Story: Jay Gould Passes Through Detroit

Jay Gould Visits the Detroit, Butler & St. Louis

A Special Train of Directors Meets Him at Butler [Indiana]

Adrian Becomes Intensely Hospitable and Enthusiastic

The Wabash, Its Last Purchase, and What Effect it Will Have Upon Detroit

The Union Depot and How It Interests the Wabash People

Intimate Relations Between the Wabash and the Great Western Railway

The Jay Gould Visit

On Thursday evening [around June 11, 1881]at 5 o'clock a train consisting of Engine No. 24, of the Detroit, Grand Haven & Milwaukee Railroad, drawing a smoking coach and the directors' car of the same road, steamed out of the depot at the foot of Brush street, having on board James F. Joy, James McMillan, John S. Newberry, R. A. Alger, Allan Sheldon, George W. Balch, Directors of the Butler; C. Sheaby, Northern Passenger Agent of the Wabash; H. C. Bell, Superintendent for the Construction Company of the Butler, and C. H. Ellis, Chief Engineer of the same road. William A. Underwood, of Adrian, was also an invited guest, as were also representatives of the Detroit daily papers. This party had been hastily summoned to go to Butler and receive Jay Gould, who was about to take his first look at what will soon be an important portion of his favorite road.

From Detroit to Adrian

The trip was expected to be a quick one, as the track was ballasted the entire distance, and except in one or two spots was in excellent order. At Belleville a stop was made, and a comparison of watches showed that the run had been made at the rate of thirty-eight miles an hour. D. L. Quirk, one of the most ardent friends and efficient workers for the Butler Road joined the party at this point. At 6:48 Milan was reached but the excessive rains of the preceding day or two had interfered with the track a short distance beyond this point, resulting in an exasperating delay which prevented the arrival of the train at Adrian until 9:30.

From Adrian to Butler

At Adrian the train was boarded by Mayor Navin and other citizens, Mr. Blanchard, Dan Casement, the contractor, and representatives of the Adrian press, who brought with them a supper for the party. The stop was a short one and when the train again started Mr. Blanchard, Mr. Casement and the representative of the Adrian Record remained on board. For twelve miles southwest of Adrian the track had not been ballasted, the engineer had never been over the road, there was no connection to make, and the run was made with praiseworthy deliberation, stops being made at every water tank and site for a station, so that it was after 3 a.m. when the train came to a stand still alongside of the special car which had brought Mr. Gould and party. and which was side-tracked at Butler.


Is a village of apparently about 500 inhabitants, and has sprung into prominence since the construction of the road which has made it more widely known than many a larger place. The hotel at the depot, which sets a good table, is small, and consequently being nearly filled, only a portion of the party could obtain beds. There being sleeping accommodations for but four of the rest on the cars, the remaining four or five walked about the place in the early morning, and in other ways, until breakfast time, tried to forget sleep and hunger.

Homeward Bound

At 6:49 the lever was pulled for the return trip and here is the time and place to say something of the three men who constituted the crew of that locomotive. O. F. Holmes, the engineer, and John Riggs, the fireman, had been continuously on duty since 5:30 the previous morning, but they were wide-awake and ready for any duty while with them was H. C. Bell, Superintendent, who had not left the engine since the start, and who throughout the entire trip was indefatigable in his efforts to make everyone individually happy, and at the same time to attend to the safe running of the train, which from this point was enlarged by the addition of Mr. Gould's own car, the Convoy, his part consisting of himself, A. L. Hopkins, First Vice-President of the Wabash, St. Louis & Pacific Railroad; Col. R. S. Hayes, President of the International & Great Northern Railroad; Col. R. Andrews, General Superintendent of the Wabash east of the Mississippi, was also with Mr. Gould, and A. W. Quackenbush, Master Mechanic of the Eel River Division, was on the train.

The Line

From Butler, or rather from the end of the Eel River track to the Ohio State line, is pecularily situated. The right of way was procured and the track laid, until the crossing of the Lake Shore & Michigan Southern Railway, three-quarters of a mile from the station, was resisted by that company and the matter taken ito the courts. On examining title, it was found that the latter road under a lease, was occupying the right of way of the original franchise of the Eel River Railroad, granted under another name, and that the right to run a parallel road and to make a crossing in the direction of Detroit had been expressly reserved, so that there would have been no necessity of procuring a new right of way if the terms of this old franchise had been understood. The line runs alongside the Air Line of the Lake Shore for three quarters of a mile, then crosses it, runs nearly five miles in Indiana, then crosses the northwestern corner of Ohio for a distance of thirty miles, passes through Montpelier, running three miles on the abandoned grade of the Canada Southern, and then coming into Michigan. Most of the track to Adrian (except the twelve miles noted) was in tolerable order, and but for the rain would ha5ve been quite smooth. The run lasted until 11 o'clock, when Adrian was reached and was devoid of any noteworthy incident.

The Reception at Adrian...

