street car station. In addition, the Sanborn map from c. 1912 depicts an identically shaped building of stucco on metal lath construction as a recreation building. A platform is shown along the tracks attached to the dormitory building adjacent to the post office. https://www.loc.gov/resource/g4114gm.g04023191201/?sp=88&r=0.023,0.086,1.14,1.138,0
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Re: Tracks/Spur on Eastern Grand River bank?

Unread postby Michael » Thu Mar 21, 2019 12:44 pm

Thanks for posting the Sanborn Maps Standard Railfan. It does seem very unlikely that building was ever the depot.
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Re: Tracks/Spur on Eastern Grand River bank?

Unread postby MQT1223 » Thu Mar 21, 2019 9:57 pm

Standard Railfan wrote:
MQT1223 wrote:
To add on your last bit, a depot for the streetcar line actually remains and is used for storage on the North end of the Vet's Home property. It is on its original foundation. I've always admired it because it has a very unique design and style. Upon first seeing it the depot reminds me of something that you'd find in the Southwest.


I am not convinced that the building you describe was a depot on the GR RR. The building seems too large fo be a street car station. In addition, the Sanborn map from c. 1912 depicts an identically shaped building of stucco on metal lath construction as a recreation building. A platform is shown along the tracks attached to the dormitory building adjacent to the post office. https://www.loc.gov/resource/g4114gm.g04023191201/?sp=88&r=0.023,0.086,1.14,1.138,0


Ahh, maybe it was. It sure seems to match up to the ROW so that I assumed it to be a depot.
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Re: Tracks/Spur on Eastern Grand River bank?

Unread postby amtrak1007 » Fri Mar 22, 2019 10:10 am

MQT1223 wrote:
Ahh, maybe it was. It sure seems to match up to the ROW so that I assumed it to be a depot.


Beware the ides of assumption!

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