Manistee & Grand Rapids Railway, Description of - 1899

Manistee Daily News, May, 1899 Daily News - May, 1899

The Manistee and Grand Rapids is one of the four railroads entering Manistee, and like the others has its terminus here.  This road was organized on November 18, 1889, with a capital stock of $1,000,000 and was at first operated as a logging road. The strategic position of the line, however, extending as it does seventy miles to the southeast from Manistee, and shortening the distance to points south, east and west has brought the Manistee and Grand Rapids rapidly to the front as a freight line and assured the future success of the road.


The offices of the Manistee and Grand Rapids are located at 433 River street in this city and have all the necessary equipment for the transaction of a general railroad business. The officers of the company are: John Canfield, president and general manager; Louis Sands, vice president; T. J. Ramsdell, secretary; E. G. Filer, treasurer; E. N. Saling, auditor; H. W. Marsh, assistant auditor and traffic manager; J. W. Reading, superintendent;  E. M. Muenscher, chief engineer.

The stockholders of the corporation are as follows:  John Canfield, E. G. Filer, James Dempsey, R. R. Blacker, Louis Sands, E. N. Salling, T. J. Ramsdell, A. E. Cartier, Charles Canfield, Frank Canfield and H. W. Marsh.


The Manistee and Grand Rapids operates seventy miles of road, extending from Manistee, the western terminus, to Tustin, Lake County, which is the eastern terminus of the line. The road connects with the Chicago and West Michigan railroad at Canfield, and with the Grand Rapids and Indiana at Luther, which enables it to shorten the time from this city to Grand Rapids, Chicago, and other points east and south by an hour, and will ultimately result in the establishment of a passenger service out of this city.


In the line of rolling stock the Manistee and Grand Rapids owns one hundred flat cars, four box cars, two combination passenger and baggage cars, and three locomotives. The road employees five station agents and has buildings and station facilities at Manistee, Oak Hill, Filer City, Millerton, Canfield and Luther. The Manistee terminal facilities are excellent, embracing yards and freight buildings in the heart of the city, connecting with valuable water front on the Manistee river.

Condition of the Road

The Manistee and Grand Rapids has been very successful from the beginning and has no indebtedness. In 1896 Mr. H. W. Marsh, the present traffic manager, inaugurated a general freight service which has proven a very successful venture, the earnings of the line have steadily increased, making the introduction of a passenger service the next step in the evolution of the road. This will shortly be done and the result will be a material improvement in the railroad facilities possessed by Manistee. The Adams Express company operates over the line of the M&GR. 

Mr. H. W. Marsh

Henry W. Marsh, the assistant auditor and traffic manager of the Manistee and Grand Rapids railroad, was born in Racine, Wisconsin, February 9, 1847, where he lived for the first sixteen years of his life. He attended the public schools and also the high school of that city, coming to Manistee in 1864, where he has since resided.

Mr. Marsh holds the office of vice president of the Canfield Salt and Lumber Company, and also the Union Lumber and Salt company, and is the secretary of the Wolverine Oil Company. In July 1896, he was elected a member of the board of education for a term of three years. He has proven himself an efficient railroad man, and since assuming the management of the M&GRRR in 1896 has brought about a substantial improvement in the condition of the affairs and prospects of this company.