Was an unexpected ovation. On the platform was a band and a concourse of people, numbering several hundreds; while from want could be seen from the cars, it appeared as if half of the teams in Lenawee County had been concentrated at that point. The Mayor and a small reception committee stepped aboard the train, greeted the visitors, escorted the entire party to open barouches which had been provided for them, and then, accompanied by a procession of several hundred vehicles of various kinds, made a tour of the most attractive portions of the city, stopping at the Lawrence House, where a number of leading citizens were assembled to meet the guests. An elaborate and elegantly-served luncheon had been provided which was rendered all the more pleasant by the total omission of any speaking or formality, the only approach to such thing being a toast - "The Prosperity of Adrian" proposed by Mr. Gould and drank in numbers, standing. The visit was short but very delightful, and the size, beauty and business aspect of Adrian caused  much surprise ad favorable comment. The reception was entirely impromptu and was not thought of until after a telegram had been received from Tom Applegate, who had joined the party at Butler and had notified the Mayor that Mr. Gould would be able to make a short stop. The credit for the affair is largely due to the Mayor, T. J. Navin; City Marshall W. A. Todd; Alderman W. S. Gardner, Maj. Howe, of the Peninsula Car Works, and Messrs. T. J. Tobey, S. E.. Hart, W. S. Wilcox, W. T. Lawrence. amd Dwight A. Witney, Manager of the Lawrence House.

From Adrian to Detroit

The ride was particularly pleasant. The party was enlarged by the presence of W. T. Lawrence and Dwight A. Whitney and after the reception and ride a feeling of better acquaintance appeared to prevail all round, and much of the conversation was of a character which would have been exceedingly interesting to the public had it been thought best to allow the reporters the privilege of printing all that was said. Mr. Gould talked freely on various topics, observing, however, some reticence as regards those important business matters having a direct bearing upon the interests and future of Detroit. Still, from what he said personally, and what was said by the gentlemen in his confidence, the following may be given as under the approving seal of authority;

The Wabash

Mr. Gould looks upon the Wabash as his favorite property. The Wabash, in spite of all that has been said in reference to its debt, etc., has only $23,000 of outstanding bonds to the mile, and of stock $7,000 each of common and preferred to the mile. The Wabash Railroad, in all its branches, is in splendid order, and as to the Butler, the country through which it runs especially pleased Mr. Gould. He was delighted with the easy grade over which sixty cars would only be a load for a locomotive, and he sees in the near future a large and growing local trade along its entire length. He also proposes to utilize it as an outlet for some very fine coal mines he controls, about seventy miles from Logansport near the Illinois line.

The Butler Will Be The Main Line...

Of the Wabash without any doubt, and on account of recent changes has become of greater importance than has hitherto been anticipated. Within three days the Indianapolis, Peru & Chicago Railroad has been purchased by the Wabash, and this line affords the necessary connections to place Detroit on the shortest and best line (almost an air line) to St. Louis, to the Pacific roads and to the South. The fast trains will all run by way of the Butler, and Detroit will stand in its proper place as sentinel of the gateway between the East and the South and West. The road will come into the possession of the Wabash on the 1st of July, but the through passenger trains will not be run before the 1st of August.

On The River

The train arrived at the station foot of Brush street at 3:30, and almost all who had shared in the ride accepted a courteous invitation from Messrs. Newberry and McMillan to accompany them on their yacht Truant. Mr. Newberry himself took the wheel, and the run was made, first up nearly to the Water Works and then nearly down to the Fort, keeping close in to the shore so as to give a comprehensive idea of the magnitude and importance of the river front, and to show...

The Union Station Grounds...

Which can be seen to better advantage form the river than from any other point of view. They extend from the Michigan Central Railroad property, to a point 2,750 feet below, have an average depth of 500 feet, and the Wabash track entering from below will come in without a curve, until within the yard. This however is a subject of too much magniture for treatment in this article; suffice to say the effect upon the visitors of seeing the property was all that could be desired.

Who Went East.

The moment Mr. Gould stepped from the car in the Detroit, Grand Haven & Milwaukee Depot, he was met by Mr. Broughton, and with Mr. Joy and one or two others withdrew for a few minutes before going on the river. what was the result of that conference has not been officially announced but it is well understood that the connection between the Great Western and the Wabash will be close and intimate, and that Detroit will be on the great through route from New York to the City of Mexico. Last night the following officers of the Great Western went East with Mr. Gould: Col. Gray, President; J. Bald, Talford McNeil, F. Boughton, General Manager; G. B. Springs and A. H. B. Spiers.


[Editor's Note: This story is from the Detroit Free Press, June 11, 1881.  The construction railroad which would later be known as the Wabash between Detroit and Butler, Indiana had just been built and would be purchased by Gould's Wabash line within the month. It appears that the part of the line from Delray to Fort Street Union Station had yet to be built, however the Wabash connection from Delray to near Beaubien was in place allowing access to Brush Street Station. The interlocking at Delray was probably not yet in place. It is interesting to note that many railroad officials retained use of their wartime titles, even though this is sixteen years after the civil war].